FWC approves revision proposals to St. Johns River boating safety zones
Wednesday, February 12, 2014
Media contact: Susan Smith, 850-528-1755
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On Wednesday, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) approved staff’ recommendations for revisions to boating safety zones on the St. Johns River in Lake, Seminole and Volusia counties.
The first proposal will change descriptions of some zones to match the physical locations of regulatory markers, some of which have been in place since 1995.
“These are technical changes to rule language and will include updating rule maps,” said Capt. Gary Klein of the FWC’s Boating and Waterways Section. “The changes will also relieve these county governments from the responsibility of maintaining markers for state-adopted boating safety zones, as the FWC will take over maintenance.”
On the river, three affected zones will remain as they have been physically marked since at least 2007. The rule language will be updated to match current marker locations by extending:
- The northern boundary of the State Road 40 (Astor) Bridge zone by 350 feet.
- The northern boundary of the S.R. 44 (Whitehair) Bridge zone by 100 feet.
- The eastern boundary of the Interstate 4 (Lake Monroe) Bridge zone by 125 feet.
“The current rule language is inconsistent with the markers and is not clear to the public,” Klein said. “These changes revise the rule language to create safe boating conditions and areas that can be consistently marked, understood and enforced.”
Another change modifies the regulated speed in the year-round boating safety zones currently in place from “idle-speed, no-wake” to “slow-speed, minimum-wake.”
“This change will allow boaters to operate at a slightly faster speed through the zones, but still requires them to create little or no wake,” Klein said.
The amendments will also repeal duplicative regulations and make minor technical changes like clarifying the definitions of shoreline-to-shoreline zones, changing the measurement of some zones and changing the descriptions of some zones.
The need for the revisions originated from an FWC review of current state regulations, including boating safety zone boundaries and waterway marker locations.
FWC staff received support for its proposed changes during previous public meetings. Those providing public comment included local law enforcement personnel and boaters.
The proposals amend Florida Administrative Code rule 68D-24.018. Staff will finalize the rules for adoption unless a meeting is requested within 21 days of the notice of proposed rule appearing in the Florida Administrative Register. For additional information, visit MyFWC.com/Boating or call 850-488-5600.