News Releases

Expect new navigational aids and markers on the Loxahatchee River

News Release

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Media contact: Dawn Griffin, 850-488-5600 (FWC) or Mike Grella, 561-746-2223 (Jupiter Inlet District)

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and the Jupiter Inlet District are installing navigational aids to mark new or enhance awareness of existing channels and are replacing signs marking the state-adopted manatee protection zones within the North Fork and Northwest Fork of the Loxahatchee River.

The agencies should complete the work by early February.  The FWC, the Jupiter Inlet District and the Florida Inland Navigation District provided funding for this project.

State regulations within these areas of the river provide for a higher boat speed inside the marked navigational channel and a "slow speed" restriction outside the marked channel.

"The FWC has maintained that, absent the marked navigational channel, boat operations should be slow-speed, minimum-wake," said Capt. David Schaeffer of the FWC's Division of Law Enforcement. "The new navigational aids will more accurately post the current speed zones. After completion of the project and an educational period, officers will begin issuing warnings or citations for speed violations within regulatory zones."

The Jupiter Inlet District is installing aids to mark a navigational channel within the North Fork of the river, located in Palm Beach County, extending from the Tequesta Bridge north to a location approximately at the Martin County line. The segment of the river from the Martin County line north will be posted as "Slow Speed Minimum Wake Remainder of North Fork."

On the Northwest Fork of the river in Palm Beach County, the Jupiter Inlet District will add navigational channel markers between Red Channel Marker No. 16 and a location south of the Martin County line. It will establish a marked navigational channel from the Island Way Bridge north to the boundary of Jonathan Dickinson State Park. The area north of the state park boundary will remain posted as "idle-speed, no-wake."

"Clearly, marked zones improve operator compliance," Schaeffer said. "It's all about slowing down boat traffic in congested areas that are frequented by manatees, to protect the safety of the boating public and manatees."

A boat is operating at "slow-speed, minimum-wake" when it is fully off plane and completely settled into the water. The boat must be moving at a reasonable and prudent speed and making little or no wake. If a boat is on plane, in the process of coming off plane and settling into the water, coming up to plane or creating an excessive wake or other hazardous condition, the operator would be violating a "slow-speed, minimum-wake" restriction.

For more information on this project, visit MyFWC.com/Boating and click "North and Northwest Forks of the Loxahatchee River."



FWC Facts:
If your personal watercraft has an engine-cutoff switch lanyard, you must attach it to your clothing or PFD whenever in use.

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