Idle-speed, no-wake in effect on Suwannee River’s Zone 1
Sunday, March 03, 2013
Media contact: Karen Parker, 386-758-0525
The Suwannee River reached flood stage at Ellaville Sunday, prompting the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) to activate idle-speed, no-wake restrictions for the area of the river from U.S. 90 in Ellaville south to State Road 51 in Luraville.
This 39-mile segment of the river (Zone 1) becomes an idle-speed, no-wake zone when the Suwannee River reaches 47 feet above mean sea level on the Ellaville gauge, where flood stage is 54 feet.
An idle-speed, no-wake zone means a vessel must proceed at a speed no greater than what is required to maintain steerageway and headway. At no time is any vessel required to proceed so slowly that the operator is unable to control it or anything it may be towing.
Officers will be patrolling this area of the river to ensure the idle-speed, no-wake rule is enforced, said FWC Capt. Martin Redmond, area supervisor. The FWC is encouraging boaters to stay off the river system until conditions improve.
“Water levels on the Suwannee River can fluctuate rapidly, creating navigational hazards for unsuspecting boaters, such as floating debris, submerged rocks and stumps and new shoaling conditions. We want everyone to be safe,” Redmond said.
The idle-speed, no-wake rule will stay in effect in this zone until the water level recedes below 47 feet. There are four other zones on the river.
“In the five zones, idle-speed, no-wake restrictions are driven by Suwannee River Water Management District gauges situated within these segments,” Redmond said. “When the specific gauge reaches the identified water level, idle-speed, no-wake restrictions will be imposed. When water recedes below the specified level within a specific segment, the restrictions will be lifted.”
The four other zones are:
- Zone 2 – from the S.R. 51 Bridge at Luraville to Little River Spring. This 18-mile segment will be an idle-speed, no-wake zone when the Suwannee River is at 26 feet or more above mean sea level as indicated on the Branford gauge, where flood stage is 29 feet.
- Zone 3 – from Little River Spring to the County Road 340 Bridge at Rock Bluff. This 23-mile segment will be an idle-speed, no-wake zone when the Suwannee River is at 24 feet or more above mean sea level as indicated on the Branford gauge.
- Zone 4 – from the C.R. 340 Bridge at Rock Bluff to one mile below the Fowler Bluff Boat Ramp. This 51-mile segment will be an idle-speed, no-wake zone when the Suwannee River is at 9 feet or more above mean sea level as indicated on the Wilcox gauge, where flood stage is 11 feet.
- Zone 5 – from River Rise in O’Leno State Park west to the confluence of the Suwannee River. This 32-mile segment will be an idle-speed, no-wake zone when the Santa Fe River is at 17 above feet mean sea level or higher, as indicated on the Three Rivers gauge, where flood stage is 19 feet.
For more information about the flood zones, please call 386-758-0525. To report violations, please call 888-404-3922.
To obtain real-time river level information, visit www.mysuwanneeriver.com.