Media contact: Karen Parker, 386-754-1294
Because of the recent rains and the rising water levels, the Santa Fe River’s Zone 7 and the Suwannee River’s Zone 3 gauges have risen to the point of activating the idle-speed, no-wake zones, according to Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) officials. Zones 1 and 8 were activated last week.
Zone 7 becomes an idle-speed, no-wake zone when the Three Rivers gauge reaches19.5 feet. This zone runs from ˝ mile upstream from the State Road 47 Bridge, downstream to an unnamed island located at 29° 54.527’ N, 82° 46.074’ W. Today, the gauge is at 20.48.
Zone 3 is from Little River Spring to the County Road 340 Bridge at Rock Bluff. This 23-mile segment becomes an idle-speed, no-wake zone when the Suwannee River reaches 24 feet at the Branford gauge. Today, the gauge is at 24.67.
Zone 8 activated April 6. This zone begins at an unnamed island located approximately 4.25 miles upstream from the confluence of the Santa Fe and Ichetucknee rivers (coordinates: 29° 54.527’ N, 82° 46.074’ W) and ends at the confluence of the Suwannee and Santa Fe rivers. This includes the Ichetucknee River upstream to the U.S. 27 Bridge.
Zone 1 activated April 8 and runs from the U.S. 90 Bridge at Ellaville south to the State Road 51 Bridge at Luraville. This 39-mile segment becomes an idle-speed, no-wake zone when the Suwannee River reaches 47 feet at the Ellaville gauge.
An idle-speed, no-wake zone means a vessel must proceed at a speed no greater than required to maintain steerageway and headway. At no time is any vessel required to proceed so slowly the operator is unable to control it or anything it may be towing.
“The higher water levels can create navigational hazards, such as floating debris, rocks, stumps and shoaling conditions for unsuspecting boaters,” said Maj. Andy Krause, regional commander at the FWC’s Lake City office. “We want to work towards avoiding any tragedy that could be caused by operating a vessel at an unsafe speed during a high water event.”
FWC officers will be taking an educational approach and are asking for the public’s cooperation. Encounters involving careless, reckless, impaired operation will result in law enforcement action.
The idle-speed, no-wake zones will stay in effect until the water level recedes below activation points.
The other zones on the Santa Fe are:
- Zone 5: From the Santa Fe River at the River Rise in O’Leno State Park downstream to the center line of the U.S. 27 Bridge when the river is 35 feet or higher on the High Springs gauge.
- Zone 6: From the centerline of the U.S. 27 Bridge downstream to ˝ mile upstream from the State Road 47 Bridge when the river is 24 feet or higher on the Fort White gauge.
The Suwannee River’s remaining zones are:
- Zone 2 -from the S.R. 51 Bridge at Luraville to Little River Spring. This 18-mile segment becomes an idle-speed, no-wake zone when the Suwannee River reaches 26 feet or more at the Branford gauge, where flood stage is 29 feet.
- Zone 4: From the centerline of the C.R. 340 Bridge at Rock Bluff to approximately 300' southwest of the New Clay Landing Boat Ramp, from approximately 6,000' north of the Camp Azalea Boat Ramp to approximately 1,300' south of the Yellow Jacket Landing, and from approximately 2,000' northeast of the Fowler’s Bluff Boat Ramp to approximately one mile southwest of the Fowler’s Bluff Boat Ramp when the river level is nine feet or higher on the Wilcox gauge.
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 levels, visit www.mysuwanneeriver.com.