FWC News Release
Contacts: Officer Jorge Pino (561) 723-1417
Dani Moschella (772) 215-9459
As the annual two-day lobster mini-season approaches and thousands of divers prepare their nets and tickle sticks, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is sending a reminder to boaters to watch out for those divers.
Using distance-measuring lasers, officers from the FWC and partnering law enforcement agencies, including the Broward County Sheriff’s Department, will conduct “Operation Wave the Flag” July 21-22. The operation will take place just offshore of Broward and Miami-Dade counties to step up enforcement of divers-down flag requirements and regulations that call for boaters to keep their distance from them.
FWC officers’ new laser radar units will measure the distance between a dive flag and passing boats. Divers are required to display a red flag with a white diagonal strip to indicate where they are diving. Boaters on ocean waters have to stay at least 300 feet from any divers-down flag.
Anyone who violates those rules will be ticketed.
“We anticipate a busy weekend due to an abundance of divers scouting the areas for lobster. Hopefully, this operation will remind boaters to look out for those dive flags during the even-busier mini-season,” FWC Chairman Rodney Barreto said.
The annual spiny lobster sport season, also known as lobster mini-season, falls on July 25 and 26 this year. Thousands of divers flock to South Florida each year to participate. Consequently, it can be a dangerous time for boaters and divers.
“The FWC urges everyone on the water to be especially careful. Wear your life jackets and pay close attention to what’s going on around you,” Barreto said. “And watch out for those red-and-white flags.”
For more information about the mini-season, visit MyFWC.com/marine/lobster.