Boating tragedies in Florida’s waters prompted Governor Rick Scott to write a letter to the state constituents supporting proposed boating safety legislation. The legislation encourages emergency position indicating radio beacons (EPIRBs) and personal locator beacons (PLB) to be part of all boaters’ onboard safety equipment, reducing registration fees for all classes of boats with the equipment.
Proposed law for FWC pullovers
Some say that overzealous Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) officers ruin great days on the water with their random checks. Others say they are necessary to deter illegal fishing, hunting and safety violations. Under a law proposed by Florida State Representative Ritch Workman, officers would need probable cause before stopping boaters. Workman said he wants to see more reasonable stops with FWC officers checking boats only if suspicious activity is observed. Workman said he envisions a safe boating sticker placed next to the boat’s registration after it passes inspection to limit boaters being hassled. If the proposed law (House Bill 703) passes, it would take effect July 1, 2016.
Improved Cuba charts
With increased cruising to Cuba from the U.S., the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and Cuba are working together to improve nautical charts especially in the Straits of Florida. Following up on a Spring 2015 meeting with U.S. and Cuban chartmakers in Havana to work on a new international paper chart—INT Chart 4149 covering south Florida, The Bahamas, and north Cuba—the group then met in Maryland to discuss future collaboration and improving nautical charts.
Shipwreck artifacts returned
Updating the discovery of items from the Confederate CSS Georgia shipwreck, 30,000 articles were raised. Unique items kept for archiving by the U.S. government include small buttons, hilts of knives and swords, an intact glass bottle, leather boots, and an earring. Texas A&M is studying 13,000 articles at their lab, and 16,697 non-unique articles were returned to the mud of the Savannah River in plastic boxes, which, according to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers archaeologist Julie Morgan, will help preserve them. The Confederate gunship was sunk in 1864 in the Savannah River by its own crew to prevent the ship’s capture by Union troops during the Civil War.
Shoaling at Lockwoods Folly Inlet
North Carolina’s Lockwoods Folly Inlet Intersection near Cape Fear River, Little River Buoy 47, has a 250-yard shoal extending into the federal channel with depths from less than one foot to five feet at mean low water.
Handicapped sailor sails solo
Be on the lookout for Cliff Kyle aboard his 26′ Pearson Abby Normal traveling south on the ICW. Sailing solo can be challenging and for a man with one leg it could be more so, but Kyle throttles full steam ahead with a cheery disposition. “One thing sailing teaches you is how to handle what’s thrown at you and navigate through it,” says Kyle. When his house in Kentucky was foreclosed a couple of years ago, 40-something Kyle headed back to the sea and lived off the coast of Florida in the 1990s. He personally made several modifications on his vessel while sailing to Block Island, Mystic and the Chesapeake Bay. His final destination this season is St. Augustine or possibly The Bahamas.
By Nancy E. Spraker, Southern Boating Magazine April 2016