Boat restrictions now on portion of Suwannee River

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission applied the boating restrictions to Zone 4, which runs from the County Road 340 Bridge at Rock Bluff to one mile below the Fowler Bluff Boat Ramp.

The restrictions are put in place when the Suwannee River reaches 9 feet above mean sea level at the Wilcox gauge, where flood stage is 11 feet.

“The Suwannee reached that level today,” Capt. Martin Redmond, area supervisor at the FWC’s Lake City office, said in a news release on Wednesday.

The idle-speed, no-wake zone will stay in effect until the water level recedes below 9 feet.

Similar restrictions were implemented on June 29 in Zone 5, a 32-mile segment of the Santa Fe River that runs from River Rise in O’Leno State Park west to the confluence of the Suwannee River.

The Santa Fe River that day reached 17 feet above mean sea level at the Three Rivers gauge, where flood stage is 19 feet. The restriction remains in effect.

An idle-speed, no-wake zone means a vessel must proceed at a speed no greater than required to maintain steerage 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.

FWC officers will patrol this area of the river to ensure the idle-speed, no-wake zone is enforced, Redmond said in the release.

“Water levels on the Suwannee and Santa Fe rivers can fluctuate rapidly, creating for unsuspecting boaters navigational hazards, such as floating debris, submerged rocks and stumps, and new shoaling conditions. We want everyone to be safe,” he said.

The other three zones are:

Zone 1, 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 or more above mean sea level at the Ellaville gauge, where flood stage is 54 feet.

Zone 2, from the SR 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 above mean sea level at the Branford gauge, where flood stage is 29 feet.

Zone 3, from Little River Spring to the CR 340 Bridge at Rock Bluff. This 23-mile segment becomes an idle-speed, no-wake zone when the Suwannee River reaches 24 feet or more above mean sea level at the Branford gauge.

To obtain real-time river level information, visit www.mysuwanneeriver.com.


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