July 2015 Section A

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Information from COE

RECENT ANNOUNCEMENTS on OKECHOBEE WATERWAY & LOCKS. Keep checking at www.saj.usace.army.mil

 

 

Information from FWC


Notes on Fishing Rules and other announcements

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (a/k/a FWC) keeps us up to date on changes that fishermen (cruising-fishermen included) should know, and other items of interest to boating people. As the audience is somewhat varied, we give a quick note on the news and suggest that those interested in specific topics check it all out at the FWC web site.

There's also information on boating, parks, ramps, etc., etc. and we'll hope to include news on anything we think you'll want to know about.

FWC's web site is www.MyFWC.com

 

 

USCG DISRICT SEVEN LNM

The USCG District Seven Local Notices to Mariners (18-2015) is now available for download.
In addition, the 2015 USCG Light List Volume Three is available and is updated to Local Notice (52-2014), as is the summary of corrections.

The Local Notice to Mariners, Light List, and Summary of Corrections are posted weekly and require Adobe Acrobat Reader (free download) or another PDF Viewer.

If the link does not work directly from your email editor you should either copy and paste the entire link into your web browser or follow the LNM links from the Navigation Center home page.

In order to download the latest information more rapidly:
•Place your mouse over the “PDF” symbol next to the corresponding week.
•Right click for PC / Control click for Mac.
•Choose “Save Target As”.
•Save the PDF to your computer and open using Adobe Acrobat Reader.

If you have questions regarding this message, you may contact the Navigation Center (use “LNMs, Charts, Chart Corrections, or Light Lists” as the subject from the pull down menu).

 

 

USCG DISTRICT EIGHT

The USCG District Eight (Gulf) Local Notices to Mariners (07-2015) is now available for download.
                  
In addition, the 2015 USCG Light List Volume Four is now available and is updated to Local Notice (52-2014), as is the summary of corrections.

The Local Notice to Mariners, Light List, and Summary of Corrections are posted weekly and require Adobe Acrobat Reader (free download) or another PDF Viewer.

If the link does not work directly from your email editor you should either copy and paste the entire link into your web browser or follow the LNM links from the Navigation Center home page.

In order to download the latest information more rapidly:
•Place your mouse over the “PDF” symbol next to the corresponding week.
•Right click for PC / Control click for Mac.
•Choose “Save Target As”.
•Save the PDF to your computer and open using Adobe Acrobat Reader.

If you have questions regarding this message, you may contact the Navigation Center (use “LNMs, Charts, Chart Corrections, or Light Lists” as the subject from the pull down menu).

 

 

LOCKING RESTRICTIONS TO BE IMPLEMENTED ON OKEECHOBEE WATERWAY

Posted 6/22/2015St Lucie Lock
Release no. 15-064

Contact
John Campbell
904-232-1004
john.h.campbell@usace.army.mil

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District has announced restrictions for lock operations on the Okeechobee Waterway due to receding water levels on Lake Okeechobee, effective immediately.

Locking operations at the W.P. Franklin Lock & Dam near Fort Myers and the St. Lucie Lock & Dam near Stuart will be conducted every two hours from 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily.  This action is the result of the water level at Lake Okeechobee falling below 12.5 feet. 

“This is standard operating procedure whenever the lake falls below 12.5 feet” said Steve Dunham, Chief of the Corps’ South Florida Operations Office.  “We encourage boaters to be aware of the lake level and consider that drafts will continue to decrease if the lake drops more in coming weeks.”

Under the updated schedule, boats will be locked through at the Franklin and St. Lucie Locks at 7 a.m., 9 a.m., 11 a.m., 1 p.m., 3 p.m., and 4:30 p.m.  Operations at the other three locks, Ortona, Moore Haven, and Port Mayaca, will continue on demand between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. with final lockage beginning at 4:30 p.m.

Should the lake drop below 11.5 feet, additional reductions in service will be necessary.  For more information on navigation notices concerning the Okeechobee Waterway, please visit the following website:

http://www.saj.usace.army.mil/Missions/CivilWorks/Navigation/NoticestoNavigation.aspx

 

 

REPEATING: ANCHORING NEWS for APRIL 2015 -
June Update Note: Florida Legislature has postponed decision. Watch for news elsewhere and here in July ... 
 

NEWS From BoatUS
Boat Owners Association of The United States
880 S. Pickett St., Alexandria, VA  22304
Read this media alert online at: http://goo.gl/Avg985
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 25, 2015 / Updated March 25 2:00PM EDT

MEDIA ALERT UPDATE:

BoatUS: Anchoring Restrictions Under Review by Florida Legislature;
FL House Committee Bill HWSS 15-06 Has New Number: HB 7123

UPDATE: March 25, 2:00PM EDT: Earlier this morning BoatUS sent the following media alert that includes a discussion of Florida House Committee Bill HWSS 15-06. This bill has been updated by the House and is now named House Derelict Vessel Bill and known as HB 7123. For your reference, this change has been annotated in the copy below and BoatUS continues to urge recreational boaters have their voice heard on this important issue.

THE ISSUE:
The 2015 Florida legislative session is underway, and the regulation of boat anchoring and how to take care of derelict boats remain hot topics in both the Florida Senate and House. Each are taking very different approaches that could affect how Florida boat owners as well as visiting cruisers use their boats in state waters:

FL Senate Bill 1548, introduced by Senator Charles Dean (District 5), would impose a substantial statewide restriction on overnight anchoring within 200 feet of the high water mark of residential property. Additionally, it would prohibit statewide anchoring or mooring a vessel that is incapable of moving under its own power, or exhibits other specific characteristics like being partially sunken, demonstrating it is at-risk of becoming derelict.

Over the last decade, Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) has understood that derelict boats in Florida have muddied the waters with regard to rational conversations about anchoring. As a result, BoatUS wholeheartedly supports any effort to reduce the state’s derelict vessel population. However, BoatUS is very concerned over the chilling effect that a significant, statewide anchoring restriction could have.

In the Florida House, Derelict Vessel Bill HB 7123 introduced by Representative Holly Raschein (District 120) deals with derelict vessels without changing current anchoring law. The bill creates an “at risk” category of boats and gives local governments new tools to take care of these boats. Because local governments have sought anchoring restrictions to address problems with derelicts, BoatUS believes that Derelict Vessel Bill HB 7123 is a common sense step in providing new tools to deter vessels from becoming derelict in the first place.

TWO ACTIONS NEEDED NOW:

1. Because of its onerous 200 foot statewide anchoring restriction, BoatUS urges boaters to request that their Florida State Senator reject SB 1548 by emailing them at: http://goo.gl/TUscmr .
Read Senate Bill 1548 at: http://goo.gl/lBnzeP.

2. Because of its common sense approach to derelict vessel issue, BoatUS urges boaters to voice their support of Derelict Vessel Bill HB 7123 by emailing their FL Representative at: http://goo.gl/wDZKUO .
Read Committee Bill HWSS 15-06 at: http://goo.gl/XYp6Ip .

WHO:

Boat Owners Association of The United States remains actively engaged with state lawmakers to ensure that active, responsible boaters will continue to enjoy the Sunshine State. BoatUS is the nation’s leading advocate for recreational boaters providing its over half million members with government representation, fighting against unfair federal taxes, fees and regulations that single out boat owners, and keeps boaters safe. BoatUS is also non-partisan. Additional information on Florida anchoring is at: BoatUS.com/gov/floridaanchoring.asp  .
 

 

REPEATING IN JULY

As of late MAY no “new” news on All Aboard Florida. Check our archives over the past few months for more information.

All Aboard Florida (private investment group's plan to run 32 trains a day from Orlando to Miami causing more bridge closures on the St. Lucie, Loxahatchee and New Rivers) continues to be unsettled at our Press Time.
USCG's request for comments on All Aboard Florida continues, probably 'til June, by mail at Office of the Commander, 7th Coast Guard Dist., Brickell Plaza Federal Bldg., 909 SE 1st Ave., #432, Miami, FL 33131-3050.

For up-to-date information on both of the above situations we suggest watching Florida news and checking websites listed for Boat Owners Association of the United States (BoatUS.com) FWC (myfwc.com) and this monthly website update, where press releases appear as received.

 

 

TAKE 10 LIONFISH, GET AN EXTRA LOBSTER DURING SPORT SEASON AND POSSIBLY TAKE HOME A T-SHIRT

At its June meeting in Sarasota, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) approved a new and exciting opportunity that will encourage divers to remove invasive lionfish by allowing them to take one extra spiny lobster each day during the two-day sport season this summer (July 29-30) that they also harvest 10 lionfish.

In addition, people can take a photo of their lionfish and lobster catch during the two-day season and post it on Facebook.com/LionfishReefRangers to get a “Be the Predator” T-shirt. One lucky photo entrant will also win a lifetime saltwater fishing license via a drawing held shortly after the sport season.

“The FWC operates in a culture of innovation. Opportunities like this are a great way to get divers who are already in the water accustomed to removing lionfish,” said Commissioner Brian Yablonski. “Our hope is that once lobster divers realize how easy it is to remove lionfish, they will continue to do so throughout the regular lobster season and beyond.”
Lionfish are invasive species that have a potential negative impact on Florida’s native wildlife and habitat. With no predators or other mechanisms such as disease or parasites keeping the lionfish population under control in Florida at this time, harvest by divers is the primary means of lionfish removal.

For the 2015 spiny lobster sport season only, divers will be allowed a single spiny lobster over the bag limit per dayfor each day that they also harvest 10 or more lionfish. Lionfish must be kept as proof of harvest while on the water. When off the water, a photo of harvesters with their 10 lionfish must be kept to document eligibility for harvesting an extra lobster. Lionfish must be harvested the same day and prior to taking the additional lobster. All other rules, including no spearfishing zones, apply.

The two-day spiny lobster recreational sport season (also known as mini-season) falls on the last Wednesday and Thursday of July each year before the Aug. 6 opening of the regular season. During this two-day season, the regular bag limit is six spiny lobster in state and federal waters of Biscayne National Park waters and off Monroe County, and 12 spiny lobster elsewhere. There is no bag limit for lionfish; harvesters can take as many as they want.If the program is successful at encouraging lionfish removal, it could be continued in future years.

For more information, visit MyFWC.com/Commission and select “Commission Meetings” then the “Agenda.” For information about recreational spiny lobster, visit MyFWC.com/Fishing and click on “Saltwater,” “Recreational” and “Lobster.”

Help the FWC by reporting all lionfish catches and sightings via the Report Florida Lionfish app or at MyFWC.com/Lionfish.

 

 

PUBLIC REQUESTS FOR BARRACUDA CONSERVATION MEASURES IN SOUTH FLORIDA RECEIVE INITIAL APPROVAL BY FWC

At its June meeting in Sarasota, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) gave initial approval to several barracuda conservation measures after hearing concerns from various south Florida stakeholder groups about potential declines in barracuda populations.

These proposed changes will come back before the Commission at its September meeting in Weston for final approval. If approved at that time, changes will apply in state and federal waters off Collier, Monroe, Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach and Martin counties only, where the majority of barracuda population concerns have been voiced, and will include:

•Creating a recreational and commercial slot limit of 15 to 36 inches,
•Creating a recreational daily bag limit of two fish per person, and
•Creating a commercial daily trip limit of 20 fish per person.

Because there are no species-specific regulations for barracuda, they are currently subject only to general statewide regulations, which include a default recreational bag limit of two fish or 100 pounds, whichever is greater. There are no commercial trip limits and no regulations in federal waters.

In recent years, stakeholders in southeast Florida and the Florida Keys who fish and dive have voiced concerns about seeing declines in barracuda numbers. FWC staff gathered additional public input at a series of workshops earlier this year.

The available barracuda data is limited and it would be difficult to gather enough additional data to evaluate the status of the population due to their complex life history and behaviors. Therefore, a full stock assessment has not been conducted on this species and the population size is not known. However, there has been a declining trend in the number of barracuda observed during underwater surveys conducted in the Keys during recent years, as well as a declining trend in the average size of those barracuda, which is consistent with concerns expressed by stakeholders.

A slot limit would contribute to barracuda conservation by eliminating harvest pressure on the youngest, more vulnerable fish, while also conserving the largest fish, which are the ones responsible for the vast majority of reproduction. Bag and trip limits would reduce overall harvest and leave more fish in the water to replenish the population and to be enjoyed by recreational divers and sport fishermen.

Staff will continue to monitor barracuda landings and catch-rate trends through data collected during Fish and Wildlife Research Institute underwater surveys and by asking anglers to report their catches using data-reporting programs like the Snook & Gamefish Foundation’s iAngler app.

For more information, visit MyFWC.com/Commission and select “Commission Meetings” then the “Agenda.”

 

 

CHANGES TO THE COMMERCIAL RESTRICTED SPECIES ENDORSEMENT EFFECTIVE JULY 1

Several changes to the commercial saltwater restricted species endorsement go into effect July 1, 2015.

A restricted species endorsement allows commercially licensed fishermen to harvest and sell certain species.

Changes to the restricted species endorsement include:

•Providing an additional method for individuals to document a permanent disability.
•Increasing the amount of time a family member of a restricted species endorsement holder, who dies or becomes disabled, has to apply for a restricted species endorsement from one to three years and waiving the income qualification requirement for a full license year once the family member receives the endorsement.
•Modifying the qualification requirements to prevent misuse of an exemption that allows fishermen to obtain a restricted species endorsement when purchasing a used commercial fishing vessel.
•Removing language referencing outdated provisions.
•Clarifying and updating language on what forms of income verification are acceptable.
•Defining the term “immediate family.”

These changes were approved by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission at its April meeting in Tallahassee.

 

 

FROM CAPT. JOHN YEAGER ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ON HILLSBORO INLET BRIDGE REPAIRS
PARTIALLY REPEATING IN JULY from MARCH UPDATE
.

FLORIDA – EAST COAST - HILLSBORO INLET: Bridge Repairs. PCL Civil Constructors, Inc. has advised the Coast Guard that they will start work on the repairs to the Hillsboro Inlet Bridge on January 5, 2015. This project is anticipated to be completed by November 14, 2015. There will be various bridge restrictions and closures throughout this project. The contractor will be working closely with the marine interests to ensure impacts to navigation will be at a minimum.

After June 28, 2015, mariners may request an opening during these time periods by providing a four-hour advance notice to the bridge tender or by calling (954) 943-1847. The vertical clearance will be reduced by 2 feet during the entire project length. The north and south side channels will be closed to navigation during this entire time frame as there will be turbidity barriers in place and a small barge will be behind the fender system. the roadway will be closed to the vehicle traffic completely for 19 days in addition ... to  the above two weeks two ??? four hours closure periods. The Florida Department of Transportation will be issuing a separate press release on this restriction. Ref: LNM 07-14 through 20-15 CG File: 3014 Chart 11.

 

 

News from USCG - BRIDGE NOTICES:

We attempt to include here only notices regarding serious bridge operating schedules. We have discontinued listing temporary changes that draw attention to semi-serious delays such as (most) painting projects, marathons, charity runs,  single-leaf operations, etc.

An exception to the above may be made because of seasonal traffic and items previously included may be kept with updates.

 

 

REPEATING IN JULY
FLORIDA – ATLANTIC INTRACOASTAL WATERWAY – PALM SHORES TO WEST PALM BEACH – FLAGLER MEMORIAL/ROYAL PARK/SOUTHERN BOULEVARD BRIDGES: Bridge Construction/Waterway Restriction/Temporary Bridge Regulation Changes/Update.

The Florida Department of Transportation has advised that the Flagler Memorial Bridge will be placed in the open to navigation position for a six month period. Mariners are reminded that the horizontal clearance at the Flagler Memorial Bridge is currently set at 70 feet and will remain until the new bridge is built and this bridge is removed.

The Florida Department of Transportation has requested that the Flagler Memorial Bridge be placed on a restricted opening schedule until the new Flagler Memorial Bridge construction can be completed.

Mariners are reminded that the horizontal clearance at the Flagler Memorial Bridge is currently set at 70 feet and will remain until the new bridge is built and this bridge is removed.

The Flagler Memorial Bridge opening schedule has been changed to once an hour on the quarter-hour. In addition to the once an hour schedule, the Flagler Memorial Bridge will be allowed to not open at 8:15 a.m. and at 4:15. p.m. Monday through Friday except Federal holidays to allow for rush hour traffic. The bridge will be allowed to remain closed to navigation with no exemptions except for emergencies. The Royal Park and Southern Blvd Bridges will return to their normal operating schedules per 33 CFR 117.261: (v) Royal Park (SR 704) bridge, mile 1022.6, at Palm Beach. The draw shall open on the hour and half-hour.

(w) Southern Boulevard (SR 700/80) bridge, mile 1024.7 at Palm Beach. The draw shall open on the quarter and three-quarter hour.

While the new Flagler Memorial Bridge is under construction, the following emergency plan will remain in effect with no exceptions except for emergencies:

If an emergency occurs and the Flagler Memorial Bridge is left in the open to navigation position, all vehicle traffic will be detoured to the bridges to the south. For this reason, the Royal Park Bridge will be on an hourly schedule at the quarter-hour, except that from 8:16 a.m. to 10:14 a.m. and from 4:16 p.m. to 6:14 p.m. this bridge will be allowed to remain closed to navigation. The Southern Boulevard Bridge will remain on the twice an hour schedule (top of the hour and bottom of the hour), except that from 8:31 a.m. to 9:59 a.m. and from 4:31 p.m. to 5:59 p.m. this bridge will be allowed to remain closed to navigation.
Ref: LNM 45-12 through 50-14 Chart: 11472

 

 

The following information provided by our editors is again included in the Gold Coast Cruising section of the new 15/16 print edition:

 

PALM BEACH AREA BRIDGES
          Usual opening schedules are listed on Chart 8, however, delayed construction on Flagler Bridge may cause further changes and once-an-hour openings are likely. Contact bridges on CH 9.

 

 

REPEATING IN JULY

FLORIDA – ATLANTIC INTRACOASTAL WATERWAY –WEST PALM BEACH TO MIAMI –WEST PALM BEACH – LAKE AVENUE/ROBERT HARRIS BRIDGE: Temporary Bridge Regulations/Bridge Repair.

The Florida Department of Transportation has initiated coordination with the Coast Guard to consider regulations on the Lake Worth/Lake Avenue/Robert Harris Bridge, across the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway mile 1028.0, Lake Worth, Palm Beach County, Florida, which will allow for some bridge closures and temporary regulation changes to order to facilitate construction/repair activity on this bridge.

The Coast Guard has agreed to allow this bridge to remain closed to navigation from 12:05 a.m. to 4:59 a.m. and from 7:05 a.m. to 10:59 a.m. daily, Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. This bridge will be allowed to open once an hour on the top of hour for the remainder of the day. The vertical clearance of the bridge will be reduced by 5 feet which will allow for a vertical clearance of 30 feet in the closed position. On Saturday, Sunday and Federal holidays the bridge will open on-demand.

Coastal Gunite Construction Company has advised the Coast Guard that they will start this project on September 2, 2014 and will continue until May 15, 2015.

Ref: LNM 45-13 through 50-14 Chart: 11467 CG File: 2674

 

 

CHANGED FOR MAY - REPEATING IN JULY

FLORIDA – ATLANTIC INTRACOASTAL WATERWAY –WEST PALM BEACH TO MIAMI – NEW RIVER – FEC RAILROAD BRIDGE: Test Deviation.

The following information has been extracted from the Test Deviation, please view www.regulations.gov USCG-2015-0271 for the complete text.

The Coast Guard is issuing a temporary deviation from the operating schedule that governs the Florida East Coast Railway (FEC) Railroad Bridge across the New River, mile 2.5, at Fort Lauderdale, FL. This test deviation is from April 19 through 6:00 a.m. on October 16, 2015.

During the test deviation period, the draw of the FEC Railroad bridge across the New River, mile 2.5, at Fort Lauderdale, FL, will operate as follows:

The bridge is constantly tended.
The bridge tender will utilize a VHF-FM radio to communicate on channels 9 and 16 and may be contacted by telephone at 305-889-5572.
Signage will be posted displaying VHF radio contact information and the bridge tender and dispatch telephone number. A countdown clock for bridge closure shall be posted at the bridge site and visible for maritime traffic.
A bridge log will be maintained including, at a minimum, bridge opening and closing times.
(e) When the draw is in the fully open position, green lights will be displayed to indicate that vessels may pass.
(f) When a train approaches, the lights go to flashing red and a horn starts four blasts, pauses, and then continues four blasts then the draw lowers and locks.
(g) After the train has cleared the bridge, the draw opens and the lights return to green.
(h) The bridge shall not be closed more than 60 minutes combined for any 120 minute time period beginning at 12:01 a.m.

 

 

REPEATING IN JULY

FLORIDA – ATLANTIC INTRACOASTAL WATERWAY – WEST PALM BEACH TO MIAMI – MIAMI – BROAD CAUSEWAY BRIDGE: Bridge Discrepancy.

The Broad Causeway Bridge across the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway, Miami, Florida is on singe-leaf operations at the quarter-hour and three-quarter hour until further notice. A double-leaf opening is available if two hours advance notice is provided to the bridge tender at 305-891-2221. This bridge provides a horizontal clearance of 33 feet with one leaf in the closed position.

M&J Construction has advised the Coast Guard that starting January 12, 2015, they have begun repairing the Broad Causeway Bridge. In order to complete these repairs, the Coast Guard has agreed to allow this bridge to operate on single-leaf operations with a four hour notice for a double-leaf opening to the bridge tender. Mariners are advised that during this 480 day operation, M&J Construction will be requesting permission to block the navigation channel at night to install the fender system under the bridge. This nighttime work will minimize disruptions to marine traffic. The start of this operation will be published in a future Local Notice to Mariners.
Ref: LNM 13 through 50-14 Chart: 11467

 

 

REPEATED IN JULY

FLORIDA – MIAMI ENTRANCE CHANNEL – MIAMI BEACH CHANNEL – EAST VENETIAN BRIDGE:
Temporary Final Rule.

The East Venetian Bridge is closed to navigation until further notice. The Coast Guard has been advised that the planned 9 month operation to repair the West Venetian Bridge approaches has been delayed until June 1, 2015; the West Venetian Bridge will remain open to all marine traffic and the East Venetian Bridge in the closed to navigation position. REF: LNM 39-14 through 20-25 and Docket Number USCG-2014-0719 Chart: 11467.

 

 

REPEATING IN JULY

FLORIDA – MIAMI TO MARATHON AND FLORIDA BAY – HAWK CHANNEL – SNAKE CREEK BRIDGE: Test Deviation.

The Coast Guard is temporarily changing the regulations governing the Snake Creek Bridge across Snake Creek, Islamorada, Florida. From 8:00 a.m. on March 16, 2015 until 6:00 p.m. on July 14, 2015, the Snake Creek Bridge will be allowed to open on signal, except that from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. this bridge will open at the top of the hour, seven days-a-week.

Additional Information: Tuesday, July 14 - test deviation ends, last day for public meeting request (120 days from test deviation beginning.); Monday, September 14 - Comment period ends. (180 days from test deviation beginning.) If you would like to comment on this test deviation, please use one of the following methods If you submit a comment, please include the docket number for this rulemaking (USCG-2015-0046), indicate the specific section of this document to which each comment applies, and provide a reason for each suggestion or recommendation. You may submit your comments and materials online (http://www.regulations.gov), or by fax, mail or hand delivery, but please use only one of these means. If you submit a comment online via http://www.regulations.gov it will be considered received by the Coast Guard when you successfully transmit the comment. If you fax, hand deliver or mail your comment, it will be considered as having been received by the Coast Guard when it is received at the Docket Management Facility. We recommend that you include your name and a mailing address, an e-mail address, or a phone number in the body of your document so that we can contact you if we have questions regarding your submission. To submit your comment online, type the docket number [USCG-2015-0046] in the "SEARCH" box and click "SEARCH." Click on "Submit a Comment" on the line associated with this rulemaking. If you submit your comments by mail or hand delivery, submit them in an unbound format, no larger than 8-1/2 by 11 inches, suitable for copying and electronic filing. If you submit them by mail and would like to know that they reached the Facility, please enclose a stamped, self-addressed postcard or envelope. We will consider all comments and materials received during the comment period and may change the rule based on your comments. Ref. LNM 08 through 20-15 and Docket Number USCG-2015-0046 Chart: 11451.

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