SECTION A - News & Regulations from COE, FWC and others, including Bridge information

The latest Navigation Report can be found at: which goes to the Jacksonville District.

General Information for the Okeechobee Waterway can be found at South Florida Operations Office web page.

Information from COE

The latest Navigation Report can be found at: which goes to the Jacksonville District.

General Information for the Okeechobee Waterway can be found at South Florida Operations Office web page.


The 2013 recreational season for bay scallops closed Wednesday, Sept. 25. The final day of harvesting was Sept. 24.

FWC scallop researchers will conduct underwater surveys after the season close  to reassess the scallop population. While the season was open, scallop harvesters could assist researchers by completing an online survey at, indicating where they've  harvested scallops, how many they've collected and how long it takes to harvest them.

 Participants can email to ask questions or send additional information.

Visit and click on “Saltwater,” “Recreational Regulations” and “Bay Scallops” to learn more.

On September 9, Governor Rick Scott and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission announced four additional license-free fishing days.     
Governor Scott said, “Florida’s license-free fishing days are the perfect opportunity for people to try, or introduce a friend to, some of the finest fishing in the world. Florida's recreational freshwater and saltwater fishing industry has an $8.9 billion economic impact and events like these help grow the industry even more. I'm excited that the FWC has adopted four more license-free fishing days for a total of eight days per year. These days are a great way to introduce more Floridians to the lifetime sport of fishing.”
Florida currently offers the public four license-free fishing days per year, where the requirement to have a recreational fishing license is waived for residents and visitors. Saltwater license-free fishing days this year were on June 1 and Sept. 1 and freshwater’s were April 6 and June 8.
During its Sept. 5 meeting, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) added four more license-free fishing days to the calendar, and the Florida Legislature approved this increase earlier this year.
The additional saltwater license-free fishing days will be Oct. 12 and Nov. 30 and additional freshwater license-free days will be Nov. 29 and Dec. 28. 
The Commission also set dates for 2014 and beyond. All eight days will now fall on the same day of the week from year to year, allowing potential anglers to plan fishing trips in advance.
For 2014 and beyond, the following dates will be license-free fishing days:
oFirst Saturday and Sunday in June
oFirst Saturday in September
oSaturday following Thanksgiving
oFirst Saturday and Sunday in April
oSecond Saturday and Sunday in June
To make these events accessible to as many people as possible, the FWC planned these dates around holiday weekends and national events and National Fishing and Boating Week. Highlighted by significant national media coverage and public events, National Fishing and Boating Week promotes boating and fishing across the country as fun and healthy outdoor activities.
Plan your fishing experience today, but don’t forget, all other regulations such as seasons, size limits and bag limits still apply on these days. Visit to learn more about saltwater and freshwater fishing in Florida.

Inner tubes. Towables. Inflatable tubes. All are commonly used names for a popular boating item, and they come in many different shapes and sizes.
“Towed water sports can be a great way to enjoy Florida’s beautiful waterways,” said Maj. Richard Moore, head of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s (FWC) Boating and Waterways Section. “We just want everyone to be as safe as possible when doing so.”
Unfortunately, there have been several recent accidents around the state in which passengers on a towable device struck an object, such as a dock, channel marker, piling or other boat. Last year, five people were injured and two were killed during these types of accidents.
The FWC says these and other accidents can be prevented through a few key precautions, including one particularly important one.
“When you are operating a boat that is towing passengers on a tube or something similar, their fate is in your hands,” Moore said. “They are not able to steer themselves in a safe direction and must rely on you to keep them safe. The main safety consideration is keeping them away from all other objects.”
Although there is no required specific distance to keep away from fixed objects or other boats, operators should not pull the tuber close enough to anything where there is risk of collision. Doing so could not only result in a citation but, more importantly, it puts the life of the person being towed in jeopardy.
“A good rule of thumb is this: Twice the line should be fine,” Moore said. “If you consider the length of your towline and are diligent in keeping your boat at least two lengths of your towline away from all boats and other objects, you are much more likely to provide your riders with an enjoyable, safe time on the water.”
The FWC says that these additional safety tips are very important as well:
•Any riders being towed behind a vessel are required to wear a life jacket; however, it cannot be the inflatable style.
•The boat operator must have another person onboard who can observe the rider(s) being towed and alert the operator of any issues. In place of the observer, the operator may use appropriate wide-angle rear-view mirrors. However, the safest bet is to use a “spotter” or observer. That way, the operator can concentrate on driving the boat and pay attention to what is in front of and around him or her. The spotter has a much better ability to watch the person being towed.
•Boaters may pull riders on towable water sport items only during the day – from a half-hour before sunrise until a half-hour past sunset.
The FWC wants to ensure that boaters can enjoy all that Florida’s waterways have to offer. For more boating information, go to and click on “Boating Regulations” or “Safety & Education.”


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 w/updates.
Capt. John Yeager has received the following notices about happenings with Jacksonville and West Palm Bridges ... As of NOW ...


Special Operating Schedule.
Due to a mechanical failure, the FEC Railroad Bridge across the St Johns River, Jacksonville, Florida has been placed on a limited opening schedule. This bridge will remain open to navigation from 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m., 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. and from 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, and from 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m., 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., and from 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, at all other times the bridge will be closed to navigation. The bridge owner is in the process of manufacturing a part in order to replace the broken bearing. If the bearing fails before the new part can be delivered, the bridge will need to be operated manually with additional restrictions implemented.


Restriction/Temporary Bridge Regulation Changes/Update.
The Florida Department of Transportation contractor Archer Western has been authorized to limit the horizontal navigational clearance to 25 feet at night and 70 feet during the day, for the emergency repairs of the existing Flagler Memorial Bridge across the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway mile 1021.8, Palm Beach, Florida, starting on July 8, 2013. Night time restrictions will limit horizontal clearance to 25 feet between the hours of 9:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. daily for up to three months. The Flagler Memorial Bridge will be left in the open to navigation position between these hours.

The full 70 feet of horizontal clearance will be made available with a four hour notice to the on-scene tug.

The temporary waterway restriction limiting horizontal clearance to 70 feet will remain in effect at the existing Flagler Memorial Bridge until the replacement bridge is complete. Mariners are advised that changes to navigational clearance may be necessary as repair conditions develop.

The temporary regulations for the Flagler Memorial and Royal Park Bridges will remain as follows: Flagler Memorial Bridge schedule will remain on the quarter hour and three-quarter hour except that from 8:16 a.m. to 9:14 a.m. and from 4:16 p.m. to 5:14 p.m., The Royal Park Bridge will remain on the hour and hour-hour schedule except that from 8:01 a.m. to 8:59 a.m. and from 4:31 p.m. to 5:29 p.m. this bridge will be allowed to remain closed to navigation, Monday through Friday until the repairs are completed on the Flagler Memorial Bridge.

Archer Western Inc has advised the bridge owner that they will have divers around the structure in and around the navigable channel Mariners are reminded to avoid diving flags at all times and if the waterway is too restrictive due to this operation to come to all stop until the divers have moved outside the navigable channel. The Coast Guard is working with the bridge owner to address additional safety concerns created by this diving operation.

Due to the unusual circumstances associated with the bridge structure, the bridge owner has requested an emergency back-up plan in case the repairs are unable to be accomplished as anticipated. If the Flagler Memorial Bridge malfunctions and is left in the open to navigation position, the Royal Park and Southern Boulevard Bridges will be placed on restricted schedules to accommodate increased vehicular traffic.
If an emergency occurs, the Royal Park Bridge will be on an hourly schedule at the quarter after the 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.

Additional waterway restrictions will be promulgated once the new Flagler Memorial Bridge construction commences.


District Seven Bridge Branch office has been contacted by a Florida State Representative and the City of West Palm Beach with regard to vehicle traffic congestion concerns created by the removal of the East Ocean Avenue Bridge. Vehicle traffic has been detoured to the Lake Avenue/Robert Harris SR 802 Bridge across the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway mile 1028.8, West Palm Beach, Florida; for this reason they have requested that this bridge be placed on a twice an hour schedule. This office has evaluated the situation and determined that starting on May 1, 2012 the draw of the Lake Avenue/Robert Harris (SR 802) will open on the quarter-hour and three-quarter-hour, 24 hours-a-day, seven days-a-week. Public vessels of the United States and tugs with tows must be passed at anytime. This temporary schedule is expected to continue until November 15. 2013.


GLF Construction Corporation has advised this office that the demolition and replacement of the East Ocean Avenue Bridge across the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway mile 1031, Lantana, Palm Beach County, Florida will start on March 20, 2012 and will continue until November 15, 2013.

From July 17, 2013 through August 24, 2013, the east bascule leaf will be erected which will allow a 60 feet of horizontal clearance, with unlimited vertical clearance, on the west side of the AICW. If your vessel needs assistance for safe passage, please provide GLF a twenty four hour notice by calling (954) 829-2781 or by contacting the tug “MISS THELMA” on marine channel 16. The contractor will have a barge in the waterway, under the east structural steel leaf between these dates, for safety reasons, maintaining the horizontal clearance of 60 feet while the east bascule leaf is in the down position. If your vessel is wider than 60 feet, but has less than 21 feet of vertical height, please provide GLF a twenty four hour notice by calling (954) 829-2781 or by contacting the tug “MISS THELMA” on marine channel 16, and the barge(s) in the channel can be temporarily moved out of the channel for your vessel to pass through the bridge.

From August 26, 2013 through September 7, 2013 it will be necessary, for construction purposes, to have the east and west bascule leafs in the down (closed to navigation) position from 6:00 p.m. until 11:00 p.m., Monday through Saturday. During this time there will be a minimum of 60 feet of horizontal clearance and 21 feet of vertical clearance. The contract can open one leaf with a four hour advance notice to the phone number above or by calling the tug “MISS THELMA”. This will limit the horizontal clearance to 60 feet between these times and dates

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October 2013 Section A

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