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Should Manatee Speed Zones be lifted?

Discussion in 'General Yachting Discussion' started by YachtForums, Jun 9, 2006.

  1. morbert

    morbert New Member

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    ICW speed and wake

    I live on the ICW in Ft. Laud. and I cant make sense of the speed zone for manatees since it is allows speeding during the week but not on weekends. The manatees dont know what day of the week it is?

    My big problem with speeding in the ICW is that there is a 15in wake limit that is not enforced. Because of increasing tide heights which happen twice a year where the water is about a foot from my seawall cap. I get breaking waves over my seawall!! It kills my grass and causes errosion behind the seawall. This is only going to get worse over time as tide height creeps higher. Last year before the Ft. Laud boat show there was a 61 Viking going cruising speed by my house. Another time a Mc Mullen and Wing 78 exspress was going by just under planning speed (max wake). Sometimes when the tide is high but not max the wake hits my seawall just right where I feel it through the ground like a tremore. So the few have wrecked it for the many. uck them few. Make it no wake year round!!!
    PS I have tried Ft. Laud Police who patrol this stretch and they are ineffective or dont care. I have stopped calling them.
  2. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    LOLOL......I was born and raised in Fort Lauderdale. What you're complaining about is MINIMAL compared to the 80's and 90's. There were NO speed limits or wake laws. Cigarette boats used to race down the ICW at 80mph all night long. Bridges were on demand and every single 54' Bertram, 53" Hatt SF and everything in between rolled by at cruise speed, ALL of the time. IF you lived on the ICW, you had a saltwater swimming pool whether you wanted one or not and just lived with it. Yeah every once in a while you get some dingleberry putting a 50+ on plane in the ICW, but they are few and far between since the cowboys and indian days.
  3. missnmountains

    missnmountains Member

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    We have been in Cape Coral since 2003. I have never ever seen a Manatee in a manatee zone...Seriously. Behind my house Yes.... at the orange river FPL discharge yes... out in the gulf yes. But never ever in a manatee zone. Who tells them to go to the "zones" to swim??

    Most if not all of the zones in my opinion are for revenue only.

    However, I do agree with some earlier posts that some narrow areas should have lower speed limits due to the congestion (the Miserable Mile for example). But nothing to do with the Manatee.

    Ken
  4. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    Actually it's because someone with a little juice or a lot of mouth wants to have a lawn where only sawgrass belongs and so he can watch boats blissfully drifting by admiring his home. But as a side benefit the manatee get protected and the coastline doesn't erode so fast.:rolleyes: The ironic thing is that he's the same person who wants show off his 50' go-go blasting past the homes just down the coast a couple of miles.:D
  5. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    Manatees typically travel in the shallower water outside of the channel and avoid the deeper water. But, in narrow places they are forced to migrate through the channel. I can see a slow speed zone being in these narrower places as justified. BUT, I do think they are going a little too far making some places manatee zones like over in Fort Myers, where there are miles of water outside of the channel that they normally travel in. I also think a lot of it is forced by homeowners looking to have calm water at their dock for their boat.

    The theory in South Florida to make it manatee zones on the weekends, is that there is a lot more traffic on the weekends and some of this fast moving traffic is over to the side of the channel to pass another boat and so forth, or if travelling fast and they see a manatee it cannot be avoided because there are other boats in the way.
  6. sagharborskip

    sagharborskip Senior Member

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    Up and down the New River and the Miami River several times this season (the New River LOTS of times) and almost every trip there have been one to several to many manatees.

    Several manatees have been hanging out at Fisher Island in the inner basin and I've seen them in the entrance.

    If they're in those places, they're also on their way coming and going.

    I've never been bothered by speed zones, wake zones, manatee zones. Just makes for more time being up top which is the part I enjoy the most anyway.
  7. wingless

    wingless Member

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    The manatee have better eyesight than me!

    My practice is to slow to idle, use my binoculars, read the paragraph of tiny text, that has similar wording, but different meanings than the prior sign, check the clock and the calendar, prior to determining the acceptable speed.

    Plus, 9 times out of 10, there is a cop just past the sign if you get it wrong.

    It would be okay w/ me to keep the zones, if based on the requirements for these animals.

    But, the text should be larger, uniform size and uniform meaning, to permit remaining on a plane if appropriate.
  8. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    If you pay attention to the layout of the signs, no binocs are needed. Each degree (idle, slow,etc.) has a specific layout so there's generally no need to actually read them. You can tell what they say from the way the wording is laid out. The small print generally won't affect you if you're cruising in the channel. It will usually say something like west or east of channel or within 500' of shore or the times of restriction. Dates I believe are Nov.15 to April 15 if I remember correctly.
  9. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    Dates change depending on County in Florida. Also most of Palm Beach County to Dade County is slow speed on weekends in the channel too. Dade County is Nov 30th- April 30th everyday, Broward County ends earlier on March 30th and is weekends and holidays only.

    BUT, I agree they need to make the signs and print larger as the layout is slightly different in Broward County and even Dade County.
  10. Yachtjocky

    Yachtjocky Senior Member

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    20 years ago I did not really have an opinion one way or the other about the manatee's and speed zones but then saw some terrible photographs of a manatee that had been struck by a high speed propeller and it took "wild-life" 3 days to catch up with it and it finally died.

    They then had the skeleton mounted showing very clearly the horrific damage to the back bones etc. and since that day I have advocated the slowing down of all boats in inland water ways. Not for the revenue or to make myself money but after seeing the suffering they go through I do not mind my day being a little longer.

    Trust me I am on the water every day, sometimes 6 days a week and trying to get so called Captains to slow down is not easy, kind of like watching Captains driving on I-95 in their pick-ups darting between lanes just to get there 2 minutes ahead of me. :cool:

    I think the money should be spent on getting blow boats to slow down just like the rules state to allow you guys passed.

    and remember those folk who have the big houses on the water front also pay huge taxes, alot are boat owners that keep all of us in work. so if they get a bit upset when a 65 Hatteras goes by doing a sea trial in the water way north of Commercial, trust me if I was them looking at a $10 to $15,000 per foot for a new sea wall and dock I may want to say something about it as well. :mad:
  11. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    I am sure it is a horrific death for the manatee when it gets hit by a propellor, but they mostly die from Natural causes and usually it is a sudden drop in water temp. They are also a NON-native species that like the Iguana's does not belong in Florida (for example). They have also done terrible things to the eco-system. For example they have eaten ALL of the seagrass in the Banana river and around Merritt Island and Titusville (mostly Titusville) and completely killed off the clams (which were native) and a lot of the blue crabs (also native) because the seagrass filters the water in the river and has all been eaten by the Manatees. A large population of manatees stay there year round at the powerplant.

    I agree with the speed zones, but I think there needs to be some justification to have them there. Many areas are designated manatee zone for the sole benefit of the homeowners not manatees.

    As for the homeowners on the ICW, they don't pay any higher taxes then houses on the ocean, or a house down the canal necessarily. Property taxes in Florida are a percentage of the price of the home, typically around 2% of what the house is worth.

    Also, the boats have been running up and down the ICW at 30 mph and large ones since before 98% of these people bought their homes, even before their lots were established sometimes. So they knew that before buying on the ICW. So a new seawall might be the price you pay for living directly on the ICW as is not having any privacy in your backyard. But the seawalls on the ICW last just as long as a house located 10 houses in on the canal from the ICW most all of the time. 8 out of 10 houses deepwater on the canals all have the seawalls re-done right now.......Basically because of the way they built them and the years that have passed, which I can explain also but that's for another time and place. It's more-so time then wear and tear......
  12. Yachtjocky

    Yachtjocky Senior Member

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    So CaptJ, how are you going to explain the following that is taken from the US Fish & Wildlife Service

    "Manatees are well represented in Florida’s fossil record. Their remains date back to prehistoric times and they are one of the more common vertebrate fossils known from ancient marine deposits. Manatee remains are also found in Native American rubbish heaps in Florida, sites that pre-date the arrival of the early Spaniards.

    The early colonists described how these natives hunted the manatee and were quick to appreciate the intrinsic value of the species.

    In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, papal decrees and British law sought to dictate who, when, and where these animals could be killed. In 1893, the state of Florida passed legislation that prohibited killing manatees. The West Indian manatee, including both Florida and Antillean sub species, was
    further protected in 1972 and 1973 with the passage of both the Federal Marine Mammal Protection Act and the Endangered Species Act, respectively. Florida followed suit, further protecting the Florida manatee through state endangered species legislation and subsequently through the Florida Manatee Sanctuary Act in 1978."

    I think they have more right to be here than the white man.

    If a lot of Captains did get there binoculars out and read the speed signs, the restrictions will read that certain speeds have to be observed but more importantly a maximum wake height is also part of the law.

    Now anybody familiar with running a 65 Hatteras knows only to well that running at anything but idle speed north of Commercial Blvd in an area that does allow higher speeds will result in the wake going over the sea wall of most of the homes whether 1 year or 20 years old. I have actually seen the wake lift a smaller center console up off the boat lift at the persons home.

    Too many people have a very narrow view of the marine business in Fort Lauderdale, the yachting capital of the world. How many owners would be happy to read that they can come down here, buy that dream boat and then buy the dream home on the water, up to a few months ago, pay 6% sales tax on that say $5 milion yacht and 2% of the $4 million dollar home (per year) but because they are non natives a Captain who does not live in that $4 million dollar home and does not pay anything like that $80,000 per year in property taxes thinks because he does not go over the speed limit his wake is not his problem. That is a big legal problem for you if it can be proven that your wake caused any damage.
  13. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    Very educational and very well stated (all of it). Many hear "West Indian" manatee and may subconsciously get the impression that they're imported.
    Several years ago when I was living in Ft. Lauderdale a man (who later became an EMT) diving off the coast had his legs chopped off by a boater who never looked back and never owned up. Imagine how that boater would care (or not) about hitting a manatee. Yes, many of the zones are there only because someone with juice wanted a nice lawn, but the manatee does need protection.
  14. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    I think you just like to argue to argue, and have taken what I wrote out of context.
    My origional post stated nothing about breaking wake laws and running a 65' on plane in the ICW, I just stated that, that used to be a regular occurance here up until about 10 years ago. I never break any law on the water. However, Broward County is the only county to have the 15" wake law. I would also never put a boat up on plane in the ICW where wake would cause any damage. There is no maximum wake law in either Dade or Palm Beach County or most elsewhere on the ICW for that matter in a fast speed zone. I never stated to not follow the "you are responsible for your wake law". My post directly aimed at the smaller boats that are legally allowed to go fast in those same zones except on weekends.

    I also posted that, I am for the wake laws protecting the manatees then they are justified. Should a guy moving down here from NJ and buying a house on the water to fish, have to travel 1 hour to go fishing in his 30' center console because some homeowners had a manatee zone made in front of their house, where Manatees are never seen be fair or be attractive to the guy buying a house in Florida? Direct ICW homes are a very small percentage of the Deepwater homes in Broward. Most anyone with a 5 million yacht is not buying a house directly on the ICW to dock their yacht, they buy one on a side canal that is protected.

    If you're going to quote evolutionary dates for when the manatee was first here (45 million years). The you must also follow the theory of Darwin and evolution. Evolution states that it's a survival of the fittest for species and the ones that are weak become extinct and the strongest species adapt and survive. That is why we don't have anymore dinosaurs. So, if the manatees are weak then according to your dating system, they should not survive. You cannot have or quote an evolutionary dating system, without following the Darwin theory behind it.

    BTW, my dad used to own a point lot house directly on the ICW and the side canal off of it. My mother currently owns a house on a canal 5 houses in from the ICW, so I know all about the wakes, the damage to the seawalls that are over-inflated. Most of the seawalls on the side canals (which don't see the wakes the ICW ones do) have been re-inforced with batter pilings and a new cap just like the ones on the ICW because of the way they were constructed. The solid slab concrete seawalls you see mostly in Fort Lauderdale were constructed where each slab has a approximately 2" metal rod in the middle of each slab which runs back about 10' into the property with a big concrete anchor on it (look at the middle of the slab and you will usually see a large rust stain there on every section in the same spot), designed to keep the slab from falling foward into the water from the weight of the land behind it. It has a piling at each 10' joint between the 2 slabs much like a wooden fence uses a 4x4" at each joint. Most of these metal rods have rotted through due to 60 years in a saltwater location, saltwater leaching behind the seawall at high-tide, causing the walls to start falling foward because they are no longer attached to the buried concrete anchor. Another main reason they have to be re-inforced on the ICW homes is because they plopped the weight of a 2 or 3 story house on the lot, with a swimming pool and the weight of the water in the swimming pool directly behind the seawall trying to push the seawall out. SO, next time you take a ride down the ICW north of Commercial in the same spot you quoted, look at the seawalls. The houses in the fast speed zones that are the normal 1 story origional ranch house without a pool, those mostly still have the origional seawalls. The McMansions in the same spot, mostly all have had to have the seawalls re-inforced. Wake has very little to do with the seawalls needing re-inforcing, and most of the times it's because the seawall has not been maintained properly or backfilled when needed.

    It is also the reason you can never keep a pool drained on a deepwater lot, because at high tide it will float and crack a lot of times.
  15. Yachtjocky

    Yachtjocky Senior Member

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    NO, I do not like to argue but your post about Manatee's being NON Native is like a lot of what you write, wrong. Why can you not admit your mistake and move on. You write stuff that makes alot of us kind of squirm and although I think you do have alot of experience when certain things are pointed out to you, you totally ignore them.

    Darwin.... oh my god, who brought up him or any of his theories. I posted a piece from the US Wildlife web site proving that the Manatee's are native to Florida and that proved YOU wrong and yet now you are off on a tangent about Darwin.

    My mentioning $5million dollar boats and expensive houses was to show others who understand this kind of stuff that if some body comes here and pays what was 6% sales tax on his boat now capped at $18,000 and another 2% per year on his fancy home we should may just give him some kind of break. You may get a job driving it, I might get a job fixing it, others may get a job cleaning it and others in boat yards will also make money at their jobs.

    What do you think an owner would be thinking if he read your post and thought alot of us in business had attitudes like yours.

    Now I am away outside to look at the poor peoples homes that are one story, no pool, on the ICW and with perfect sea walls.
  16. maldwin

    maldwin Senior Member

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    How do you measure your wake? I understand how to modulate my wake so as not to disturb anyone, but I have never understood how to tell when my wake goes from 14 to 15 inches.

    Also, should Hovercraft, and / or jetboats be exempt from manatee restrictions?

    Best,
    Maldwin
  17. Yachtjocky

    Yachtjocky Senior Member

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    I think alot of times people forget we are in the Pleasure boating business, does that mean we have to upset other folk, is there not enough areas that guys with big engines (and other little things) can go and do what ever they want to do without pushing a wake over someones sea wall or damaging their boat.

    14 inches or 15 inches, does that really matter, going past a small boat with kids in it and kicking up a 12 inch wake would not be a very nice thing to do. We have all sat waiting at the bridges when a smart ---- comes roaring past in his/her center console rocking & rolling us all.

    As in most cases with so-called Captains, size does not matter but consideration for others should.
  18. Fireman431

    Fireman431 Senior Member

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    I understand the importance of having manatee zones, especially in areas of migration/breeding, such as the St. Johns River at Blue Springs. They are known to congregate there for the fresh water and constant temperature for calving purposes.

    The Darwinian approach notwithstanding, evolution and species survival is based on all things being equal without outside influences, especially from machinery. That being said, if the manatee were to all die off from disease or as a natural part of the food chain, then their fate was left to natural attrition. However, as soon as an external influence is introduced, natural selection is no longer the order. A large portion of the manatee issues were caused from the injuries that they sustained from private and commercial vessels, therefore it is our responsibility to protect them from our own inventions. If manatee protection was truly the order, there would have been a law established for mandatory propguards on all vessels. Personally, I think it wouldn't be a bad idea to have prop guards anyway. It would have saved me a lot of money over the years.

    Aside from that, there are many, many areas established as manatee zones strictly due to influential persons reisding in the areas claming they have seen a manatee there 'once'. These are usually done as the home owners don't want wakes. I understand that also, but you knew the chance when you built/bought the house. Much like the people living on a golf course complaining when they find golf balls in their yard.

    Personally, I try to be as couteous as I can when motoring. Carver's are known for their huge wake at low speeds and I am mindful around other boaters and especially in confined areas.
  19. maldwin

    maldwin Senior Member

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    I agree, which is why I also think regulations should be tailored to their objective and enforceable. It is impossible for most yachtsmen, and marine patrol to measure wake size therefore the regulation makes no sense.
    It is also true the increase in manatee zones as well as the lack of maintenance of inlets has caused many people to lose patience and forget courtesy. There is a 40 min manatee zone between Peck's lake and the Hobe Sound bridge, then a widely ignored no wake zone in front of the Jupiter Island club. Although I am often rocked there, and have sustained damage, I do have some sympathy for people who still have a 40 min trip to the inlet after 40 min of manatee zone.
    Best,
    Maldwin
  20. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    When I was growing up my father introduced me to a lot of guys in the construction trades. These guys would look at a building or whatever and tell you it's 110'. Put a tape on it and they won't be off by more that an inch or two. Cops are legally considered "trained observers". They may not be able to tell a 15" wake from a 16" one, but they can tell when a wake of 2,3 or 5 feet exceeds it. 15" in those areas is considered safe for people on the shore, property and small boats. You won't be written up for "throwing a 16" wake". You'll be written for exceeding the 15" wake limit. Anyone who's come through the area south of Shooters in Ft. Lauderdale in a small boat when a SF came barreling through knows what it feels like to get swamped.
    The wake limit makes more sense than speed limits. We all know that the wake is far different from a 40'SF at 10 kts than for a trawler. At least in So. Florida they use "Slow speed minimum wake", "Idle Speed No Wake" and "Resume Safe Normal Operation". Up here you find 5 mph, 6 mph, 4 mph. Anybody here have a boat that can measure that in real time (no GPS)?:D