HIGH SPRINGS, Fla. -- The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has made a 32-mile stretch of the Santa Fe River an idle-speed, no-wake zone.
The restrictions apply to Zone 5 and run from River Rise in O'Leno State Park west to the confluence of the Suwannee River. The stretch was made a idle-speed, no-wake zone because of rising water levels from Tropical Storm Debby.
FWC declares the Santa Fe River an idle-speed, no-wake zone when the water levels reach 17 feet above mean sea level at the Three Rivers gauge. The flood stage at the gauge is 19 feet.
An idle-speed, no-wake zone means all vessels must proceed at a speed no greater than that required to maintain steerage and headway. Vessels are not required to move so slowly that the operator cannot control it or anything it may be towing, the FWC said.
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FWC officers will be patrolling the section of the river that is an idle-speed, no-wake zone.
"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," said Captain Martin Redmond, area supervisor at the FWC's Lake City office.
The idle-speed, no-wake zone will remain in effect until the water level is below 17 feet.
For real-time river information, visit www.mysuwanneeriver.com.
First Coast News