EXTENSION OF SLOW SPEED MINIMUM WAKE ZONE IN TAVERNIER CREEK TO BE DISCUSSED AT JAN. 31 BOCC MEETING
MONROE COUNTY, FL – The Monroe County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) will consider a proposal to begin the process of adding to the existing Slow Speed Minimum Wake (SSMW) zone in Tavernier Creek at their Jan. 31, 2024, meeting based on safety concerns raised by the Village of Islamorada. The meeting starts at 9 a.m. at the Marathon Government Center and via Zoom conference.
The existing SSMW zone encompasses approximately 70 percent of Tavernier Creek. The Village of Islamorada approached the County to extend this zone to cover the remainder of the creek, including two blind bends and two blind corners.
A recent survey conducted by the County observed that the navigable portion of the waterway in the new area to be covered is approximately 100 feet wide. The challenging conditions of swift currents, limited visibility, and increased vessel traffic, as highlighted by the Village’s request, indicate a potential safety hazard.
“We saw multiple kayaks, two boats fishing at anchor, a 50-foot charter vessel, and various pleasure craft in just a short transit of the creek,” said Brittany Burtner, Monroe County Marine Resources Senior Administrator. “The safety concerns are evident, and the Village’s proposal aligns with the need for reduced vessel speed in this area.”
The existing caution buoys marking the blind bends in the area emphasize the need for precaution. The Village’s request is grounded in safety considerations and aligns with the criteria outlined in Florida Administrative Code Rule 68D-21.004(2)(b), addressing bends or obstructions affecting visibility in narrow channels. If the BOCC directs staff to move forward, Marine Resources will pursue permitting a zone to cover the remainder of the creek, which includes a local ordinance and review by state officials.
To see the BOCC agenda or watch the meeting, visit www.monroecounty-fl.gov/meetings.
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