FWC once again restricts boating on Suwannee River’s zones 3, 4

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Two additional idle-speed, no-wake zones were reactivated on the Suwannee River Saturday, according to Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) officials. Three zones are now active on the Santa Fe and Suwannee rivers.

Zone 3, a 23-mile segment, which runs from Little River Spring to the County Road 340 Bridge at Rock Bluff, was activated when the gauge at Branford reached 24 feet. Zone 3 was previously activated March 25 and lifted April 3.

Restrictions on the Suwannee River’s Zone 4 are once again in place after the zone was deactivated April 10. The FWC reactivated boating restrictions on Zone 4 when water levels once again reached 9 feet at the Wilcox gauge.

This section is from the County Road 340 Bridge at Rock Bluff to 1 mile below the Fowler Bluff Boat Ramp. This 51-mile segment becomes an idle-speed, no-wake zone when the Suwannee is at 9 feet on the Wilcox gauge, where flood stage is 11 feet.

Zone 5 is also still active. This 32-mile section on the Santa Fe River, which runs from River Rise within O’Leno State Park west to the confluence of the Suwannee River, was activated March 19. This area of the river becomes an idle-speed, no-wake zone when the Santa Fe River reaches 17 feet as indicated on the Three Rivers gauge, where flood stage is 19 feet.

FWC officers are patrolling both rivers to ensure boaters comply with the idle-speed, no-wake rule, said Maj. Andrew Krause, regional commander at the FWC’s Lake City office.

The FWC encourages boaters to stay off the Suwannee-Santa Fe river system until conditions improve.

An idle-speed, no-wake zone means a vessel must proceed at a speed no greater than what is required to maintain steerageway and headway. At no time is any vessel required to proceed so slowly that the operator is unable to control it or anything it may be towing.