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FWC moves forward with changes to boating rules

News Release

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Media contact: Captain Richard Moore, 850-488-5600

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) heard staff proposals Wednesday for rule changes regarding boating-restricted areas. Capt. Richard Moore, of the FWC's Boating and Waterways Section, presented the proposed rule and amendments to an existing one.

Moore suggested moving forward with adjustments to current FWC rules in accordance with recent legislative changes.

Last year, legislators approved changes to chapter 327.46, F.S., a statute governing local ordinances. Once the statute took effect, the FWC was allotted 180 days to initiate its rule-making process so that its rules would reflect the changes.

"The new proposed rule, 68D-21, F.A.C., incorporates the changes made by 327.46, F.S., to boating restricted area ordinances," Moore said. "Its purpose is to guarantee that those ordinances are adopted uniformly and are focused toward public safety."

The proposed rule will implement a process for the Commission to review and approve some local boating ordinances before they take effect.

"68D-21 informs local governments of the standards the FWC will use to evaluate them and ensures that the public has an opportunity to participate in their development," Moore said.

The recent statutory changes also spurred the proposal to amend rule 68D-23, F.A.C.

"Since 68D-21 addresses the permit process, we propose amending 68D-23 so that it will more appropriately address the physical placement of waterway markers," Moore said.

After hearing public comment on the issue, Commissioners followed staff recommendations and granted approval to move forward with the next steps in the rule-making process. After another public meeting and continued work with local governments and stakeholders, FWC staff expects to present the rules for a final hearing at the June 2010 Commission meeting.

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