News Releases

Idle-speed, no-wake zone activated on stretch of Santa Fe River

News Release

Monday, March 04, 2013

Media contact: Karen Parker, 386-758-0525

A 32-mile segment of the Santa Fe River is now an idle-speed, no-wake zone, according to Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) officials.

Because of rising water levels, the FWC activated boating restrictions – an idle-speed, no-wake zone – on this segment, which runs from River Rise within O’Leno State Park west to the confluence of the Suwannee River.

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.

“The Santa Fe reached that level today,” said Capt. Martin Redmond, area supervisor at the FWC’s Lake City office. “The Santa Fe is forecast to rise above flood stage by Tuesday.”

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

FWC officers will be patrolling this area of the river to ensure the idle-speed, no-wake zone is enforced, Redmond said.

“Water levels on the Suwannee River can fluctuate rapidly, creating navigational hazards, such as floating debris, rocks, stumps and shoaling conditions for unsuspecting boaters. We want everyone to be safe,” Redmond said.

The idle-speed, no-wake zone will stay in effect until the water level recedes below 17 feet.

The Santa Fe and Suwannee rivers are divided into five zones. The Santa Fe is Zone 5. The other four zones are:

  • Zone 1 – from the U.S. 90 Bridge at Ellaville south to the State Road 51 Bridge at Luraville. This 39-mile segment becomes an idle-speed, no-wake zone when the Suwannee River reaches 47 feet or more above mean sea level at the Ellaville gauge, where flood stage is 54 feet. (This zone was activated March 3.)
  • Zone 2 – from the S.R. 51 Bridge at Luraville to Little River Spring. This 18-mile segment becomes an idle-speed, no-wake zone when the Suwannee River reaches 26 feet or more above mean sea level at the Branford gauge, where flood stage is 29 feet.
  • Zone 3 – from Little River Spring to the County Road 340 Bridge at Rock Bluff. This 23-mile segment becomes an idle-speed, no-wake zone when the Suwannee River reaches 24 feet or more above mean sea level at the Branford gauge.
  • Zone 4 – from the C.R. 340 Bridge at Rock Bluff to one mile below the Fowler Bluff Boat Ramp. This 51-mile segment will become an idle-speed, no wake-zone when the Suwannee River reaches 9 feet or more above mean sea level at the Wilcox gauge, where flood stage is 11 feet.

For more information about the flood zones, please call 386-758-0525. To report violations, please call 888-404-3922.

To obtain real-time river level information, visit www.mysuwanneeriver.com.



FWC Facts:
The Florida Constitution authorizes the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to enact rules and regulations regarding the state's fish and wildlife resources.

Learn More at AskFWC