In the aftermath of Hurricane Ian, Florida FWC has advice and reminders on how to safely navigate the post hurricane landscape and how you can help get the sunshine state back on its feet.
The devastation left by Hurricane Ian is still affecting Floridians up and down the west coast of the state. Our roots run deep in Florida as anglers and a company and our hearts go out to anyone affected by the destruction from the 150 mph winds and flooding rains.
Anglers will always persevere, however. It wasn't long after the storm turned Fort Myers inside out that anglers were back in their boats, exploring the newly changed ocean.
As Florida FWC continues conducting cleanup and safety operations for residents, FWC is reminding anglers that the massive storm affected and changed coastal waters as well as inland waters. Many areas are still experiencing high water and flooding.
FWC is urging anglers who are making the trek back onto the water to maintain safe speeds and boat with extreme caution, constantly on the lookout for submerged hazards that have been altered like pilings, trees, shoals, sandbars and navigation markers.
So much of the ocean has changed since the storm, it's important for even the most veteran anglers to not rely on memory regarding previous hazards, sandbars and reefs.
FWC also would like to remind everyone to respect all emergency vessels by maintaining a slow speed and reducing wakes whenever 300 feet from one.
“The FWC takes the quality and safety of our waterways very seriously. We have damaged and submerged navigation markers, displaced vessels and other debris in some waterways that might not be visible. Please use caution.” said FWC Boating and Waterways Section Leader Maj. Rob Beaton.
Florida FWC also implemented a new program to help identify and report missing and damaged waterway markers. THese markers and buoys are imperative to keeping all boaters safe and knowledgeable about established wake zones and previously established underwater hazards.
You can report missing or damaged waterway markers by calling 866-405-2869 or by filling out an online form at MyFWC.com/boating, by clicking “Waterway Management” then “Waterway Markers” and “Reporting Damaged/Missing Waterway Markers.”
Information to have when calling/emailing to report a missing, or damaged, marker:
Location of missing, damaged or found marker (GPS coordinates, waterbody name, nearby landmarks, county, nearest city or town, crossroads, etc.)
Brief description of the problem
Your name and contact information
If you are reporting a damaged sign or buoy by telephone to 866-405-BUOY or by email:
FWC will assess the problem.
FWC will identify/mark it, if it presents a potential hazard to navigation.
FWC will notify the owner.
FWC will work to fix the problem if the marker is managed by FWC.
For those who don’t live in Florida, but are still looking to help, Fishbrain encourages you to look to the Red Cross, the National food bank branch Feeding Florida, the Florida Disaster Fund, CORE (Community Organized Relief Effort) and more.
We hope all can see the light at the end of this disastrous tunnel and soon the areas daffected will be back to representing one of the greatest fisheries in the world.
Make your fishing dreams come true today and tomorrow