Divers scout best spots as lobster mini season nears

PORT SALERNO, Fla. - Parking is always at a premium at Sandsprit Park and by Tuesday night, all of the spaces will be full.

Lobster mini season begins at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday and boaters are already preparing for a busy 48 hours.

"We'll go out there a little early tomorrow afternoon and try to get on our spot and get staked out," says Jason Riley of Stuart.  "Then at midnight, we'll go ahead and do our thing."

Thousands of people are expected out on the water for the 2-day season and that can sometimes lead to problems.

Lobster mini season claims at least one life every year.  Many of the deaths in the past were middle-aged divers with undiagnosed health problems or rusty skills.

With so many boats in the water, it's vital to pay attention and fly "Diver Down" flags.

"Keep your dive flag posted, make sure you have another dive buoy on you and on your ascent to the surface, make sure that you're looking out for other boats," says Tim Aschman of Belle Glade.  "A lot of boats really don't abide by the rules and they're on plane when you're trying to ascend and that's how people get hurt."

People who spent Monday scouting off the St. Lucie Inlet say visibility is poor and they only saw a few keepers.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission says you can only take lobsters with a carapace length greater than three inches.

FWC and the Coast Guard will have increased patrols on the water.  There are even trained lobster-sniffing dogs to smell out anyone not following the rules.

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