NewsCoronavirus

Actions

Sand bars, spoil islands now closed, but boaters can still enjoy the water with limits

Deputies also still ask boaters to keep a 50-foot distance between other boats and limit their capacity to 10 people.
How to prepare your boat
Posted at 10:05 PM, Apr 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-04 00:44:03-04

MARTIN COUNTY, Fla. — Big changes for boaters kicked in Friday morning in an effort to continue to try to stop the spread of COVID-19.

According to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, state-owned uplands, such as beaches, islands, sandbars and emergent shoals within aquatic preserves are closed.

But, boating is not totally restricted.

According to the Martin County Sheriff’s Office, boaters are still free to navigate any waterways. They just need to avoid landing, launching, or dropping anchor anywhere within an aquatic preserve.

Lt. Ryan Grimsdale explained in Martin County, “that includes the St. Lucie River, from county line to county line, with very few exceptions.”

Deputies Friday, aboard a Martin County Sheriff’s Office Marine Unit, spotted boaters anchored in the St. Lucie River and on the sandbar. They are not out to arrest people in violation of the order but want to educate boaters.

“You can fish. You can be underway. We’re not closing the waterways. If you’re underway, you’re good to go,” Grimsdale told boaters. “Boating’s not been made illegal. We’re certainly not trying to push that message.”

Deputies also still ask boaters to keep a 50-foot distance between other boats and limit their capacity to 10 people.

People who live on their boats were asked to move to mooring fields.

For a map of the aquatic preserve areas subject to these restrictions, click here.

Areas outside of the aquatic preserve are not subject to any changes.