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Officials warn boaters to watch for hidden debris from Hurricane Nicole in waterways

'It’s kind of like an iceberg, you don’t know what’s underneath there,' deputy says
Posted at 4:32 PM, Nov 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-15 20:31:20-05

INDIAN RIVER COUNTY, Fla. — Officials are reminding boats to watch out for floating debris from damaged docks and uprooted trees that pose a danger to those out on the water and officials are urging boaters to be vigilant.

Fisherman Anthony McKee said he didn’t notice anything in the water in the Indian River Lagoon near Sebastian's Riverview Park on Tuesday.

"The water is pretty nice, clear," he said.

However, out in the middle of the lagoon, it’s a different story.

"This end up here, seems to have gotten in worse than anywhere else," Deputy Ron Adamson said. "I've lived out here since I was a little kid, I've been out on the water ever since."

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Deputy Ron Adamson explains how debris can damage your boat.

Adamson is part of the Indian River County Sheriff’s Office Agriculture and Marine Unit.

In the waters off the Sebastian shoreline, several boats were damaged by Hurricane Nicole. And in the middle of the Intracoastal Waterway, there's more marine debris.

"Here you see some twigs and stuff. It’s kind of like an iceberg, you don't know what’s underneath there," Adamson said. "If you were to smack that with your boat, you’ll mess up your motor. Hopefully, no one goes overboard from it."

Adamson tied the debris to the back of his boat, so it can be removed. He said there's more dock debris near the Sebastian Inlet.

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Fisherman Anthony McKee says he didn't see any debris when he went out fishing.

One other safety issue when it comes to navigation is a lot of the channel markers are missing in the lagoon. Adamson said the Coast Guard is looking into that.

He adds the majority of docks between Vero Beach and Sebastian took some kind of damage, so boaters need to pay attention.

"So, for the next month it’s going to be really busy through the ICW every day," Adamson said.

Back on shore, McKee is hoping not to reel in a plank or piece of bark next time he’s out fishing.

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