Waterfront Times E Edition Page 1

Nature's fireworks Coral spawning is an annual event taking place along reefs in early September when corals have sex to reproduce. Scuba divers have described the event as a "brilliant underwater fireworks display." Here, Capt. Spencer Slate observes coral spawning up close at the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. More information is available at floridakeys.noaa.gov. Photo Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary Serving South Florida's Coastal Neighborhoods S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 5 Y E A R 6 I S S U E 3 Biscayne plan's fishing woes......................... 3 Brisket over briquettes................................... 8 Admiralty Law 5 Classifieds 14 Eats 8 Events Calendar 10 Tide Table 11 Nesting roseate spoonbills. Photo Brennan Mulrooney ARNOLD MARKOWITZ Waterfront Times For everyone else, next winter is nearer than last win- ter, but for roseate spoonbills last winter's nesting season ended only recently. Now that it has, four Florida Bay islands that are closed for those birds each winter have been reopened by Everglades National Park: Sandy Key and Palm Key near the Flamingo visitor center and Carl Ross and Sandy Keys much further south. Hurricane Wilma in 2005 stripped all those islands of their foliage, exposing the eggs and chicks of spoonbills, herons and egrets to predators. Marine engine noise was no longer muffled by the foliage, hence the seasonal closing of the close-by channels and the islands themselves. A large portion of the Carl Ross Key campsite was washed away. What's left of Carl Ross is open for daytime use only. Sandy Key's land is closed permanently but boaters can pass alongside. At low tide it's possible to walk between Ross and Sandy, but it's not allowed. An emergency closure was imposed in April on Palm Key's west side. It's open now and so is the Frank Key boat channel. Boater in fatal accident charged with DUI Two years and a month after his boat crashed into a channel marker, killing his father-in-law and severely injuring his wife, a Naples man was charged with boat- ing under the influence and manslaughter. Jeffrey Jackmack, 45, surrendered after being in- formed that a warrant had been issued to arrest him. FWC officers said he was drunk at the time of the acci- dent and recently had used unspecified drugs. If Jackmack is convicted of the offense, he could be sen- tenced to 15 years in prison. The accident happened at about 8 p.m. on June 13, 2013. Jackmack's 15-foot center console boat rammed channel marker 71 of the Intracoastal Waterway in Dollar Bay, in Naples. Florida Bay islands open after spoonbill nesting season Do teen boaters require adult supervision? CANDICE RUSSELL Waterfront Times Boating education may be, well, educational for teen boaters, but it's no cure-all in preventing accidents. It is, however, a state requirement for boaters born on or after Jan.1,1988, who operate a craft over 10 HP without an adult on board. The idea behind the law, which requires this segment of boaters to earn a Boating Safety Education identification card, is that information will improve per- formance. Less certain is whether it hones judgment. "Just because the child has the education doesn't mean they have they the maturity to operate that boat," said Lt. Seth Wagner of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. "At the same time, we can't legislate that." A recent tragic case illustrates the troubling point. The teen operator of a 13-foot Boston Whaler had earned the ID card, as did some of the other six teens also aboard the boat, which crashed at night into a low bridge atDixieHighwayandNortheast18thCourtinFort Lauderdale. John Baker, 17, was killed. Three of his friends were injured. The Aug. 13 accident is still under investigation. "It's a tragedy, to state the obvious," says Paul Greenbaum, a Coast Guard Auxiliary marine and envi- ronmental officer with Flotilla 3-8. Before receiving the state ID card, boaters must take a safety class in person or online and then receive a score of at least 75 percent on the Florida Certification exam. Courses teach basic standards on how vessels oper- ate and other safety material. In 2014, 17 boating accidents in the state of Florida involved teenagers 17 and younger, according to Wagner. Of the 17 accidents, seven operators had earned the card; five did not. It's unknown if the remaining five had cards or not, Wagner said. There were over three times as many accidents that same year in the 17 to 21 year old age group. Of the 55 accidents written up in the state, 35 boaters had received the card, 18 had not and two cases were unknown. "It can't hurt to have it," Wagner said, of boating ed- ucation. "Whether or not it's doing any good is a hard thing to measure. Just because you've had the education doesn't mean you're going to make good choices." According to David Wolf on www.FloridaChild- Injury.com, "there are just too many risks associated with boating to hand over full responsibility to a teen or child. "Adult supervision is key to preventing injuries, in- cluding those related to drowning or near-drowning inci- dents... It takes a certain maturity, strength and experience to properly react when there is an emergency." Teens Perry Cohen and Austin Stephanos, both 14, are also believed to have met a tragic fate this summer on the water, never returning from a fishing trip that began on Jupiter Inlet in July. Many boating situations present challenges, such as boating at night, which demands concentration. In the dark, the eyes can be tricked in unexpected ways, known as the autokinetic effect. Experienced boaters know to use their hearing as well as their eyes, to slow speed, and arrange interior lighting to avoid being blinded by your own illumination. The parents of Austin Stephanos established the Austin Blu Foundation to honor their son and his friend. It is dedicated to raising awareness, providing education and making tools and technology available to prevent boating accidents. They want to promote the use of personal location beacons and emergency position-indicating radio bea- cons, used to help find people lost at sea. In a family statement about their son Austin, they wrote: "His life story is as much a love story as a caution- ary tale. The ocean was the love of his life. The lesson of his life, in part. Take every precaution when on or in the majestic yet powerful ocean." Teens boating without adult supervision need to keep in mind the risks, says Joe Capua, a sergeant supervisor with the Broward Sheriff's Marine Patrol. "Boating is a way of life here, just like dune-buggying is in California," he says, mentioning another hobby with inherent risks. "Boating is a matter of education, common sense, re- specting your environment and knowing your limitations." SEE DOLPHIN PAGE 6

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