Because of the large number of oil containment booms and cleanup equipment being deployed around the state in response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission's Boating and Waterways Section is asking boaters to slow down where oil cleanup is under way.
The FWC encourages all boaters to operate at slow speed within 300 feet of all authorized booms. Boaters operating near any oil-containment booms or cleanup equipment should exercise extreme caution and comply with all applicable navigational rules.
Oil-skimming equipment is large and cumbersome and it is restricted in its ability to maneuver. As a result, boaters should be prepared to stay clear of these vessels when operating near them.
Failure to operate at slow speed in these areas could result in injury, damage to vessels and damage to the containment booms. Additionally, the wake that results from a vessel operating above slow speed in areas where a boom has been deployed can reduce the effectiveness of the boom, resulting in further environmental damage.
FWC officers and local marine units will be on the water encouraging boaters to operate at slow speeds in those areas where cleanup efforts are under way.