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Old 03-29-2004, 06:33 AM
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Default manatee zones

Marine patrols ticket dozens of boaters for speeding through manatee zones

Tal Abbady
Staff Writer
Posted March 29 2004

The blue-green waters around Peanut Island on Sunday seemed like the last place to get pulled over for a ticket.

But a seafaring army of officials from several law enforcement agencies wrote dozens of citations over the weekend for boaters violating the manatee speed zones in one of the largest crackdowns on violators who threaten the state's dwindling population of manatees.

Operation Slow Speed II combined the efforts of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office, the Coast Guard, and police from Riviera Beach, North Palm Beach and the Town of Palm Beach. Officers patrolled the manatee speed zone, which is in effect each year from Nov. 15 to March 31, on Saturday and Sunday.

Wildlife commission Officer Scott Prasse maneuvered his narrow flat boat up and down the two-mile speed zone that Sunday brimmed with vessels of all shapes and sizes, from personal watercraft to luxury yachts. The zone stretches from Riviera Beach to Curry Park in West Palm Beach.

Prasse stopped boaters who cruised fast enough to create a wake, which in some cases meant they were speeding at 40 mph. They slowed at the sound of his wailing siren, most claiming they were unaware of the speed zones or had not seen the multiple signs posted on channel markers.

"We were going very slowly just a little while ago. And then we sped up and didn't see the signs," said Isabel Alvarez, 43, of West Palm Beach, who was riding on a personal watercraft with her husband, Pedro Alvarez, 32. They listened as Prasse courteously explained why they had been stopped, checked their safety gear, and wrote the citation.

Depending on whether boaters are stopped by a state or federal officer, fines range from $50 to $150.

"It's insane out here," North Palm Beach Police Officer Sal Mattino said from his patrol boat. He had stopped seven boaters in three hours.

"People say they don't see the signs, but that's no different than driving on the road and saying you didn't see the lights or the stop signs," Mattino said.

By Sunday night, Prasse said, officials stopped 118 boats and issued 38 citations.

"I'm not sure what the law is because I can't see it," said James Pou, of Boca Raton, who was stopped by Prasse and cited for speeding. Pou said he is supportive of manatee patrols, but complained that the signs were small and difficult to read.

Prasse, a Florida native and manatee fan, said 33 percent of all manatee deaths result from boat-related injuries. Those seen along Florida's coast often bear scars from their run-ins with propellers. Roughly 3,200 manatees remain in Florida, Prasse said.

During the winter months, hundreds of manatees seek out the warm water discharge of the power plant in Riviera Beach.

"They pack right around it. You could walk across them. It's like a road of manatees," Prasse said.

The manatee observation center near the warm water discharge was closed for security reasons after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

As he made his way past boats bearing names like Tinker Toy and Wet Gecko, Prasse said the state's powerful boating lobby has prevented legislators from passing more stringent measures to protect manatees.

"There's a lot of politics at play, which is sad. We either protect manatees now or lose them forever," he said.
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Old 03-29-2004, 08:23 AM
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In the last 10/12 years boating useage and boating registrations have SKYROCKETED, yet at the exact same time the manatee population has increased by over 300%. We have to be doing something right. Despite what the Save the Manatee Club, and other enviromental groups say or try to claim, THE MANATEES ARE NOT DWINDLING, to the point that they are strongly be considered being taken off the "endangered species" list, which of course has the Save the Manatee Club weenies just peeing in their pants. They are the worst of the worst of "zealots" here in Florida, they never, nor do they acknowledge any truthful reality concerning the manatee. If they had their way they would ban all pleasure boating in the entire state.

I have personally asked them over 15 times via email, how is it the population has increased during the massive increase in boating. I have never (surprise, surprise) received any kind of a reply from them.
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Old 03-29-2004, 08:25 AM
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What paper does this Tal Abbady write for and do you have an email address for him or website for the paper he write for? Thanks...
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Old 03-29-2004, 08:38 AM
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We had the Mana Nazi SWAT team over here on Saturday too. Luckily I saw them in time an was not stopped. That 33% of all deaths is B.S.
I don't know about that power plant. But in Ft. Myers the SMC forces them to warm the water. This creates an un-natural migration. If they didn't warm the water they would not be there. They would then head into the Carribean where they belong and we would not have this problem.
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Old 03-29-2004, 11:50 AM
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They force the warm temperatures to attract the tourists. Oh the mighty dollar. What I liked about the original article is when he made the comment that many of the dead manatees have scars from boat props. Scars. Scars require the healing of an injury after it happens. So obviously thats not what killed the water cow. Otherwise they would have a open gaping wound.
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Old 03-29-2004, 05:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Formula Outlaw
What paper does this Tal Abbady write for and do you have an email address for him or website for the paper he write for? Thanks...
Sun Sentinel in Ft Lauderdale
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Old 03-29-2004, 06:07 PM
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Thanks...
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Old 03-29-2004, 08:59 PM
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The story says mr. & mrs. Alvarez were ticketed while on their Personal Water Craft, why would a vehicle with NO PROP and minimal draft be of any danger ?, I like the manee's but hate over regulation of boating.
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Old 03-30-2004, 07:59 AM
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Question North Palm Beach Patrol?

I believe their jurisdiction ends at the mouth of the Earman River...What would they be doing citiing/patroling at Peanut Island south, as the article states???

Last edited by Ed; 03-30-2004 at 08:02 AM.
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Old 03-30-2004, 09:05 PM
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Coasties go anywhere and note the woman is married to a much younger gentleman.
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