Advocacy Report August 2022
By: MIASF Staff
Date posted: Aug 19, 2022 Fri
The MIASF team started out the summer with a get to know you meeting with Fort Lauderdale’s new city manager Greg Chavarria. He began his new position on July 23rd although he has been with the city since 2020 as an assistant city manager. Greg was very open and knowledgeable as we discussed a few industry concerns which naturally included the New River crossing bridge/tunnel. For the record the industry position is no build is not an option and the bridge option can be no lower than 40ft clearance as navigability of the New River is obviously critical to our boatyards upriver. The manatee plan slip shortage by area designation and the need for dredging in the New River were among the items we also touched on. City staff will be meeting once a month with MIASF team to continue these discussions.
MIASF has learned that a waterway tour of the New River and the boatyards is a great way to introduce people to the scope of the marine industry. With Water Taxi, who is always a willing partner, we were able to host an impressive collection of guests in August. The new Captain of the Port, Chris Cederholm and his staff joined us, COPT is responsible for the Coast Guard at sector Miami which covers Miami to Fort Pierce and is the regulatory authority on area bridge operations. Our new Broward County Commissioner (because of redistricting) Beam Furr was along to learn more about new businesses he now represents. Asst Executive Director of Florida Inland Navigation District Janet Zimmerman and Dan Romance representing the Marine Industries Association of the Treasure Coast joined the tour to learn more about the train and boats sharing the waterway as the St Lucie bridge is moving closer to the same amount of rail traffic that South Florida sees daily as Brightline prepares to start service to Orlando in early 2023. Ken Hall, General Manager from Florida Dispatch Co was on hand to explain how the guaranteed predictable opening is proving to be a workable solution most of the time. Brightline is beta testing a new app which should give a real time schedule of the bridge operation. The app is called Bridge Schedule and can be downloaded from the app store. It will ultimately have access to all bridges the train impacts.
The Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary has a plan out for public comment. There is an item that is included which brings up a good opportunity to talk about vessel restrictions. Much of the sanctuary prohibits entry by vessels over 50 meters/167 ft. It is a federal offense, and it is important yacht captain pay close attention to the designated areas. The proposed plan expands the area to further protect the reef.