Boater safety and responsibilities make headway at Marco Island Waterways Advisory Committee

Don Ricci, Jr., discusses changes Thursday to a draft Seawall Owners Manual being revised by the Waterways Advisory Committee. The manual is expected to be completed later this year. Listening is Don Dilks, committee chairman. Cheryl Ferrara/Eagle Correspondent

Don Ricci, Jr., discusses changes Thursday to a draft Seawall Owners Manual being revised by the Waterways Advisory Committee. The manual is expected to be completed later this year. Listening is Don Dilks, committee chairman. Cheryl Ferrara/Eagle Correspondent

Waterway committee member Jim Timmerman works with the advisory group to finalize a Boater Safety brochure on Thursday. The committee completed the brochure that will be available to the public in the near future. Cheryl Ferrara/Eagle Correspondent

Waterway committee member Jim Timmerman works with the advisory group to finalize a Boater Safety brochure on Thursday. The committee completed the brochure that will be available to the public in the near future. Cheryl Ferrara/Eagle Correspondent

During the Waterways Advisory Committee meeting Thursday, Tim Pinter, public works director, explains that the City of Marco Island is not responsible for damage to a private dock at Villa de Marco West. With Pinter is Brandi Garwood, an administrative assistant for the city. Cheryl Ferrara/Eagle Correspondent

During the Waterways Advisory Committee meeting Thursday, Tim Pinter, public works director, explains that the City of Marco Island is not responsible for damage to a private dock at Villa de Marco West. With Pinter is Brandi Garwood, an administrative assistant for the city. Cheryl Ferrara/Eagle Correspondent

— Boaters unfamiliar with Marco waters will have a new navigation tool to complement compass, chart and depth finder.

The city's Waterways Advisory Committee approved a revision to its Boating Safety brochure on Thursday. The pamphlet offers boaters a guide to bridge locations and clearances, cites basic waterway regulations, and encourages boaters to keep local waterways clean.

For those who fish, the brochure identifies reef locations by navigational coordinates. For new boaters, it offers information on local "safe boating" courses. Pump-out stations and towing companies are listed by business name and phone number.

The brochure itemizes six basic U.S. Coast Guard equipment requirements and explains prohibited behaviors that could result in costly penalties. Fines include illegal discharge of untreated sewage, exceeding "no wake" speeds, and being impaired by drugs or alcohol while operating a vessel. Copies of the brochure will be available in the near future at local boat rental sites and city offices.

Although not part of the printed items, the committee discussed the penalty for causing physical damage to private property with a vessel. A collision at Villa de Marco West precipitated the conversation.

Committee member Jim Timmerman said he was contacted by condominium personnel looking for guidance on protecting an on-site dock that had been struck twice by vessels. During the second incident, the dock was hit so hard it sustained structural damage. The recreational boater who ran into it fled the scene, but someone at the condominium was able to view identification markings.

Don Dilks, the committee's chairman, said physical damage that exceeds $500 is a Federal offense and should be reported to the U.S. Coast Guard.

The condominium is located at the point where the Marco River meets the entrance to Collier Bay. In 2012, emergency dredging of the pass changed currents and the velocity of water entering and leaving the pass. It also created an eddy and a hole big enough to hold a Volkswagen, said Tim Pinter, Marco Island's public works director.

Vertical erosion control sheets were placed near the base of the condominium's seawall to protect it, but dock maintenance and repair is the property's responsibility, Pinter said. The dock is used for fishing and is not used for boat docking.

The committee discussed steps the condominium might take to alleviate the problem including signage on the dock or pilings placed in the waterway directly in front of the dock as a stopgap.

"There's not a lot the city can do," Pinter said. "Potential damage to the dock is one of the reasons we got the emergency dredging approved."

He advised the board to have the owners meet with Bryan Milk, community affairs director, to discuss possible ways to mitigate the problem. Since the dock is part of a commercial property, replacing it would require new code standards including ADA requirements.

During the meeting, Timmerman recapped progress on updating an ordinance to use vacant lots for seawall replacement. City council approved on first reading regulations for using lots and penalties for violating city code. Second reading is scheduled for council's Jan. 22 meeting.

Timmerman agreed the city was moving in a positive direction with the ordinance but felt two more ordinances needed attention: one deals with barges and cranes and a second concerns technical specifications for seawalls.

© 2013 marconews.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Discuss
  • Print

Comments » 2

WizeOlMarco writes:

"...The condominium is located at the point where the Marco River meets the entrance to Collier Bay. In 2012, emergency dredging of the pass changed currents and the velocity of water entering and leaving the pass...."

The pass is the point for much of the tidal water flowing in-out of Collier Bay plus Marco Island's north side canals. During incoming tides the water flow can be strong, sweeping vessels toward the condo docks and seawall. Plus, is a 'no wake zone'. Inattentive boating or equipment malfunction = trouble at this location.

Throat_Yogurt writes:

in response to WizeOlMarco:

"...The condominium is located at the point where the Marco River meets the entrance to Collier Bay. In 2012, emergency dredging of the pass changed currents and the velocity of water entering and leaving the pass...."

The pass is the point for much of the tidal water flowing in-out of Collier Bay plus Marco Island's north side canals. During incoming tides the water flow can be strong, sweeping vessels toward the condo docks and seawall. Plus, is a 'no wake zone'. Inattentive boating or equipment malfunction = trouble at this location.

Spot on with that. Try avoiding the Marco Princess during an incoming tide when she's entering that waterway. Talk about some scary sh**

Share your thoughts

Comments are the sole responsibility of the person posting them. You agree not to post comments that are off topic, defamatory, obscene, abusive, threatening or an invasion of privacy. Violators may be banned. Click here for our full user agreement.

Comments can be shared on Facebook and Yahoo!. Add both options by connecting your profiles.

Features