Disturbing Lobstering trend in the Keys

HoowasherHoowasher Posts: 5 Greenhorn
I have been lobstering in the Lower Keys for almost 40 years. I miss the days before Loran and GPS. Now...everyone has their spots, and your spots and my spots... OK I can deal with that. Since i usually skip mini-season, I do not see a lot of problems with crowding or encroachment so to speak. HOWEVER- this year and last year I am noticing an increase in a process Ill call "Staking a CLaim."

I am witnessing boats arriving at a spot (Obviously aGPS location) and then going out a couple hundred yards and dropping a bouy and DIVE FLAG. Go another couple hundred....drop another bouy and DIVE FLAG. Seen as many as four DIVE FLAGS out with NO DIVERS the of course the boat sets up.

Besides being Piggish about the lobstering grounds, It can be a huge inconvenience when this is done in some of the tight channels on the back side. Most problematic is that if this process continues, everyone will start assuming that many flags do not represent an actual diver below.

Like most people I respect the dive flag, slow down, look for divers and respect others on their dive spots ot on miy spot if they got there first. Staking a claim is wrong on many levels.

Since we demand so much respect for dive flags and FWC enforces their use, size, stiffner etc... can they enforce the misuse of the dive flag like this? Maybe they have. Id love to hear if others are witnessing this trend and what are their thoughts.

Replies

  • Capt_GerryCapt_Gerry Posts: 173 Officer
    Haven't seen this yet up here in Saint Lucie/Martin counties. It makes no difference to me if there is one flag or ten. I will respect their flag and everyone's safety but just because there is a flag there doesn't mean others can't dive there also. There is no staking an area or claiming a reef for bugs. Either they share or get mad it's their choice but I'm diving on a public spot if they like it ore not.
    Changin' Latitudes
  • Prop BlastProp Blast Posts: 375 Officer
    Capt Gerry,

    Your signature is incorrect. The Diver Down Flag does NOT mean "stay 300 feet away". What it does mean is that boats underway in OPEN WATER should try to stay 300' away. If you do go within 300', the captain of the vessel underway must slow down to maintain heading & steering. Here's the exact quote from the law:

    "Boaters must make reasonable efforts to stay 300 feet away from dive flags in open water; 100 feet in rivers, inlets and navigation channels.

    Boaters approaching diver down flags closer than 300 feet in open water and 100 feet in rivers, inlets and navigation channels must slow their vessels to the minimum speed required to maintain forward motion and steering
    ."

    When you run into such a situation -- they clearly cannot "fence" other people out. Lobstering makes folks nuts in the Keys, that's why I avoid it like the plague.

    PB
  • Capt_GerryCapt_Gerry Posts: 173 Officer
    Prop Blast wrote: »
    Capt Gerry,

    Your signature is incorrect. The Diver Down Flag does NOT mean "stay 300 feet away". What it does mean is that boats underway in OPEN WATER should try to stay 300' away. If you do go within 300', the captain of the vessel underway must slow down to maintain heading & steering. Here's the exact quote from the law:

    "Boaters must make reasonable efforts to stay 300 feet away from dive flags in open water; 100 feet in rivers, inlets and navigation channels.

    Boaters approaching diver down flags closer than 300 feet in open water and 100 feet in rivers, inlets and navigation channels must slow their vessels to the minimum speed required to maintain forward motion and steering
    ."

    When you run into such a situation -- they clearly cannot "fence" other people out. Lobstering makes folks nuts in the Keys, that's why I avoid it like the plague.

    PB

    Thanks but I'm more than familiar with the Florida Statues. It is merely an expression of how I feel about those who willfully place divers in harms way. Those being safe are more than legal to come closer but those who are unaware, uneducation, untrained....ect just need to "stay" 300 feet from me and those I'm charged with protecting. :)
    Changin' Latitudes
  • ShallowExpectationsShallowExpectations Posts: 381 Deckhand
    Certainly agree with Capt. Gerry for safety purposes. Too many people getting run over by boats, and I personally have had a few close calls with boats almost running me over. Need to keep that 300ft cushion from any flag you see.

    As for that staking a claim... jump on those spots if you know for certain there is no diver down. Flags should'nt stray too far from a boat anyways. Of course this is just my experience from snorkeling, and I tend to be a little bit younger than most people talking on here.
  • krashkrash Posts: 584 Officer
    Hoowasher wrote: »
    I am witnessing boats arriving at a spot (Obviously aGPS location) and then going out a couple hundred yards and dropping a bouy and DIVE FLAG. Go another couple hundred....drop another bouy and DIVE FLAG. Seen as many as four DIVE FLAGS out with NO DIVERS the of course the boat sets up..

    Which flag are they dropping out on the bouy, the boat size or diver down tow along flag's..
    Old Fugger who just likes to fish
  • launchpadlaunchpad Posts: 386 Officer
    I have to agree with the sentiment of being piggish. I spent 15 consective years going to the keys (97 the last) and never heard of this. My take is if there are divers in the water working a hole i would show respect and not drop in. If i new a boat was dropping multilpe flags to stake claim i would drop in on the vaacnt flags clean out the holes and take the flag as an abondoned flag.
    "When you get to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on." Franklin D. Roosevelt
  • Reel UmReel Um Posts: 260 Officer
    launchpad wrote: »
    I have to agree with the sentiment of being piggish. I spent 15 consective years going to the keys (97 the last) and never heard of this. My take is if there are divers in the water working a hole i would show respect and not drop in. If i new a boat was dropping multilpe flags to stake claim i would drop in on the vaacnt flags clean out the holes and take the flag as an abondoned flag.

    Sounds ike a good idea to me if no one is diving around these flags. I would first take a picture so when SH** hits the fan and FWc is called you can support your claim abandoned flags and you were protecting the reefs by picking up other peoples garbage
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