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Federal Waters??

With the last few days being so calm in the S/W I've taken my boat out further than is normal for me. Any easy way to tell when I cross into this "federal zone" with its differing regulations? Bottom depth? Best guess? Thanks.

Should add - using a hand held GPS


  • nfairbanknfairbank Posts: 266 Deckhand
    As you have a fairly consistent shoreline, build a North/South route in the GPS at 9.0 nautical miles. Then you will see when you are getting close.
    ><))))*> So Many Fish, So Little Time
  • joekat46joekat46 North PortPosts: 2,516 Captain
    nfairbank wrote: »
    As you have a fairly consistent shoreline, build a North/South route in the GPS at 9.0 nautical miles. Then you will see when you are getting close.

    Thanks - I have way points entered for the end of Venice Inlet and Venice Pier. I'll enter one for Casperson and go from there. I won't push it and don't expect this calm weather to last forever. My GPS shows statute miles so I'd be safe if it ever reads nine miles out at some point.
  • Gary S. ColecchioGary S. Colecchio Posts: 24,922 AG
    I am not federally permitted, so it is important to me to know where I am; more specifically if anyone fishing under my license tries to twist my arm to fish beyond the "ten mile box" restriction of my FWC license.

    The important thing therefor is defending myself against a prosecution by federal agents, who, by the way have prosecuted several members here for that very thing; building their cases by posing as charter clients.

    A successful defense against law enforcement prosecution involves developing a preponderance of evidence, or at least enough for a judge, magistrate of hearing officer to doubt that of the "arresting" officer. The secondary thing they need to demonstrate is that you had an intention to violate the rule / statue or law.

    So my knowledge and efforts to define where that imaginary line is very important to defending myself and defeating a prosecution as well as avoiding it in the first place.

    The first thing I have done is mark up a chart. Since the coastline is not truly north and south, I drop a perpendicular line though my pass then use dividers to mark the 10 mile boundary (I use miles because hearing officers know what miles are) then I use parallels to drop another perpendicular.

    Next, I'll establish waypoints along that line marking the boundary.

    Now I have a paper chart that I can roll out on a table as evidence that is legally defensible in methodology and that I was aware of the restrictive boundary and took due care to avoid an infraction.

    Transferring that to your handheld depends on your device's chart plotting ability. My Garmin Mapsource software allows me to do that relatively easy, but it does require some estimating.

    I am posting this in consideration that you are truly interested in remaining within the legal boundaries , defending yourself and not working around law enforcement efforts. :wink

    Best of luck.
    "If I can't win, I won't play." - Doris Colecchio.

    "Well Gary, the easiest way to look tall is to stand in a room full of short people." - Curtis Bostick

    "All these forums, with barely any activity, are like a neglected old cemetery that no one visits anymore."- anonymouse
  • conchydongconchydong Pompano BeachPosts: 6,376 Admiral
    Many of the Garmin hand held models accept the micro chips and most of the micro chips show the demarcation lines between State and Federal waters. If your unit has that capability, it is a good investment to get a chip for your area. Sometimes there are good prices for bootleg or used chips on E-Bay.

    “Everyone behaves badly--given the chance.”
    ― Ernest Hemingway

  • joekat46joekat46 North PortPosts: 2,516 Captain
    Thanks for the replies. I doubt if I ever do really enter the federal zone but would hate to finally catch a red grouper over the state minimum and toss him back not being sure of my location.
  • nuclearfishnnuclearfishn Posts: 8,356 Admiral
    Was out there 2 weekends ago. Bottom fishing is dead straight out of Redfish pass due to red tide. Did not do any good till we got north of Captiva.
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