Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

State rejects proposed low-wake zone along Anclote River

State officials have rejected proposed boating speed restrictions on the Anclote River, saying Pasco County and Tarpon Springs did not offer enough evidence to support an extended limited-wake zone.

But the state Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission did give a small victory to safety advocates. Officials said they would approve a smaller no-wake zone at the crowded intersection where the river passes three boat ramps at the county's Anclote River Park before heading out to the Gulf of Mexico.

"That's the main intersection where the boats come together," said Pasco parks director Rick Buckman. "That's probably the most important piece of the whole picture."

The proposal has taken an emotional resonance after Michael Billiris, a well-known captain and former Tarpon Springs commissioner, died in August 2010 after a high-speed collision with another boat.

The portion approved by the FWC would require boats launching from the ramps and headed south along the river to remain at an idle speed until they pass the swimming area in the park. If boats are headed to the gulf, they could only resume normal speed after passing an island with a white cross memorializing Billiris' death.

City and county officials had wanted much more extensive restrictions. They proposed a limited-wake zone stretching south from the county park that would join with an existing idle-speed zone in Tarpon Springs.

"It's definitely a big disappointment," said city Commissioner Jeff Larsen. "We really wanted to make it safer out there."

Larsen wants to explore other options for speed restrictions. Tarpon Springs police Chief Robert Kochen was scheduled to update the City Commission on the topic Tuesday night.

In an Aug. 29 letter, FWC officials said the county and city only provided boat traffic counts near Anclote park, not along the full proposed wake zone. The proposal also only included two accidents tied to excessive speed and only provided figures for weekends and holidays during prime boating season.

The letter also cast doubt on the device used to track boats in the area. FWC officials said they found past evidence of the device counting the same boat two or three times.

Buckman said Pasco County commissioners must pass a revised no-wake ordinance near Anclote River Park and send that to state officials. If approved, the county must apply for a separate permit to erect the no-wake signs. The process could take months. He hopes the new restrictions are in place "before next summer when the boat traffic picks up again."

Buckman said the Tarpon Springs section of the proposal is still important.

He noted boaters heading north on the river can travel at full speed before immediately slowing to an idle speed at the park.

He said Pasco would continue to work with city officials on more extensive restrictions.

Times staff writer Stephanie Wang contributed to this report. Lee Logan can be reached at llogan@tampabay.com or (727) 869-6236.

State rejects proposed low-wake zone along Anclote River 09/04/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, September 4, 2012 8:33pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Trigaux: How Moffitt Cancer's M2Gen startup won $75 million from Hearst

    Business

    TAMPA — A Moffitt Cancer Center spin-off that's building a massive genetic data base of individual patient cancer information just caught the attention of a deep-pocketed health care investor.

    Richard P. Malloch is the president of Hearst Business Media, which is announcing a $75 million investment in M2Gen, the for-profit cancer informatics unit spun off by Tampa's Moffitt Cancer Center. Malloch's job is to find innovative investments for the Hearst family fortune. A substantial amount has been invested in health care, financial and the transportation and logistics industries.
  2. A boat lays on its side off the shore of Sainte-Anne on the French Caribbean island of Guadeloupe, early Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017, after the passing of Hurricane Maria. [Dominique Chomereau-Lamotte | Associated Press]
  3. 7.1 magnitude quake kills at least 149, collapses buildings in Mexico

    World

    MEXICO CITY — A magnitude 7.1 earthquake stunned central Mexico on Tuesday, killing at least 149 people as buildings collapsed in plumes of dust. Thousands fled into the streets in panic, and many stayed to help rescue those trapped.

    A woman is lifted on a stretcher from of a building that collapsed during an earthquake in Mexico City, Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017. [Rebecca Blackwell | Associated Press]
  4. FHP seeks semitrailer truck driver that left fiery wreck on I-75

    Accidents

    TAMPA — The Florida Highway Patrol is looking for the driver of a semitrailer truck that sped off from an Interstate 75 crash that left another car burning on Tuesday afternoon.

    Troopers were looking for the driver of a semitrailer truck that sped off from an accident scene on Interstate 75 in Tampa on Tuesday afternoon that caused a car to catch fire. [Courtesy of Florida Highway Patrol]
  5. Joe Maddon gets warm reception in return to the Trop

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The night was arranged to honor former Rays manager Joe Maddon in his first visit back to the Trop, and the standing ovation from the bipartisan crowd and scoreboard video tribute seemed proper acknowledgments of his hefty role in the Rays' success during his nine-year stint.

    Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon (70) talks with reporters during a press conference before the start of the game between the Chicago Cubs and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017.