Dive Flag Awareness Week: Gov. Charlie Crist has proclaimed June 27-July 3 as Dive Flag Awareness Week. "It's time folks pay attention to what a divers-down flag means and to 'steer clear,' and divers need to make sure they present their flags according to the laws," said Lt. David Bingham, a state Fish and Wildlife Commission watch commander. A divers-down flag is red with a white diagonal stripe, at least 20 inches by 24 inches, and flown at a high point, observable 360 degrees around a vessel. A divers-down flag towed on a float must be at least 12 inches by 12 inches. Both flags must have stiffeners to hold them open. All vessels must make a reasonable effort to stay at least 300 feet away from the flags in open water or 100 feet away within a river, inlet or channel. Within those prescribed distances, a vessel may operate but must be at idle speed. For more, go to myfwc.com.
During Dive Flag Awareness Week, enforcement details will be expanded around the state with radar guns, and they will issue warnings and citations. "With bay scallop and spiny lobster season just around the corner, we really want to emphasize the importance of engaging all safety precautions." Bingham said. "If you're diving, display a flag. If you're boating, look for the flag."
Treasure Island 2 Artificial: The big upright shrimper in 100 feet west of John's Pass had 30-foot visibility this week. Intact with 36 feet of relief, it attracted lots of amberjacks. A ledge in 85 feet produced our first American red snapper of the season.
Chad Carney teaches diving and spearfishing in the Tampa Bay area. Visit his Web site at floridaskindiver.com or call (727) 423-7775.