Sea Tow Offers Free automated Radio check
Sea Tow Tampa Bay is providing boaters with a 24/7 automated radio check service on VHF Ch. 27. The service is unique in that it does not require the response of other boaters or watch standers, nor does it require special equipment. This free service is available through Sea Tow's ongoing partnership with MariTEL. To conduct an automated radio check, turn a VHF radio to Ch. 27, key the microphone, and ask for a radio check, just as you would on any other channel. The system will respond with an automated reply and replay your original radio transmission, letting you know how well your radio is working. Many boaters do radio checks on Ch. 16, the hailing and distress channel, which causes a safety issue and is a violation of the Communications Act. Often, distress calls to the Coast Guard are interrupted by radio checks or other nonessential transmissions.
Red snapper catch to get close look
While the gulf red snapper season will still open June 1, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the NOAA Fisheries Service has beefed up its efforts to collect species data in light of the oil spill. Workers will survey gulf charter boat catches each week during the 53-day season to see if catch rates are lower than previously anticipated. If so, state and federal fisheries managers could use that information to determine if the season should be extended or if an additional period of harvest can be allowed later in the year.
Alstott event halted
The Mike Alstott Family Foundation fishing event, originally set for May 30, has been postponed indefinitely due to the oil spill.
Check it out
Mermaids drop in Florida Aquarium
Mermaids from Weeki Wachee will appear at the Florida Aquarium in Tampa on Saturday and Sunday and again May 29-30 as part of the aquarium's 15th anniversary. They will be at the coral reef exhibit for 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. shows.
Rodney Page, Times staff writer