Everglades National Parks, has notified over 300 registered fishing guides in Everglades National Park that the U.S. Coast Guard plans to remove aids-to-navigation in park waters between Coot Bay and the mouth of the Shark River. The removal of day beacons is scheduled to begin in late August.
The Coast Guard removed fifteen aids-to-navigation in January and this is the second phase of decommissioning. Day beacons will be removed in Coot Bay, Cormorant Pass, Oyster Bay, Little Shark River and the Shark River. Some beacons, however, will remain to mark river entrances.
In early 2014, Everglades National Park received a proposal from the Coast Guard to transfer 67 aids-to-navigation to Everglades National Park. The park proposed a compromise that would remove 30 aids between Coot Bay to near the mouth of the Shark River and two markers at Joe Kemp Channel, transfer the Flamingo Channel aids to the park and leave seven lit aids in Florida Bay under Coast Guard control.
Mike Jester, facility manager for Everglades and Dry Tortugas National Parks said the park’s proposal for the removal of aids was based largely on cost associated with ongoing maintenance that would divert already-scarce funding from other programs. Park staff sought input from registered guides and park partners on its proposal.
The overwhelming majority of experienced guides, such as Tony Polizos, believe that aids-to-navigation are unnecessary. “With today’s GPS, markers are not needed,” he wrote in an email to Jester. “I say use the money wisely in other areas such as education of boaters who use the Everglades.”
According to park staff, the following day beacons soon will be removed: Coot Bay Buoy 3; Cormorant Pass DBN 44; Cormorant Pass DBN 45; Cormorant Pass Buoy 47; Little Shark River DBN 64; Little Shark River DBN 65; Little Shark River DBN 67; Little Shark River DBN 68; Little Shark River DBN 70; Oyster Bay DBN 50; Oyster Bay Buoy 51; Oyster Bay DBN 55; Oyster Bay DBN 57; Oyster Bay DBN 59; Oyster Bay DBN 62.
More information about Everglades National Park can be found on the park website at www.nps.gov/ever.