Posted Tuesday, July 23, 2013
MIAMI — The Coast Guard is reminding the diving and boating community to be safe this lobster mini-season, which begins at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday and ends at midnight Thursday.
The lobster mini-season brings a significant increase in the number of boaters and divers in Florida's coastal waters, which can also lead to an increase in accidents.
Safety tips to remember before and during a dive:
*Check your dive gear before your dive and monitor your air during your dive.
*Do practice dives before the season starts. Use the preseason time to refresh your skills and improve your fitness. Remember that an underwater hunt is more stressful than a recreational dive.
*Do not dive outside your physical capabilities.
*Ensure you have a dive plan and are diving with a buddy.
*File a float plan with a family member or a nearby marina. Stick to a time frame while diving and let someone know if it changes.
*Ensure you are wearing reflective material on your dive suit.
*Mark the area in which you are diving with a dive flag and a light.
*While piloting a boat, stay aware of your surroundings. Remember divers can get separated from their flags and boats.
Remember, taking all the basic safety precautions will facilitate an increased chance of helping or finding a diver in the event Coast Guard assistance is needed.
Personnel from the Coast Guard, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and other agencies will patrol the waters surrounding south Florida to ensure compliance with federal and state regulations.
Prohibitions: Harvest of lobster is prohibited in John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park during the sport season. Harvest is also prohibited during both the two-day sport season and regular season in Everglades National Park, Dry Tortugas National Park, and no-take areas in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.
For more information on Florida Regulations regarding lobster season: http://myfwc.com/fishing/saltwater/recreational/lobster/