The Plantation Yacht Harbor Marina Boat Ramp at Founders Park will now be open on weekends. The public is welcome to use the boat ramp from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays beginning October 21.
The ramp remains open only to Islamorada fishing guides Monday through Friday.
Visitors to the park and boat ramp are advised to be cautious while driving through Founders Park as the park continues to be used as a staging/grinding area for hurricane debris and debris trucks drive through the park frequently.
Other Founders Park News:
The baseball field has been added to the Founders Park amenities that are open to the public Monday, Wednesday and Friday evenings from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Also open during the limited hours are the pool, tennis courts, basketball courts and fitness park with the pickleball court.
Everyone is invited to a Halloween Party at the Ron Levy Aquatic Center on Friday, Oct. 27, from 7 to 9 p.m. Activities include a Haunted Slip-N-Slide, Best Halloween Mask Contest, games and lots of treats. Aquatic Center fees apply. Contact the Founders Park and Recreation Department at 305-853-1685 for more information.
The Halloween event is open to the public. In accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, all persons who are disabled and who need special accommodation to participate in the event because of a disability should contact the ADA Coordinator at ADA@islamorada.fl.us or 305-664-6448 at least 48 hours before a scheduled event.
Response crews from the U.S. Coast Guard, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, and the Environmental Protection Agency are managing vessel recovery operations in the Keys with a priority on vessels that are leaking fuel or hazardous materials.
As of Oct. 15, crews have recovered 589 vessels in Monroe County. The Coast Guard hotline to notify them about a vessel that needs to be recovered or to inquire whether they have recovered your vessel is 305-985-3744.
The program, which is overseen by the USCG is a part of the FEMA-funded effort to recover sunken and displaced vessels from the waters of Monroe County.
The Florida Unified Command that includes the U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is providing a service for boat owners allowing them to relinquish ownership of their damaged vessel to facilitate a quicker response to pollution and safety concerns in the wake of Hurricane Irma.
Owners of displaced vessels who lack the resources to have their boat repaired or if their vessel is determined to be beyond repair, may hand over ownership of their vessel through a waiver provided by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, available through the Vessel Removal Hotline at 305-985-3744.
“If a vessel owner knows that they do not have the financial means to take responsibility for their vessel and would like to turn over their ownership, completing the waiver allows the FWC to quickly dispose of it for them,” said FWC Capt. Jay Marvin, State On-Scene Coordinator. “Eliminating the time to salvage and then store a vessel when the owner does not want to recover it will enable us to remove vessels more quickly from Florida’s waterways.”
The waiver process can be initiated by contacting FWC through the Vessel Removal Hotline and requesting to turn over a displaced vessel. An FWC representative will then contact the owner to explain the waiver process and facilitate the turnover of ownership.
As the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary strives to assess impacts from Hurricane Irma, the public is asked to help by reporting conditions on and in the water. The observations will assist sanctuary staff in responding to immediate concerns and developing short- and long-term management actions.
First and foremost, be careful of on-water and underwater hazards when boating, diving and snorkeling. Water depths have changed in many areas and visibility may be impaired.
To share observations about the sanctuary’s natural resources, use the online reporting tool for the Mote Marine Laboratories Community-Based Observations of Coastal Ecosystems and Assessment Network (C-OCEAN):
Hurricane Irma’s churning seas damaged and displaced buoys that mark areas with specific regulations, assist with navigation and provide information.
Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary is asking boaters to report damaged or missing lines, missing buoys and found buoys to 305-852-7717 from Key Largo to Marathon and 305-809-4727 for Marathon through Key West and the Dry Tortugas.
Yellow, 30-inch diameter buoys mark zones such as Sanctuary Preservation Areas, Ecological Reserves and Special-Use Research Only Areas. Spar buoys are cylindrical, tall and white with orange markings for Wildlife Management Areas and sites on the Shipwreck Trail.
The nearly 500 mooring buoys in the sanctuary are 18 inches in diameter with a blue stripe. They provide an alternative to anchoring, which can damage the coral reef. Anchoring is prohibited on coral in waters less than 40 feet deep and when the bottom is visible.
Hurricane Irma survivors whose primary residence was a boat may be eligible for grants through FEMA’s Individual Assistance program for home repair. The grants could be used for making the boat livable, temporary housing, personal property replacement and other needs or critical expenses.
Individuals who live on houseboats may also be eligible for FEMA’s Transitional Sheltering Assistance or short-term lodging assistance, if they are unable to return to their home due to the hurricane. For more information, contact the FEMA helpline at 800-621-3362 (Voice, 711 or VS) or 800-462-7585 (TTY).
In addition, if your primary residence was a boat, you may be eligible to apply for a Small Business Administration disaster home loan. Homeowners may be eligible for up to $200,000 to repair or replace a disaster damaged home, and may be eligible for loans up to $40,000, to repair or replace disaster damaged personal property such as clothing, furniture, appliances, cars, etc.