As Tropical Storm Fay continues to sweep across the state, flooding brought on by days of rain is the primary concern. As the storm heads west, more flooding is likely in the Panhandle.
Some ponds, lakes, creeks, rivers, canals and other bodies of water and waterways probably will swell beyond normal water levels.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is urging boaters to be watchful of hazards that may exist just below the surface of the water once the storm passes.
What is above the water now, prior to Fay, may be covered with water after the storm’s anticipated torrential rain. Objects such as tree trunks, docks, pilings, markers, telephone and electrical wires may be submerged and not obvious to boat operators.
In addition, branches, deck furniture, boat gear or any number of objects may drop or blow into the water. Muddy waters, which will be likely after the storm, also may conceal debris and other hazards.
The FWC said striking a submerged object can cause great damage to a boat and even be life-threatening.
Also, the FWC is cautioning boaters to be alert for overhanging tree snags, telephone and electrical lines and other objects boaters may encounter.
If the conditions are extremely hazardous the FWC, in conjunction with local, federal and other state agencies, may close a portion of a waterway to prevent death, injuries or property damage. In some cases, the FWC will restrict vessel operation to idle-speed, no-wake so boaters can adequately assess the situation and avoid dangers.
Vessel operation at speeds greater than idle-speed, no-wake can endanger people in or near the river where shorelines have become unstable and unfamiliar. Shorelines and property on shorelines already buffeted by Fay’s winds and resulting waves may be damaged further by a boat’s wake