We are having visitors to VB next week and one family member who has never sailed with me wants to go out. I explained that it is a two hour trip to the Ft. Pierce Inlet, and two hours back. If the weather permits, we can spend some time day sailing in the Atlantic. Now I don’t know how strong everyone’s sea legs are, but at the first sign of sea sickness we are heading back inside.
What most people do not understand is you don’t just get onboard and go for a ride. I had to put the furling jib back on because I had it off for hurricane season. I made sure all batteries and jump start systems were fully charged. I checked out the engine and every thing seems OK at the dock. I checked jib halyard, jib sheets, out haul lines, reef lines, furling lines, and traveler lines. I also relabeled all snap blocks. Checked the weather forecast and it is iffy but I will be ready to go. I also had scheduled the yearly engine maintenance for next week but I can put this off for a few days.
Next, I will need to stock provisions for a day sail. One thing I will not do is drink alcoholic beverages while sailing. When you check Florida statistics, a large number of boating accidents are alcohol related. There will be a lot of boat traffic on the Inter coastal Waterway because many boaters who were down for the winter are starting to head back North.
In addition, once we are onboard I have a four page pre-sail check list I will have to go through with the crew. Make sure crew understands how to use the VHF radio in case of emergency is just one item on the check list.
All people are encouraged to follow the recommendations provided by the Department of Health:
People, especially those with respiratory issues, are encouraged to stay away from the beaches if possible until further notice. Persons may experience throat irritation and/or coughing if directly exposed to Red Tide.
Higher wind or tides can spread Red Tide more quickly.
Dead fish are not to be eaten! Be cautious with any fish caught from the southeastern coast of Florida.
Do not consume shellfish of any kind caught in this area until the Red Tide passes.
The Indian River County Emergency Information Center is open to take your questions from 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. today. Please call 772-226-4000.
For general information on harmful algal blooms occurring in Florida and current status reports by the state, please visit these links:
The Red Tide is still present in Indian River County and cleanup operations are in effect. All of the beaches in our county remain closed. The image below shows where the cleanup operations are taking place. On the Indian River County beaches, the toxic effects of Red Tide has mostly been fish kill and the clean up contractor will remove 10-15,000 lbs of dead fish off the beaches per day.
With a continuing East wind, Red Tide is expected to linger on our beaches for more days!
There are numerous microscopic algae in the ocean and they are essential components to ocean life but when they are supplied with excess nutrients, they multiply uncontrollably, and can become an unwanted toxic mass commonly called a “red tide” or harmful algal blooms. (HAB)
What Causes Red Tide?
This is still being investigated but some marine scientist believe the up welling of nutrients from the sea floor from massive storms is most likely the cause of these events.
Dinoflagellates are major producers of oxygen in the ocean (and freshwater). But some species can grow out of control, causing a red tide.(2004 Smithsonian Institution)
For a more detailed and reference filled description of red tide see Wikipedia:
Most safety conscience boaters will advise you to file a float plan when you are venturing out on the water. You will need a float plan when YOU want people to know where you plan to sail and you will need a float plan when PEOPLE need to locate you while you are sailing. You should leave a copy of a written float plan with your marina, and friend(s) or relative(s).
There are several online Float Plans available in various formats and within each plan there are instructions to follow in case of an overdue boater. Here are links to a few: