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Fort Walton Beach, FL, host this cruise. This one-design event, open to all Catalina 22 sailors, attracts participants from across the country and Canada.  The one-week cruise starts at the Fort Walton Yacht Club, sails the protective waterways of the ICW, crossing Choctawhatchee Bay, Pensacola Bay and Perdido Bay to arrive at Bear Point Marina, Orange Beach, AL, and return.  Go to http://, or contact Chief Yeoman McKenzie at, for information.


Okeechobee Water Level Essentially the Same Since February As of press date in early March, Lake Okeechobee is at 14.10 feet above sea level, decreasing a few inches since February. This makes the navigational depth for Route 1, which crosses the lake, 8.04 feet, and the navigational depth for Route 2, which goes around the southern coast of the lake, 6.24 feet. Bridge clearance at Myakka was at 49.61 feet. For those interested in seeing the daily height of the lake, navigation route depths and bridge clearance, go to mil/h2o/currentLL.shtml (copy this address exactly as it is here with upper and lower cases). This link is also available on our website,

Replicas Nina and Pinta Visit Southern Ports for Tours, March through May Replicas of Columbus ships, the Nina and the Pinta, will be visiting southern ports this spring and will be available for self-guided tours and guided group tours. Teachers and organizations can set up tours with a crewmember from one

News & Views for Southern Sailors

of the boats as a guide. Their schedule is: March 29-April 3 Punta Gorda, FL April 5-14 Palmetto, FL April 24-28 Demopolis, AL May 1-5 Columbus, MS May 8-13 Iuka, MS For more information, go to email

Fisherman’s Village Regatta Pointe Marina Demopolis Yacht Basin Columbus Marina Grand Harbor Marina, or

BP Funding for Recreational Boating Troy Gilbert Seemingly forgotten in the wake of the BP oil spill were the recreational boaters and fishermen who experienced a lost season along the northern Gulf Coast. With bays, inlets, ramps and marinas closed and boomed off in 2010, coastal towns that rely more on recreational boating or fishing as opposed to commercial fishing experienced loss as did everyone along the Gulf. In an interesting precedent, this recreational “human loss” is being acknowledged and compensated, perhaps on a very large scale financially. With 160 studies currently underway under a program titled the National Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA), this program’s goal is to determine the direct and indirect losses suffered to the environment, the economy, commercial fisheries and human loss. These studies and its board of trustees, consisting of representatives from Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida and multiple agencies of the federal government, will have heavy influence in directing the expected billions of dollars in federal fines BP will pay. The majority of these fines will go directly to rebuilding marsh, coastal dunes, bird habitats and fisheries. However, BP and the trustees have recently acknowledged and set a precedent regarding recreational boating. Funded by a vol-


April 2013


Profile for SOUTHWINDS Magazine