With an ever-increasing population of boaters and limited boating access sites, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) has been challenged with providing enough sites for boaters to get their boats into the water. Last month, the agency earned recognition for outstanding efforts in meeting this challenge by winning the Boating Access Program Excellence Award for 2008.
The FWC brought home the award from the States Organization for Boating Access (SOBA) annual conference in Norfolk, Va. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recommended the FWC for SOBA's boating access program award because of its leadership in addressing the challenges of providing and maintaining boating access in a highly urbanized and ecologically sensitive environment.
"We are honored to receive this award," Pat Harrell, boating access coordinator for FWC's Boating and Waterways Section said. "We couldn't have had this success without the help of the many state, federal and local partners we work with."
Currently, the state manages and controls more than 250 boat ramps that provide access to freshwater, intra-coastal waterways and marine environments. The FWC, in partnership with other state agencies, has replaced or constructed new ramps and built or expanded public marinas. Six new sites also are in the planning stages.
More than 1 million registered boats (more than any other state) actively ply Florida waters. Experts estimate the number of trailered boats vying for existing boat ramps will double -- along with the human population -- from about 900,000 boats on trailers to nearly 1.8 million by 2060.
To learn more about this and other outdoor recreational issues, visit MyFWC.com/Wildlife2060.
To learn more about boating access sites and other boating and waterway issues, visit MyFWC.com/boating/.