County replacing coastal channel markers, warning boaters to slow down

HERNANDO COUNTY, Fla. — Speeding boaters are causing big problems along coastal waterways by knocking over channel markers making it dangerous for others on the water.

Channel markers in the water tell boaters where to go but when one gets knocked down it causes a big problem for everyone. 

"It's a lot like a highway and once you run out of the channel markers you’re either going to hit sand or rocks," said Keith Kolasa, director of the Hernando County waterways and marine program.

The posts and signs mark a channel where the water is deeper. Boats use it and so do marine life like dolphins and manatees. 

"They’re supposed to not speed down the channel because there’s so many boaters in the area," said Kolasa.

But some boaters speed anyway or don’t pay attention and end up hitting the channel markers.

"We’ve had a 100 percent increase in the channel markers we’ve had knocked down in the last two years," Kolasa said.

Last 4th of July weekend, five markers were knocked over. On Tuesday county crews replaced three others costing between $1,200 to $2,000 each time.

Workers say boaters should go 25 to 30 m.p.h. in the channels to safely avoid other boaters, marine life, and channel markers.

"If you hit one you’re going to do serious damage to your boat and also injure whoever is in your boat," said Kolasa.

County workers hope boaters are reminded to slow down and pay more attention so everyone stays safe on the water.

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