Lake Earl in Fort Walton Beach could get a “Slow Speed Minimum Wake” zone

Okaloosa County is planning to establish a ‘Slow Speed Minimum Wake Boating Safety Zone‘ in Lake Earl in Fort Walton Beach.

The entrance to Lake Earl is less than 50ft wide. A memo to the Commissioners states that vessels traveling at high rates of speed pose a significant hazard to property and safety within the water body.

A detailed census of all the county’s Boating Safety Zone waterway markers was conducted in the fall of 2020.

  • The purpose of the census was to determine where the current signs existed and what signs need to be repaired, replaced or formally established.

In spring 2021, the County was contacted by citizens in the Lake Earl community regarding increased vessel traffic and vessels traveling at high speed in Lake Earl.

The concerned citizens noted Lake Earl historically had “Slow Speed Minimum Wake” signs posted prior to the storm season. However, County staff could not find where these signs were permitted or supported by a County ordinance.

  • In order to be replaced, the County has to establish an ordinance along with the application to the FWC.

But before the safety zone can be established, the County will have to advertise a public meeting on the issue. Details on that meeting have not yet been determined.

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