After Hurricane Irma caused sandbars to shift and waterways to change in South Florida, marine companies are launching an effort to remap marine and inland waterways affected by the storm to improve boating safety.
When the hurricane passed through on Sept. 10, some marine resources were affected. Shorelines and bottom contours also changed, and some debris remains in waterways.
The monthlong event, which relies on boater feedback, is set to kick off Jan. 19.
Partners include Costa Del Mar; The Florida Keys and Key West tourism council; Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary; Hawks Cay Resort; Hell’s Bay Boatworks; Navionics; the Naples, Marco Island, Everglades Convention and Visitors Bureau; Okuma; Power Pole; Sea Tow; West Marine; Yamaha; Yeti Coolers; and Yo-Zuri.
Boaters who want to participate are invited to record their sonar logs and upload data to Navionics, one of the participating companies, as well as add marine debris locations throughout South Florida.
Boaters can record sonar logs on their plotter, then send them to Navionics via Wi-Fi or upload the logs from the plotter card, using a computer. Depth data can also be shared through the SonarChart Live feature, which creates maps in real time. The depth data will be processed and made available as an updated SonarChartTM 1-foot HD bathymetry map, according to Navionics.
Participants are also encouraged to mark debris areas using the Community Edits tool of the Navionics Boating app, allowing mariners to be aware of potential hazards.
Navionics will share the debris locations with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, who will then have it physically removed.
Navionics Nautical Chart will also be updated to include coastline corrections, Notices to Mariners, and the integration of future NOAA Chart editions when issued.
The new content will be available as daily updates, easy to download for plotter and mobile, and directly visible on the Navionics website for anyone to see.
Participants who send in sonar logs of the affected area by Feb. 20 will receive one year of daily updates for their plotter card, a $99 value, which includes access to all local chart updates resulting from this event.
They will also be entered into a drawing for a variety of boating-related giveaways donated by many of the event partners.
Starting Jan. 4, 2018, complete event information, sonar logging and uploading instructions, and official rules will be available on the Navionics website and at participating West Marine locations in South Florida.