Columbus Day Regatta will not be affected by gov't shutdown
MIAMI (WSVN) -- Officials have made some concessions to the government shutdown that nearly sunk a holiday tradition.
Biscayne National Park official Brian Carlstrom said, "For any activities that occur related to Columbus Day weekend, the park is closed."
To be clear: Biscayne National Park is closed. The visitor's center, convoy point, the picnic grounds, the canoe launch, the walking trail and the Black Point Jetty, are all closed. All the islands: Boca Chita, Elliott and Adams Keys, also closed.
Carlstrom said, "There are some notable exceptions to this, boats are safe to travel through the park on an intracoastal waterway. They can seek safe harbor within the park, and the park is open to fishing. We have a whole host of partners here to help keep anybody that should come into the park as safe as possible. They may be cited for trespassing. The park is closed."
That's the effect of the government shutdown, but authorities know boaters still want to set sail during Columbus Day weekend. "Our mission in the Biscayne National Park will be to keep boaters safe and secure and make sure everybody makes it back home. If they're posing no danger to themselves or others, we will not be telling them to leave," said U.S. Coast Guard Lt. Mike Ortiz.
The Columbus Day Regatta will not be affected because it does not go into the park. Boaters should beware that they do not drift into the race course.
Authorities want you to have fun, but of course they want you to be safe, so in case you forgot, here are some safety tips to remind you. "Make sure they have all safety equipment on board, a serviceable life vest readily accessible for everyone that is going to be on your boat. Make sure that you have flares, fire extinguishers. Make sure that you have a means of communication that you can call in case you have an emergency," said Jorge Pino spokesperson for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation.
Law enforcement officials said, regardless of wherever people choose to congregate, they will make sure they are close by for any emergency situations.
(Copyright 2013 by Sunbeam Television Corp. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)