In response to the coronavirus pandemic, additional guidelines are in effect. Please review when planning boating activity.
Boat Operation Rules
FIU Boating Policy is set by the Boating Safety Committee, covering all boating activity done under the auspices of FIU. Read the overview of the Boating Safety Program and requirements. Detailed information on the Boating Safety Program can be found on the Division of Research website. On that page can be found the current Boating Safety Manual, an online float plan link, as well as a Vessel Safety Checklist. Should there be difficulty with the online float plan, there is also a PDF float plan that can be filled out and emailed to the Boating Safety Officer and your onshore contacts.
- For diving operations, an additional crew chief must remain aboard at all times. FIU Diving and boating safety rules must be obeyed at all times. See FIU's Dive Safety Program website for diving rules and all information needed for scientific diving.
- FIU boats & trucks must be returned fully refueled. Fueling can be done at BBC Vehicle Services, via the automated fuel pumps.
- All boats/trucks must be returned cleaned, any debris removed, and boats washed down with freshwater. Failure may result in a ban from future use.
- Boat keys must be checked back in the morning after return.
Nautical Charts - Free US nautical charts from NOAA. Available as raster charts (RNC) and vector electronic charts (ENC) for use with charting software. Also as downloadable pdf's. Paper copies are available from chart agents.
OpenCPN - Free chart plotter and navigation software. Can be used on PC or Mac's. Useful for planning at your desk, or using underway in conjunction with a USB GPS puck. This program works with the free NOAA RNC and ENC charts. Tide and current information can also be accessed for reference stations within a charted area.
United States Coast Pilot - Published in 9 Volumes, the Coast Pilot contains detailed information about channel descriptions, bridges, currents, dangers, routes, etc. for the US coast. Coast Pilot 4 covers the east coast from Cape Henry, VA, to Key West, FL. Coast Pilot 5 covers the Gulf side, from Key West to the Rio Grande, including Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.
US Aids To Navigation System booklet. A nifty little booklet explaining the basics of navigation markers (ATONs) in US waters, along with some basic right away and safety information. A free paper copy can also be obtained from members of the Coast Guard Auxiliary.
Local Notice to Mariners. Published weekly by the US Coast Guard for each "District", this provides the latest updates of missing, damaged, and moved ATONs. Also reported shoaling, dredge operations, restricted areas, and other information affecting navigation in the covered area that changes in between chart publication dates. For Florida waters, we are in District 7.
Tide and Currents
The WWW Tide/Current Predictions from the University of South Carolina is my favorite site for online tide predictions. Not only an exhaustive list of locations for tide predictions, but the tide predictions can be displayed and printed in a number of useful formats, including a monthly calendar. Current predictions are also available on this site, however, the selection of prediction sites is somewhat limited.
NOAA's NOAA Tide and Current Predictions. An exhaustive list of tide and current predictions. This is the best source of online current prediction date. From this site, a substantial amount of both historical data and educational material can be sourced.
Naval Research Laboratory Ocean Modeling. Real-time 1/12° Global HYCOM Nowcast/Forecast System providing Sea Surface Temperature, Current Speeds, Sea Surface Heights and Sea Surface Salinity images. Covering the world's oceans, these are available as one-day snapshots, last-30-day animated gifs, last-12-month gifs and yearly movies.