Scallop season is off to a great start and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) wants to remind scallopers to use a divers-down warning device whether they are snorkeling or scuba diving while searching for scallops.
According to FWC, all divers must display a drivers-down device around the area where the diving occurs. Capt. Tom Shipp of FWC’s Boating and Waterways Section indicated, “displaying and understanding what constitutes a proper divers-down symbol are critical.” The bottom line to use these safety devices is to alert boaters of the presence of people under the water and to give them space to enjoy this summertime fun outdoor activity. When divers or snorkelers exit the water, the divers-down symbol must be taken down.
In general, FWC requires that all vessels stay at least 100 feet away from a divers-down device within a channel, inlet or river. In open waters, it is recommended that all vessels stay 300 feet. In addition, recreational scallopers are required to have a current Florida saltwater fishing license to collect scallops. There are some exceptions listed in FWC website (http://myfwc.county/). Harvesting is allowed from the west bank of the Mexico Beach Canal (in Bay County) to the Pasco-Hernando county line (near Aripeka). Before planning your trip, be sure to check specific locations, bag limits, and season dates. Please visit the FWC website for general information.
We at Blue Pelican Marina will be pleased to answer any questions regarding the best scalloping areas in Hernando County and all your boating needs while planning your next scallop experience…from the boat to your plate.