Life in Florida for students can be fun and challenging as they work in the 180 days a year allocated for school curriculum and activities; one facet of life living in a peninsular state which requires some tutoring beyond the regular school day is water safety which while in Florida, should be available to everyone. Students in Pre-K through 5th grade at Savanna Ridge Elementary recently participated in a learning while having fun presentation on “Water Safety” by presenters Bill and Jamie Wagner who brought along their special assistant “Bobber, the Water Safety Dog" from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The group shared with the students the importance of water safety skills through cartoon videos, lecturing and interactive Q & A.
The visiting “Water Safety” group emphasized learning to swim, to always wear a life jacket while swimming and boating, to always swim with a Buddy, when and where it is safe to dive, how to help someone that is in danger of drowning without endangering yourself, and to only swim when there is adult supervision. Physical Education Instructors Coach Eshleman and Coach Grant indicated that they will follow through with students in their P.E. classes, emphasizing the important tips on water safety to ensure that students are safe in the swimming pools, waterways and beaches throughout the Sunshine State of Florida.
Water Safety is important to Floridians as not only citizens of the Sunshine State participate in activities on the waterways and beaches, but visitors from across the U.S.A. and around the globe enjoy the magnificent waters throughout Florida and its coastlines. It is legend that Ponce De Leon discovered the fountain of youth in Florida on the east coast around St. Augustine in St. John’s County (See list below of interesting facts about “Florida Waterways”, one of the many under explored wonders of the world).
REF: Lucie Links Newsletter (SLCSD) April 2014
The Cross Florida Barge Canal
The Cross Florida Barge Canal was a canal project to connect the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean across Florida for barge traffic. Two sections were built but the project was cancelled, mainly for environmental reasons. It is now a protected green belt corridor, one mile wide in most places. Named after the leader in the opposition against the canal, Marjorie Harris Carr, it is known as the Marjorie Harris Carr Cross Florida Greenway.
The planned route of the canal followed the St. Johns River from the Atlantic coast to Palatka, the valley of the Ocklawaha River to the coastal divide, and the Withlacoochee River to the Gulf of Mexico. About 28% of the 107-mile project was built—the cross-country section from the St. Johns River to the Ocklawaha River, part of the route along the Ocklawaha, and a small section at the Gulf of Mexico end up to the dammed Lake Rousseau. All the bridges over the St. Johns River north of the canal are high enough for ships, or have movable sections. High bridges were built over the canal, as well as several over the Ocklawaha River where it was not widened to the canal.
REF: Florida Nature: Intracoastal Waterway
Florida's Intracoastal Waterway
Florida's Intracoastal Waterway system runs along the Sunshine State, providing boaters with extraordinary ports of call. The Intracoastal Waterway is a 3,000-mile waterway along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts of the United States. Some lengths consist of natural inlets, salt-water rivers, bays, and sounds; others are man-made canals. The Florida Intracoastal Waterway system provides a navigable route along its length without many of the hazards of travel on the open sea.
The creation of the Intracoastal Waterway was authorized by the United States Congress in 1919, and is maintained by the United States Army Corps of Engineers. The waterway consists of two non-contiguous segments: the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway, extending from Brownsville, Texas to Carrabelle, Florida, and the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway, extending from Key West, Florida
The Intracoastal Waterway
The Intracoastal Waterway has a good deal of commercial activity; barges haul petroleum, petroleum products, foodstuffs, building materials, and manufactured goods. It is also used extensively by recreational boaters. On the east coast, some of the traffic in fall and spring is by snowbirds who regularly move south in winter and north in summer. The waterway is also used when the ocean is too rough to travel on. Numerous inlets connect the Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico with the Intracoastal Waterway. The Intracoastal Waterway from Fort Myers to Longboat Key is a favorite destination for visiting sailors and fishermen alike.
The waters from Fort Myers through Pine Island Sound and Charlotte Harbor have to be one of the most diverse boating and fishing locations anywhere in the world. Pine Island Sound is bounded on the west by Sanibel, Captiva and North Captiva Islands. Hundreds of islands dot the Sound; redfish, snook, pompano and speckled trout delight the patient angler. To the east, Pine Island's mangrove shorelines, tidal creeks and oyster bars still resist the crush of development. Explore Matlacha, Pineland and Bokeelia for a taste of the real Florida, where Calusa Indians farmed and fished 1,000 years ago.
Cayo Costa State Park
Further north in Charlotte Harbor sits Cayo Costa State Park, a spectacular wild and scenic gulf coast island accessible only by boat. Nature trails, safe harbors, cabins, tent sites, hiking and biking trails and miles of deserted beaches make this a must-see location. The Intracoastal runs along the eastern shore of Cayo Costa before heading inland at Boca Grande Pass, "Tarpon Capital of the World."
At the southern end of this section of the Intracoastal sailors pass through Card Sound before reaching Key Largo, the first island in the famous Florida Keys chain. The largest of the Keys, Key Largo is famous for its diving and fishing. John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, the nation's first underwater park, is the crown jewel of the area.