In September 2019, the Miami-Dade County Board of County Commissioners (BCC) passed Ordinance 19-75, which established “slow speed, minimum wake zones and vessel exclusion zones for certain parts of the C-100, C-100A, C-100B, and C-100C canals east of State Road 5/U.S. 1.” The majority of the area mentioned in the Ordinance’s language falls within the responsibilities of the Palmetto Bay Municipal District (PBMD). As a result, the PBMD implemented the Marine Operations Unit (MOU) as part of its day-to-day responsibilities to the Village’s residents and visitors.
The primary goal of the PBMD is to ensure the safety of those persons using the inland waterways within the Village’s boundaries by conducting maritime patrols throughout the C-100 canal system. Drainage canals are operated by flood control systems, which when opened can create a sudden change in the canal’s water elevation, as well as strong currents that may not be visible on the water’s surface. The current can catch swimmers, boaters, and those on kayaks or paddle boards by surprise. The undertow can create strong force to pull them under. In addition, most rights-of-way do not have protective barriers and banks may give way due to soft sandy soil and rocks below. If a person is in the water, it may be difficult to climb out due to the steep slopes on the banks. The PBMD wants to ensure water and boat safety in all areas of the canal system but specifically, the parks and lakes, which attract high concentration of visitors during summer months. Starting Saturday, May 20th through Sunday August 13, 2023, the PBMD will conduct high visibility patrols, investigate boating accidents, respond to distress calls, conduct vessel safety and equipment checks, while enforcing marine laws and ordinances, within the waterway. The MOU will operate throughout the year on a varied schedule, as dictated by weather and water conditions, or as deemed appropriate by the Village Commander or her designee.
Obey Canal Speed Limits
Canals are a lovely part of our Village scenery, but they need our help to stay that way. While motorboats are allowed on Palmetto Bay’s canals, they must adhere to rules and regulations just like vehicles on a road. Motorized vessels traveling at excessive speeds are a danger to people and wildlife, and they also erode shoreline property and can damage bulkheads, seawalls, docks, and piers.
In the past, there has been some confusion regarding speed zones in the C-100 canal. The Miami-Dade County Commission has recently clarified the matter, with Section 7-26 (j) of the Code of Miami-Dade County stating:
“No person shall operate a motorboat, or permit, allow, or suffer a motorboat to be operated, in the Slow Speed, Minimum Wake Zones of the C-100 Canal East Waterways at any speed greater than slow speed, minimum wake.
The Slow Speed, Minimum Wake Zones of the C-100 Canal East Waterways are hereby established to be all waters except those identified in exhibit 1 as Vessel Exclusion Zones or Normal Speed Zones.”
According to the ordinance and its accompanying map, the entire C-100 waterway is designated as a Slow Speed, Minimum Wake Zone. The only areas designated as Normal Speed Zones are Tanglewood Lake on the south side of SW 136 Street, within Palmetto Bay’s boundaries, and Lake Sheldon on the north side of SW 136 Street, within Pinecrest’s boundaries.
Let’s all do our part to preserve Palmetto Bay’s natural resources for generations to come! Respecting and protecting our canals is everyone's responsibility!