Okaloosa County authorities warn boats that broken FADs are loose in the Gulf

Okaloosa County, Florida (WKRG) — According to the Okaloosa County Tourism Board, two Fish Aggregation Devices (FADs) are broken in the Gulf of Mexico and boaters looking for a place to tie up should avoid them.

Alex Fogg, Coastal Resource Manager, said FAD6 was disbanded on October 4, 2021. The second FAD5 disbanded near the end of 2021.

FAD is a huge buoy structure 60-80 miles offshore that attracts large game fish such as mahi mahi, marlin and tuna. This helps anglers and charter captains find places to fish without searching for hundreds of miles.

FAD does not mean a ship’s mooring buoys, and the Coast Resource team encourages boaters to stop being tied to them to prevent future damage.

Walter Marine’s crew at Gulf Shores, Alabama was able to identify and assess the damage to the first buoy on October 7.

According to Fogg, the FAD6 line was 900 feet down. The buoy was placed in 1,700 feet of water. A Taylor Engineering crew inspected the FAD6 and found the mooring rubbing, burning the line.

Multiple dock lines were still attached to the buoy, indicating the presence of vessels restrained by FAD.

According to Taylor Engineering’s assessment, the mooring damage was caused by friction. Adding ships at the top will increase the work on those lines. It may not break at first, but it may break over time.

According to Fogg, the FAD5 broke 100 feet away.

Taylor Engineering said the FAD6 could be redeployed once repairs were made. The Coastal Resources Department does not have a time frame for when to return to water.

Details of FAD:

Destin-Fort Walton Beach marks the first place in the Americas with the FAD system. In August 2011, four were placed on the Gulf. Currently, there are eight FADs offshore in this department.

According to Okaloosa County, the FAD is equipped with a real-time meteorological station for accurate reporting.

For more information on the Emerald Coast FAD and Artificial Reef Program click here. Okaloosa County authorities warn boats that broken FADs are loose in the Gulf

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