Boating

What better way to spend a warm, sunny Florida day than boating through some of the state's most beautiful waterways? The Suwannee River flows just minutes away from Chiefland and provides a great boating opportunity for water-lovers. Boats of just about any size, from a jet ski to pontoon boat, can traverse this immaculate river.

River depths range from 7 feet to 55 feet. Take in the magnificent, pristine natural scenery: marshes, majestic cypress and tidally flooded hardwood forests.

Be sure to visit Manatee Springs and utilize their boat ramps, located just outside the park. Boat on up the river to Fanning Springs next for a refreshing swim in the spring. There is a variety of boat ramps in the area both saltwater and freshwater. Watch for Manatees here, the gentle, vegetarian marine mammals, apple snails, and salamanders. For only a small fee you may tie your boat or canoe up and enjoy a dip in the crystal clean spring.

Boating Safety Guidelines:

• Always let someone know where you're going and expected return time.
• Observe the speed zones established for manatee safety.
• Always try to stay on established channels; watch your depth and running speed to avoid prop dredging and/or sea    grass damage.
• Always be aware of tides and weather.
• Use caution in high-use areas and be aware of what's going on around you.
• Never launch a boat before checking equipment, lifesaving devices, and navigational/communication aids.
• Do not consume alcohol or drugs while operating a boat.
• Observe operational and boating right-of-way rules (Take a Boater's Safety Course for information).
• Minimize your wake near shorelines and other boats: waves erode shorelines and stir sediment that impairs sea grass    growth/survival.
• Never empty bilge water, holding tank waste, and fuels/oils into waterways.
• Always clear your boat, motor, and props of vegetation to avoid spreading hydrilla, hyacinths, and other nuisance    plants into other water bodies.
• Do Not Litter. Bring a trash bag with you and recycle whenever possible.

For an even greater natural experience, rent a canoe or kayak to travel up and down the Suwannee River, and through Manatee Springs and Fanning Springs. Explore where other boaters cannot, down the more narrow channels and tributaries and witness Nature in all her tranquility. Follow these safety guidelines to make the most of this experience:

• Always let someone know where you're going and expected return time.
• Never launch your canoe before checking flotation gear, paddles, bow and stern lines, first-aid kit, and map.
• Be aware of weather, tides, and river conditions.
• Secure food, drinking water, and gear in watertight containers in the canoe.
• Respect the privacy and property of others. Obtain permission for entry on private lands, and public lands when    required.
• Figure on 2 miles per hour paddling time under normal conditions. Know your limitations.
• Watch for motorboats. Stay to the right and turn the bow into the wake.
• Watch for overhanging branches, submerged stumps, and other obstructions.
• Do Not Litter. Bring a trash bag with you and recycle whenever possible.