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Mark Underwater Facilities

If a member determines that a proposed excavation is in proximity to or in conflict with an underground facility of the member beneath the waters of the state, the member shall identify the estimated horizontal route of the underground facility, within 10 business days, using marking buoys or other suitable devices, unless directed otherwise by an agency having jurisdiction over the waters of the state under which the member operator's underground facility is located.


When marking underwater facilities, members can elect to provide separate documentation to serve as a backup form of underwater facility identification. In the event the original underwater locate marks are no longer visible, backup documentation allows the excavator to continue excavation without stopping work to have the underground lines re-marked. Note: At this time, adequate documentation parameters are defined by individual members.

Underwater facilities should be marked with buoys or other suitable devices that are appropriate for the particular water body location and conditions. Marking buoys or other suitable devices should not be used if they are not temporary, if they have the potential to obstruct navigation or adversely affect riparian rights of adjacent upland owners, if they cause a discharge of pollutants, or if they otherwise may adversely affect the environment.


Marking buoys or other suitable devices should be designed so they will not be confused with navigational aids that are designed and placed to alert mariners to dangers, information or regulatory matters. Underwater facility markers are intended for private communication purposes with excavators for the temporary duration of the excavation project. They are not intended for the purpose of communicating with mariners, and such navigational aids that are so intended must conform to the rules of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, as found in Chapter 68D-23, Florida Administrative Code, which adopt the U. S. Aids to Navigation System, Part 62 of Title 33 of the Code of Federal Regulations.


If a member operator has chosen an inappropriate marking buoy or device, an agency with jurisdiction over the waters of the state under which the underwater facility is located may direct that member to do something different. Temporary markers that are designed, installed, and used in conformance with the above guidelines generally will qualify for a de minimis exemption under Part IV of Chapter 373, Florida Statutes, and will not require an environmental resource permit or a wetland resource permit from the Department of Environmental Protection or a water management district. Such markers that are located on sovereign submerged lands will qualify for a temporary consent of use from the Board of Trustees, and will not need further authorization under Chapter 253, Florida Statutes. Please note that the physical installation of a utility line or telecommunication line in wetlands or other surface waters constitutes dredging and filling that may require a permit from the Department of Environmental Protection under Part IV of Chapter 373, Florida Statutes. Prior to commencing activities other than the placement of the described temporary markers, member should contact the nearest Department district office to determine if an Environmental Resource Permit or Wetland Resource Permit is required.


If a member has any specific questions relating to the placement or type of buoys or other suitable devices, the primary
contact should be the following:

  • Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
    Boating Safety and Waterway Management Section
    620 S. Meridian Street
    Tallahassee, FL 32399
    (850) 410-0656 X17169

The Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission can also assist in contacting other agencies, if required. Some of these other agencies might include the U. S. Coast Guard, the Army Corps of Engineers, or local agencies, such as the Port of Tampa, which has certain jurisdiction over submerged lands in Hillsborough County.


Open Water Crossings
If a member locates an underground facility in open waters, and that facility may have been constructed prior to 1978 or may not have a public or private easement from the Board of Trustees, it is recommended that the member check with the Division of State Lands in the Department of Environmental Protection to determine whether there is an easement for the facility. All crossings require an easement; however, for facilities placed prior to the rule requirement, the easement is typically required at the point when the crossing needs repair or modification. The primary contact is:

  • Florida Department of Environmental Protection
    Division of State Lands
    3900 Commonwealth Boulevard, MS 130
    Tallahassee, Florida 32399-3900
    (850) 245-2720

Locating Facilities or Marking which Involves Disturbing the Bottom
If a member has questions which relate to marking or locating facilities that will significantly disturb the bottom under the waters of the state, the primary contact should be the following, depending on the location of the excavation: Local Agencies
Members and excavators should contact local permitting or environmental agencies, since county, city or port agencies may also have requirements that affect excavation activities.
  • Northwest District
    (850) 595-8300
    160 Government Center
    Pensacola, FL 32501

  • Northeast District
    (904) 807-3300
    7825 Baymeadows Way
    Suite 200B
    Jacksonville, FL 32256

  • Southeast District
    (561) 681-6649
    400 North Congress Ave.
    Suite 200
    West Palm Beach, FL 33401
  • Central District
    (407) 893-3311
    3319 Maguire Blvd.
    Suite 232
    Orlando, FL 32803

  • South District
    (904) 332-6975
    2295 Victoria Ave.
    Suite 364
    Fort Myers, FL 33902
  • Southwest District
    (813) 744-6100
    3804 Coconut Palm Drive
    Tampa, FL 33619