Flight and boat operations in Choctawhatchee Bay and Gulf of Mexico

Residents may experience noise when the 53rd Weapons Evaluation Group conducts boat operations in the Gulf of Mexico and the Choctawhatchee Bay, Feb. 8-11. Preparatory boat operations will take place in the bay Feb. 3.

Each morning, fighter aircraft will release munitions between 8 a.m. and 12 p.m. approximately eight to 20 nautical miles south of Destin in the Gulf of Mexico.  The test will be conducted within a cleared range safety area which includes boat surveillance. Notices to mariners will be issued prior to the missions and flyers will be handed out at the local marina.

In the afternoons between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m., approximately 30 boats travelling in formation, will transverse between the Mid-Bay Bridge and the Highway 331 Bridge. The boat formation will be used as visual targets by F-15s and F-16s flying over the area.  No weapons or ammunition will be involved with this boat formation.

Please be advised that some boat operators will be dressed in various military uniforms and white costumes. They will carry rubber rifles, painted in high visible colors which will be kept out-of-view when transiting to and from the mission area. Some boats will have fake deck guns and rocket launcher tubes. The boats will also use marine flares as visual markers.

These operations are part of the 53rd Wing’s Weapon System Evaluation Program. For more information, please contact the Team Eglin Public Affairs office at 882-3931 or the 53rd Wing Public Affairs office at 882-0423.

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