The Sebastian Inlet District is planning a family-friendly community event for the public at Sebastian Inlet State Park on September 14 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. as part of its ongoing centennial celebration set to feature live steel drums music by the tide pool, a staggered schedule of interactional activities and environmental education sessions, U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary demonstrations and informational booths from local organizations, government agencies and associations.
All activities and educational sessions will be located on the North side of Sebastian Inlet State Park at 9700 S. Highway A1A, Melbourne Beach, Florida 32951, with the exception of free vessel safety inspections by the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary by the boat launch at Coconut Point on the South side of Sebastian Inlet State Park. All event activities are free with general Park admission fees of $8.00 per vehicle with multiple occupants and carpooling is strongly encouraged. Single occupant vehicle entry is $4.00 and for pedestrians, bicyclists or passengers in a vehicle with a holder of an Annual Individual Admission Pass, entry is $2.00.
Anglers for Conservation, a local non-profit organization, will be leading their signature Hook Kids on Fishing program for children ages 6-16 from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Capacity for the session is 50 children on a first-come, first-serve basis and pre-registration is required HERE. Each child will receive a free rod and reel from Fish Florida. This conservation-minded program is led by professional guides and knowledgeable anglers, who teach casting, fishing and boating safety, knot tying, catch and release tactics, and habitat conservation as children rotate through six different activity stations during the first hour. During the second hour, volunteers will lead a fishing session with all participants, offering one-on-one instruction. Parents are required to accompany their children.
A Youth Surfing Clinic will be led by School of Surf, featuring former World Surf League champion surfers Todd Holland and Matt Kechele, for children ages 6-16 from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Capacity for the session is 20 children on a first-come, first-serve basis and pre-registration is required by calling (321) 724-5175. Participants will use soft-foam boards learning water safety and surfing basics on-sand for the first 30 minutes before moving to the water portion with instructors. Parents are required to accompany their children.
ROAM’s Bayside Marina, formerly BG’s and dedicated Park concessionaire that operates both the marina and the restaurant, gift shop, rental venue space, is offering a 5% discount for anyone booking kayak, paddleboard or pontoon boat rentals that day. Reservations can be made directly through ROAM’s Bayside Marina at (321) 724-5424.
ENVIRONMENTAL & SAFETY EDUCATION SESSIONS
Four 45-minute educational sessions on varying topics will be offered that day, designed for both children and adults, in a classroom setting located on the second floor of ROAM’s Surfside Grill and Adventures. Capacity for each session is 65 on a first-come, first-serve basis and pre-registration is strongly encouraged by calling (321) 724-5175.
The schedule for the day includes;
- 10:30 to 11:15 a.m. – SAFE NAVIGATION
– U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary volunteers will present a session on safe boating and navigation, called “Suddenly in Command”, designed for older teens and adults.
- 11:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. – YOUTH MARINE SCIENCE
– Marine biologists from CSA Ocean Sciences and Atkins North America that work with the Sebastian Inlet District to monitor critically important habitat and natural resources around the inlet will lead a session on marine science. Designed for children and youth, to educate participants on nearshore hardbottom South of the inlet and seagrass beds on the western flood shoal that are home to highly diverse species of plants and wildlife.
- 1:30 to 2:15 p.m. – SEA TURTLE EDUCATION
– Sebastian Inlet State Park Ranger Addy Finegan will lead a sea turtle education session for children and youth with interactional activities. The Park sits between two segments of the Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge that has the highest nesting densities of Loggerhead and Green sea turtles in the Western Hemisphere.
- 2:30-3:15 p.m. – FLOUNDER FISHING AT SEBASTIAN INLET
– Sebastian Inlet State Park Ranger Ed Perry will lead his famous Flounder Fishing session with tips on how to fish Sebastian Inlet.
U.S. COAST GUARD & INFORMATIONAL BOOTHS
Active duty U.S. Coast Guard personnel and volunteers from the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, Flotilla 56, will be bringing in two trailered vessels, including an Aids to Navigation (ANT) Workboat, with public outreach and safety education. In addition, Auxiliarists will set up a HF and VHF Radio Communications demonstration area for children.
As the only partner mobilizing on the South side of Sebastian Inlet State Park, the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary will be conducting free vessel safety inspections by the boat launch at Coconut Point. Any recreational boaters can opt for a 15-30 minute safety check to get an official decal. The decal is recognized by law enforcement agencies, marking the vessel as being equipped with the required safety items.
More than 15 non-profit organizations, government agencies and associations will be represented at informational booths stationed by ROAM’s Surfside Grill & Adventure. The main booth for general information, activity check-in and registration will be operated by the Sebastian Inlet District and feature centennial-themed give-aways, including t-shirts. In addition, Ron Jon Surf Shop has donated a custom-made shortboard, 5’10” veneer, valued at $399 to be raffled off. Featured organizations include;
Barrier Island Sanctuary & Sea Turtle Conservancy
Blue Tube – clean beaches and plastic-free oceans
Brevard County Natural Resources Department
Brevard Indian River Lagoon Coalition
City of Melbourne Environmental Community Outreach
FIT Coastal Engineering & Marine Sciences Department
Florida Surf Musuem
Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission
Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute
Indian River County Historical Society
Indian River Lagoon National Estuary Program
SeaWorld Hubbs Research Institute
Sebastian Inlet State Park & Friends of Sebastian Inlet State Park
Sebastian Anglers Club
U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary
Booths will have activities, games and displays for children. In addition, ROAM’s Surfside Grill and Adventures has partnered with Pareidolia Brewing Company, a local company in Sebastian, to offer a limited-reserve “Gibson’s Cut IPA” from brewmaster Pete Anderson. Pariedolia Brewing Company will be giving out free samples of this beer inspired by D.P. Gibson, the first person to attempt opening an inlet here, at its booth, and visitors can purchase the beer on tap inside.
Park capacity is estimated at 1,750-2,000 people, or 400 cars and every effort will be made to accommodate all guests. Per Park policy, the gates will close when the Park reaches capacity. A golf-cart shuttle service will be provided for guests with special needs.
The Sebastian Inlet District was created in 1919 as an independent special district by act of the Florida State Legislature, and chartered to maintain the navigational channel between the Atlantic Ocean and the Indian River. The Sebastian Inlet District’s responsibilities include state mandated sand bypassing, erosion control, environmental protection and public safety. The Sebastian Inlet supports a rich and diverse ecological environment that is unparalleled in North America. The Inlet is vital not only to the ecological health of the Indian River Lagoon, but it is also an important economic engine for local communities in the region. Known as the premier surfing, fishing, boating and recreational area on the east coast of Florida, the inlet is one of only five navigable channels that connect the Indian River lagoon to the Atlantic Ocean.