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RULES 2023

1. Suncoast Seals of Florida, Inc. (the Club) is a noncommercial; recreational dive club with a volunteer spearfishing competition to promote the conservative, recreational harvest of marine species that is conducted from January 1st through December 31st inclusive.  Club dues must be paid as stated HERE before harvest date of any fish or by the first meeting in January for competition entries to be eligible.

2. Use of power heads is specifically excluded.

3. Each fish must be brought to the boat or shoreline by individual effort.  A diver will make every reasonable effort not to interfere with another diver’s catch.

4. A conscientious effort must be made to weigh fish as accurately as possible.  Estimated weights will not be recognized.  Scales must be state certified or certified yearly by the Seals club officials,. Entry weights shall be in decimal pounds (to 0.00).  For scales reading ounces, divide ounces by 16 and round off to 2 decimal places. Lionfish will be entered and scored as number of fish, not weight

5.  The weighing of each fish MUST be witnessed by one other person.  All entries, excluding Lobster, must weigh a minimum of three pounds and be of legal size. 

6. Entries for competition categories must be received, within thirty (30) days of harvest.  The exception is during the month of December when the allotted time shall extend until January 10th of the next calendar year. Entry is the sole responsibility of the shooter and should be submitted electronically at www.suncoastseals.com.  

Competition submission accuracy is the responsibility of the shooter.  A diver has 10 days from submission to verify the accuracy and make any correction(s).  After the 10 days, the diver’s fish will be disqualified if submission found to be incorrect. Exception is at the end of the year, when all corrections must be submitted before close of competition.

7. Scoring for SCUBA COMPETITION shall be the following:

SCUBA CATEGORIES:
  • Local Grouper

  • Local Hogfish

  • Local  Snapper

  • Sheepshead/Triggerfish /Porgy

  • Cobia/African Pompano/Permit

  • Amberjack-Barracuda

  • Unlimited Grouper

  • Unlimited Black Grouper

  • Unlimited Hogfish

  • Unlimited Snapper

  • Lobster (whole) during legal season

  • LionFish (Quantity Only)

The SCUBA Unlimited Competition will have no fixed geographical boundaries The depth limit will not exceed the recommended recreational safety limit of 150 feet without documented proof of certified advanced deep-water training provided in writing to the Competition Chair. Trimix gases (i.e. Helitrox, etc.) are not allowed in inner-club competition and will lead to disqualification for the year.

The SCUBA Limited Competition will include local categories, A through C, and will have a fixed geographical boundary consisting of the West Coast of Florida, excluding the Florida Keys and the Dry Tortugas and not exceeding a depth of 85 feet. Vessels cannot exceed 85 feet en route to the 85 foot limit. Any portion of Florida Bay is considered the Florida Key and is considered unlimited.

Points accrued in the SCUBA diving competition, in all categories, will apply towards a single SCUBA diver of the Year trophy and included in Captain’s award.

8. Club records shall be maintained for individual scoring in all categories. The record shall include the leading five places in each category. Points are awarded as follows:

1st place 5 points       2nd place 4 points        3rd place 3 points       4th place 2 points   5th place 1 point  

 

9. Scoring for club FREE DIVING COMPETITION shall be the following:

FREE DIVE CATEGORIES:
  • Grouper

  • Hogfish

  • Snapper

  • Sheepshead/Triggerfish /Porgy

  • Cobia/Wahoo/AP/Permit

  • Amberjack/Barracuda

  • Lobster (whole) during legal season

Competition for free diving has no geographical boundaries. Points accrued in the free diving competition, in all categories, will apply towards a single free diver of the Year trophy. Points and scoring will follow the SCUBA competition format.  All fish taken while free diving will count in the free diving competition and Captains Award.

10. Trophies will be awarded after the close of the competition year as follows

CATEGORY AND NUMBER OF TROPHIES:
Total 26 Trophies

A new Club Record  Award may be given out when previous record is surpassed  making total 27

 11. The Sportsmanship Award is to be voted on at the January meeting of the following year by secret ballot.  This award is for the club member that had made a significant contribution to the Seals Dive Club while demonstrating sportsmanship and fair play.

 12. The Meat-Eater Award will be given to the Suncoast Seals member who scored the greatest overall weight in (3+ lb.) submissions for the entire year in ALL categories (SCUBA and freediving). Points will be the total weight obtained from each diver’s documented competition entries.

 13. The Captain of the year Award will be given to the Suncoast Seals Captain whose boat scored the most points in all categories, SCUBA and free diving. Points will be the total points obtained from diver’s competition entries, as listed on competition entry form, per boat..

 14. In case of ties, the earliest entry will be awarded the trophy. The points will be divided equally towards other club competitions.

 15. No fish or lobster may be taken in a game preserve. Check with latest updates regarding lionfish.

 16. All awards and decision of the Club are final.  All rule disputes and / or protest will be determined within 15 business days by a majority vote of the Governing Members of the Club.

 17. Contestants are responsible for complying with all applicable laws, rules and regulations (Federal and State Recreational and Club) and the accuracy of their submission.   Checking the posting of their catch is also the contestant’s responsibility ….see rule 6.  Protests for competition scoring may be made within twenty (20) days of published entry of club standings by the competition chairman and all protests will be decided by officers of club.  

 18. The Club reserves the right to deny participation by any member or to terminate participation of any member if the Club determines a violation of any Club rules for participation.  Instances of potential violations are reviewed by the Club Leadership and a majority concurrence is sufficient to deny participation.

 19. In the event any person is denied participation or has its participation terminated due to any violation of Club Rules, no refunds will be given.

 20. Diver must be at least 16 years of age and accompanied by a parent/guardian, until the age of 18 years.

 21. Seals Club participation is a requirement for eligibility to submit entries for points and year’s end awards/trophies. Seals Club activity is defined as participation in any combination of three of the following: Seals Monthly meeting; FSDA/WCC meetings; dive trip with other Seals Club Members; FSDA/WCC Spearfishing tournaments; and Official Seals Club Banquets and Parties.

 22. Fish harvested under a commercial license or for commercial purposes shall NOT be eligible for club competition. The exceptions are (a) fish harvested during and at any sanctioned FSDA spearfishing tournaments and restricted to tournament entries, or (b) fish harvested under a commercial charter license and competition entries restricted to size and “in season” recreational fishing limits and rules.

 23. An additional Trophy is awarded at the yearly ceremony to a member who breaks an existing club record in a fish category. Excluding lionfish.

 24. Suncoast Seals dues are to be paid as stated at www.suncoastseals.com

PURPOSE:

The purposes for this Seals Club Competition are to establish, maintain, and administer spearhunting and diving activities and events which will raise funds for educational, research, environmental and civic projects conducted by the Sponsors and from time to time in partnership with other nonprofit organizations, educational and research institutions and conservation organizations to: protect the sustainability of marine fisheries, help alleviate or correct problems caused by over utilization or mismanagement of marine resources, provide more reliable scientific analysis of marine fisheries, increase the general public's knowledge of and awareness of fishery populations, reduce or alleviate environmental damage, and, where necessary, promote reasonable and effective private, recreational, commercial and governmental fisheries management policies through direct participation, and fundraising, education, involvement, activism.

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