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Each year, thousands of commercial, recreational and pleasure boaters visit the Florida Keys to fish, dive, snorkel and enjoy a wealth of activities on the water, including kayaking and paddle board sports. FKNMS has spectacular and unique resources such as coral reefs, shipwrecks, seagrass beds and fisheries that are the source of commercial and recreational activities like diving, fishing and boating. This is deed to help provide visitor with simple, sea smart and safe boating and reef etiquette tips, as well as share informational resources to better acquaint first-time and repeat pleasure boaters with on-the-water guidelines and important features of protected Florida Keys waterways.
Boating in the Florida Keys can be complicated, especially for first-time visitors navigating shallow island waters. The sustained health of the Florida Keys is vital.
Disturbance and direct impacts, including damage by boat propellers, groundings, turbidity, and water quality, are major contributing factors to declines in habitat essential for birds, fish and other animals. This free online course provides information for responsible boating and stewardship, and highlights relevant rules and regulations.
One of our most precious natural ecosystems is the coral reef that parallels the Florida Keys — the only living coral barrier reef in the continental United States. Mooring buoys help make protecting this resource possible with a system of inch diameter blue-striped buoy markers that boaters can tie off to, and avoid damaging the coral reef with anchors.
Sincethe Florida Key National Marine Sanctuary has maintained more than mooring buoys in an effort to avoid breakage and damage to the reef formations. These buoys mark various locations of artificial reefs, sanctuary preservation areas SPAshipwreck trail sites and more. There is no fee to use these mooring buoys. Florida Boating Visitor seeks boating buddy — Learn more about waterway speeds, vessel registrations, requirements for personal watercraft, updated information about boating safety, divers-down and marker systems.
Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary Boater Education Course — Developed specifically for the Florida Keys, this free online course provides information for responsible boating and stewardship, and highlights relevant rules and regulations. Did you know the U.
Blue Star operators also promote responsible tourism and teach divers and snorkelers in-water etiquette, including practicing good buoyancy, taking care in placement of hands and fins and avoiding touching or standing on coral. Blue Star—rated operator vessels display a decal with the Blue Star logo and current calendar year.
A Blue Star Fishing Guides program also recognizes charter boat captains who are committed to sustainable fishing and educating their customers about resource protection in Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. There are things you can do in and on the water to minimize impact to the reef while enjoying its beauty. Here are seven tips:. Human garbage is one of the greatest threats to marine wildlife. If you see refuse in the water or on the reef such as plastic bags, floating debris, monofilament line or other litter, please bring it aboard your boat and recycle or discard on land.
Frequently Asked Questions. How to Use a Mooring Buoy. Close Search our site.
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