One of the biggest adventures you can have in the Florida Keys is on the water…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.
Know Before You Go
These are 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.
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 18-inch diameter blue-striped buoy markers that boaters can tie off to, and avoid damaging the coral reef with anchors.
Since 1981, the Florida Key National Marine Sanctuary has maintained more than 470 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 (SPA), shipwreck trail sites and more. There is no fee to use these mooring buoys.
Tips for Fishermen & Boaters
- Practice good seamanship, and safe boating. Maintain a safe distance from other fishermen. Know and observe size and catch limits; release any fish you can’t eat.
- Use reef mooring buoys if available. Otherwise, anchor in sandy areas away from coral and seagrasses so that anchor and chain do not drag or grate on nearby corals or tear-up seagrass beds.
- Accidental boat groundings damage the reef. Prop damage destroys shallow seagrass beds. Consult tide & navigation charts and steer clear of shallow areas. Remember, “Brown, brown, run aground. Blue, blue, sail on through”.
- Avoid disturbing wildlife, harassing fish and invertebrates; it only makes them wary of people.
- Keep boating speeds and noise to a minimum, and avoid boat wakes near isolated mangroves.
- It is illegal to dump trash at sea; plastic bags and other debris can injure or kill marine animals. Try to retrieve fishing gear and equipment, especially monofilament line.
- Camping, campfires, and collecting of any kind is prohibited on all National wildlife Refuges. Personal watercraft and airboats are prohibited in all National Parks.
Find a Public Boat Ramp
Select “Monroe” county for Florida Keys public boat ramps
Right: Boat ramp at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park
Photo courtesy of Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation
Find Boat Rentals, Watersports & Marinas
The Upper Keys:
In Key Largo and Islamorada, KeysCaribbean Luxury Resorts & Marinas has two exclusive locations, Mariners Resort Villas & Marina and the Historic Tavernier Inn
The Middle Keys:
In the Middle Keys, KeysCaribbean Luxury Resorts & Marinas has the Village at Hawks Cay Villas on Duck Key, Indigo Reef Resort Villas & Marina and the Coral Lagoon Resort Villas & Marina vacation rentals in Marathon\
The Lower Keys:
In the Lower Keys, KeysCaribbean Luxury Resorts & Marinas has the Coral Hammock Resort Villas and Kings Point Marina & Condominiums vacation rentals
This is what you need to know to take advantage of all boating and water experiences in the Florida Keys. If you’re coming down to visit and stay with us at the KeysCaribbean Luxury Resorts & Marinas in our vacation rentals, share some of your favorite experiences with us …
Visit our blog next Tuesday with updated experiences in the Florida Keys…