Florida Keys Boating & Snorkeling Regulations

Florida Keys Boating & Snorkeling Regulations
Marine zoning laws in the Florida Keys were designed to protect the sea life and ocean habitat. Designated protection areas comprising most of the waterways around the Keys prohibit discharging any material into the ocean except engine exhaust and cooling water.

Protected Areas

Ecological and marine sanctuary areas do not allow harvesting of marine life. Boaters can participate in catch-and-release activities in protected areas.


Coral Reefs

Dead coral structures cannot be touched while snorkeling in protected areas. Snorkelers and scuba divers must display a "diver down" square or rectangular red flag above water when diving in any Florida Keys waterway.

Diving Flags

Boats are required to stay at least 300 feet away from diving flags in the ocean. Boats must reduce speed to the posted minimum level when approaching a diving flag.

Boat Anchoring

Anchoring a boat onto either dead or living coral is also against the law.

Floating Buoys

Boaters must purchase an access pass to moor a buoy in the Florida Keys. The only exception to the access permit regulation is for boats that are touring the area without fishing gear.


Article Written By Tara Dodrill

Tara Dodrill began writing professionally in 1990. She is a travel writer and photographer working for print and online media, primarily covering Florida, ecotourism and off-the-beaten-path destinations. Her writing credits include RUMBUM, Yahoo News, Visit South magazine,and North Carolina Coastal Guide. She studied journalism and education at Ohio University and real estate at Hondros College.

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