Florida Keys Diving and Snorkeling Tips

Before booking a reef trip, check weather conditions; it's best not to go out in rough seas. Poor visibility, strong winds, and waves reduce safe interaction at the reef.

Snorkelers should wear inflatable snorkel vests to allow gear adjustment without standing on the coral. Never stand on coral!

Remember that even the lightest touch with hands or equipment can damage sensitive coral polyps.

Avoid wearing gloves and touched or collecting marine life. Most tropical fish captured die within a year. Some species, such as Queen conch and Bahama starfish are protected, and cannot be taken.

To avoid contact with the ocean , divers should only use the weight needed and practice proper buoyancy control. Areas that appear empty may support new growth if left undisturbed.

Resist the temptation to feed fish, seabirds and marine mammals.; it changes their natural behavior and diet.

Remember, it's illegal to take coral in Florida and buying it a local shops only depletes reefs elsewhere in the world.

Bring back any trash you find and recycle it, if possible.

Snorkel aware, dive with care!

If you captain your own boat, please read these instructions:

Volunteers from REEF RELIEF have generously placed over 300 mooring buoys around many of the reefs. These are exceptionally convenient and help save coral from anchor and chain damage. These blue & white buoys have a large pendant with a loop in the end. Approach the buoy into the wind/current (the pendant will be streaming directly back toward your bow). Take one of your own long lines and cleat it around one bow cleat, then thread the free end through the loop of the pendant when you pick it up. Cleat the other end of your own line onto the other bow cleat so that you now have a "bow" of your own line passing through the loop of the pendant.

Using a long line gives you more scope on the buoy to prevent pulling it loose from its own anchor. The larger your boat or rougher the water the more scope you should use. If you're pulling the buoy underwater you need more line. When you leave, all you have to do is free your line from one cleat and back up while pulling in the rest of line. Always approach the moorings from Oceanside - never from the backside of a reef. These Buoys are one of the best things REEF RELIEF ever did on our Reefs!

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