Responsible Boating Protects Coral Reefs

Florida is often referred to as the boating capital of the nation, with more than 930,000 registered vessels. Florida’s numerous natural resources such as mangroves, seagrasses, estuaries and coral reefs are a major draw to resident and visiting boaters alike. Outdoor activities associated with boating, such as birding, fishing, swimming, snorkeling, and diving, contribute to the state’s economy. However, increased traffic on the water can bring potential risks, particularly to sensitive ocean bottom habitats such as coral reefs and seagrasses. This 4-page fact sheet written by Ana Zangroniz, Savanna Barry, and Joy Hazell and published by the UF/IFAS Florida Sea Grant College Program gives an introduction to the corals and coral reefs of Florida, provides ecological and economic information, and lists simple steps to ensure that safe boating practices reduce physical impacts on coral reefs.