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SPECIAL LOBSTER MINI-SEASON ISSUE

FLORIDA KEYS SUMMER BOATING

GADGETS GALORE & BOAT TECH

JUMP IN SUMMER DESTINATIONS TO TAKE THE FAMILY

BOATER FRIENDLY EATERIES 2020

ENVIRONMENTAL AWARENESS

BE MINDFUL ON THE WATER


#1 In Florida Keys Real Estate Matching people & places for over six decades. www.KeysRealEstate.com Key West: 305-294-5155 Big Pine:305-735-4962 Marathon: 305-743-7636 © 2020 BHH Affiliates, LLC. An independently owned and operated franchisee of BHH Affiliates, LLC. Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices and the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices symbol areregistered service marks of Columbia Insurance Company, a Berkshire Hathaway affiliate.


WE ARE OPEN FOR LUNCH, HAPPY HOUR & DINNER 7 DAYS A WEEK! 11AM – 10PM DAILY

NIGHTLY SATURDAY SPECIALS & SUNDAY MONDAY Carolina Pulled Pork BBQ TUESDAY Jumbo Gumbo Bowls Tacos & Tequila WEDNESDAY Wine Time Wednesday ($15-$20 bottles) THURSDAY Prime Rib Night

LIVE MUSIC

REGULAR MENU AVAILABLE AND BRUNCH ITEMS 11AM - 4PM Including Chorizo Breakfast Burrito, Guava, French Toast, Crab Benedict and BOGO Mimosas and Champagne

HAPPY HOUR

EVERY DAY 4-6PM

SPAGHETTI & MEATBALLS EVERY SUNDAY NIGHT

SUMMER STOPS Check out these places when planning those boating trips. Page 10 LOBSTER SLAPPER Put it on the wrist to measure that catch. Page 20 DON’T SPOIL IT! Top 10 ways to wreck the lobster sports season. Page 26

Managing Partner Britt Myers britt@keysweekly.com

Staff Writers Sara Matthis sara@keysweekly.com Mandy Miles mandy@keysweekly.com Tiffany Duong tiffany@keysweekly.com

Editor Jim McCarthy jim@keysweekly.com

Office Manager Charlotte Hruska char@keysweekly.com

Account Executives Lesley Aaron lesley@keysweekly.com Stephanie Mitchell stephanie@keysweekly.com Patti Childress patti@keysweekly.com Christina Valdez christina@keysweekly.com

Production Manager Anneke Patterson anneke@keysweekly.com

Publisher Jason Koler jason@keysweekly.com

WE COOK YOUR CATCH!

FISH & LOBSTER

MM 53.5 Overseas Highway, Marathon, Florida Waterfront Location Adjacent To Holiday Inn Express

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Florida Keys Summer Boating 2020

Art/Design Javier Reyes javier@keysweekly.com Travis Cready travis@keysweekly.com Irene de Bruijn irene@keysweekly.com

Keys Weekly Newspapers 9709 Overseas Hwy., Marathon, FL 33050 P. 305.743.0844

(CATCH NEEDS TO BE LEGAL & CLEANED)

www.sparkyslanding.com 305.363.2959

ON THE COVER There’s no better way to spring into the summer season than off the bow of a boat into the saltwater. Noah Gue and Grace Goodwin, both 12, jump off the boat into the waters on a pristine afternoon. The Keys have numerous options for boaters, fishers and divers to enjoy. From sand bars and state parks to marinas and restaurants, there’s plenty to immerse yourself in. MICHAEL GUE/Contributed

Published MMXX www.keysweekly.com

Key West 5450 MacDonald Ave. No. 5 Key West, FL 33040 P. 305.453.6928 Tavernier 91760 Overseas Hwy. Tavernier, FL 33070 P. 305.363.2957


298 South Dr, Plantation Key An Islamorada Gem, very private & stunning 4 bedroom, 4 bath ocean front estate. The open living/dining area over looks the ocean with 20' ceilings with floor to ceiling gallery wall &         windows. Both master suites open to ocean view terraces. A luxurious den with 50'' flat screen Apple TV is a quiet retreat. All levels are serviced by elevator. Situated on a gated 1/2 acre lushly landscaped lot with paver drive & two car garage, this home is one of only 4 in the enclave. The 30' dock has a 20K LB lift in the HOA marina. The new marina park is newly landscaped. Concrete pool & spa has new equipment. A fully equipped poolside bar has new  appliances including stainless grill, refrigerator and Ice maker. Quality construction with West Indies design.

4/4 •  3,938 SF  • $3,800,000 • Ginger Henderson  •  305-731-5751

30680 Winifred St, Big Pine Key 3/3.1 • 2,660 SF • Gated 3.5 Acre Estate • Open water views  Infinity pool w/ pool bar Private marina w/ 17k lb lift & Jet ski lift Excellent boating • Private beach Chef's kitchen w/ viking appliances Quartz counter tops  Impact windows & doors • Garage Possible seller financing Offered at $3,500,000 SANDRA TUTTLE • 305-923-9161

543 La Fitte Rd, Little Torch Key 5/4.1 • 4,127 SF • Ocean views Quality concrete construction Impact windows & doors • New roof Recently renovated interior Viking appliances • Travertine floors Offered fully furnished 60' dock • 17k lb Lift Excellent boating access Offered at $2,225,000 SANDRA TUTTLE • 305-923-9161 LYNN B. LUCAS • 305-393-0559

© 2020 BHH Affiliates, LLC. An independently owned and operated franchisee of BHH Affiliates, LLC. Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices and the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices symbol areregistered service marks of Columbia Insurance Company, a Berkshire Hathaway affiliate.


By Sara Matthis

The best of the newest

WHAT’S HOT 2020 Solace 345 The most outstanding feature of the Solace 345 is the Fish Thru® transom making it possible for anglers to stand aft of the two engines without leaving the cockpit. Boating Magazine named it the 2019 boat of the year. The Solace also features a really versatile workstation that doubles as seating when not in use (the cushions pop on and off with magnetic attachments.) The workstation is fit with a sink, refrigerator, drawers and a grill. Two more details: A platform under the captain’s feet can be raised for vertically challenged boaters. It comes with an option for a raised second helm (buggy option) that can be lowered when trailering. Specs LOA: 34’ Beam 10’6” Fuel Capacity: 343 gallons Capacity: 16 persons Power: (double) Yamaha 425 xto V8 outboard Draft: 24”

2021 Valhalla Boatworks V41 Viking, the sportfishing icon, has introduced its star in the center console market — the Valhalla. It has a stepped-V, ventilated running surface and and innovative deck design for storage of rods, tear, tackle and bait. The frameless, wraparound windshield gives the captain excellent visibility and the raised transom livewell lets anglers keep an eye on the health of the bait.

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Florida Keys Summer Boating 2020

With tons of Viking “DNA,” the Valhalla is elegant and comfortable without limiting fishability. Specs LOA: 40’6” Beam 11’7” Fuel Capacity: 557 gallons Capacity: n/a Power: (quad) 400 hp Mercury Verado Outboard Draft: 33”


2020 Hewes Redfisher 21 Back by popular demand, the completely new Redfisher 21 takes hardcore, nearshore and backcountry fishing to a whole other level. Built using VARIS (Vacuum Assisted Resin Infusion System) and designed for a maximum horsepower rating of 350 with a jackplate standard, this boat specializes in catching bait in one zip code, fishing in another, and then getting back to the dock in time for a tournament weighin.

Huge casting decks and walkaround gunwales make for a stable, uncluttered platform. Plus, there’s tons of lockable, dry storage for everything from cast nets to gear bags and the new console has enough dash space to flush mount a 12” unit with room to spare.

Specs: LOA: 21’6” BEAM: 8’6” Fuel capacity: 50 gallons Capacity: 6 persons Power: (single) Yamaha VF250 SHO Draft: 14”

keysweekly.com 7


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Boaters Welcome DIESEL & GAS TACKLE • SUPPLIES BEER & SODA • SNACKS LIVE BAIT • FROZEN BAIT ICE • DOCKAGE APPAREL & ACCESSORIES

KEY LIME PIE HANDMADE & FUDGE CHOCOLATES

MM 100 1 / 2 BAYSIDE

keylargochocolates.com • 305-453-6613 8

Florida Keys Summer Boating 2020

1280 Oceanview Ave. Marathon 305-743-2281


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By Jim McCarthy

SUMMER DAY EXCURSIONS Great spots to check out with the family Summer days are meant for saltwater excursions to some of these notable Keys spots. Whether you arrive by boat or by car, these destinations are bound to be exhilarating and educational as you head out for adventure.

INDIAN KEY This little island off the shores of Islamorada has plenty of storied past. In 1836, Indian Key became the first county seat for Dade County. At that time, the tiny piece of paradise was the site of a lucrative business — salvaging cargo from shipwrecks in the Keys. The island, now a state park, is accessible by boat, kayak or paddleboard.

MARQUESAS KEYS The Marquesas are a chain of mangrove islands in the National Wildlife Refuge about 20 miles west of Key West. Rays, sharks, sea turtles and bird life abound, and the area is a popular anchorage for boaters enjoying the unspoiled islands. The central lagoon is called Mooney Harbor. The northernmost key is the largest and has a strip of natural sandy beach free of mangrove that’s perfect for picnics and swimming. In the past it was known as "Entrance Key," and has frequently been used by Cuban refugees in homemade boats known as “chugs,” some of which are still visible on the beach. It surrounds the lagoon in the

PIGEON KEY Two miles west of Marathon beneath the Old Seven Mile Bridge sits a historical Keys treasure known as Pigeon Key. The 5-acre island once served as a base camp for workers during construction of the original Seven Mile Bridge, the centerpiece of Henry Flagler’s Key West Extension of the Florida East Coast Railway. Pigeon Key was known as Cayo Paloma (dove or pigeon) on early Spanish charts. Most believe it was likely named after the Keys white-crowned pigeon.

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Florida Keys Summer Boating 2020


Deep Sea | Off Shore | Reef | Wrecks | Gulf Dolphin, Tuna, Wahoo, Billfish, Snapper/

Grouper, Shark | FAMILY FUN FISHING FISHING THE FLORIDA KEYS FOR 22 YEARS

COOK YOUR OWN CATCH?

CALL TO BOOK YOUR CHARTER

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WWW.SOLDINTHEKEYS.COM keysweekly.com 11


MARINE SUPPLY, RAIN APPAREL AND ACCESSORY NEEDS Lumber | Plywood | Dock & Deck Material Resin & Mek | Gelcoat | Sanding Aid | Pigment Colors Chopped Glass | Fumed Silica | Fiberglass by the foot Grundéns | Bib Trousers | Jackets | Aprons Trap Hinges | Trap Latches | Trap Rope Lath Bundles | Funnels | 55 gallon plastic barrels Fish cleaning station

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WE WON’T TEST YOUR PATIENCE

THAT’S WHAT THE LOBSTERS ARE FOR Serving all of the Florida Keys Sea Tow Key Largo \ 305-451-3330 Sea Tow Islamorada/Marathon \ 305-289-2055 Sea Tow Lower Keys \ 305-745-2070 Sea Tow Key West \ 305-295-9912

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By Keys Weekly staff

TIE UP AND EAT Boater-friendly

Out on the water and craving a bite or a cold cocktail? Many restaurants in the Keys offer boaters plenty of docking spots to come ashore for a meal and a cold drink. Here’s a few notable options from Key Largo to Key West. SQUARE GROUPER, ISLAMORADA Located in the Islamorada Marina at MM 80.4, bayside, Square Grouper is all about fresh local seafood, some of the finest craft cocktails and an island dining experience. Converting an old boathouse into an elegant, waterfront dining destination, Square Grouper invites in boaters for lunch and dinner. Menu options include yellowfin tuna and avocado rolls with Asian dipping sauce for an appetizer, the almond encrusted grouper, which comes with a warm Caribbean cranberry-pineapple relish, as an entree and Key Lime pie for dessert. And don’t forget to go for the house signature cocktail: Key lime martini. SNOOKS, KEY LARGO Snooks Bayside in Key Largo offers some of the finest waterfront dining along with breathtaking views of the sunset. Tables by the water are highly sought after, and the sunset celebration where a random person is selected to pull a rope to sound the antique ship horn adds to the charm. The menu features the pistachio- crusted yellowtail served with mango salsa, chili and beurre blanc for an entree. As for a drink, try a Snooks original in the “XXX’’ Rum Runner.

PERRY HOTEL, STOCK ISLAND With gorgeous boats, tropical views, mouth-watering food and some of the coolest, coldest drinks around, the waterfront restaurants at The Perry Hotel exemplify the fresh, tasteful, outdoor lifestyle of the Florida Keys. Inside the hotel, Matt’s is open for breakfast and the outdoor Salty Oyster bar and restaurant, known to locals as Salty’s, is open for lunch and dinner from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Guests who want to enjoy the resort’s dock-and-dine can call the marina from their boat radio — VHF channels 10 and 16 — and dockmasters will direct them to a short-term slip while dining.

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Florida Keys Summer Boating 2020


STOCK ISLAND YACHT CLUB & MARINA LL’s Test Kitchen at Stock Island Yacht Club & Marina, 6000 Peninsular Ave., has it all: Stunning waterfront views, fresh local seafood, bright salads, big burgers and other essentials, and of course, cool and colorful cocktails. The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner Monday through Saturday. Lunch is served 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and dinner is 5 to 9 p.m., although hours may vary due to the coronavirus situation. The yacht club and marina are just a few

SUNSET GRILL, MARATHON Location, location, location. Sunset Grille and Raw Bar is located in the shade of the iconic 7 Mile Bridge. There is a long T-shaped dock where captains can tie up on their way home from a productive day on the water and plenty of room on land for your party to spread out in distinct areas — poolside, under the huge tiki hut, or on the side of the property designated for sport (think cornhole and other sand games). The eatery has two specialities — the fusion of Caribbean spices, fresh fruit and seafood, and a vast sushi menu. In the market for an “umbrella” drink? This is the place for playful drinks like Caribbean Cool-Aid or the Shark Bite.

SPARKY’S LANDING KEY COLONY BEACH Sparky’s Landing is wildly popular with both locals and visitors. There’s plenty of room to tie up on the dock at the seawall and diners enjoy the cool atmosphere of the high-ceiling tiki roof plus water views. As for the food, there’s a huge variety with many favorites, but start with some Brussels sprout chips. Move on to honest-to-god, woodfired pizza or, if there’s a BLT on the menu, give it a try. The restaurant does a hopping happy hour with specialty cocktails like The Tipsy Iguana or the Coconut Margarita — all made with topshelf liquor.

keysweekly.com 15


By Keys Weekly staff

FUN WITH THE FAMILY Looking to get the family out for the day of amusement and adventure? From museums to beaches, there are plenty of attractions for children and adults to enjoy together up and down the island chain.

ROBBIE’S OF ISLAMORADA A must-visit in the Florida Keys, feed those hungry tarpon off the dock, delve into some food and drinks at the Hungry Tarpon and immerse yourself in one of the many water sports activities by renting kayaks or going parasailing. Kids will enjoy hanging bait out over the water as the “Silver Kings” jump to retrieve their luscious snack. Walk the open-air market and enjoy laid-back shopping on the property with art, jewelry and clothing vendors. Enjoy a meal or the famous loaded Trailer Trash Bloody Mary on the waterfront dock. Robbies is located at MM 77.5 in Islamorada.

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KEY WEST BUTTERFLY & NATURE CONSERVATORY The breathtaking journey through the conservatory on Duval Street gives families an up-close and personal experience with an impressive collection of flowering plants, colorful birds, cascading waterfalls and trees that set the stage for the butterflies — the “flowers of the sky.” Visitors interact with hundreds of free-flying butterflies in the giant glass atrium that houses 50 to 60 species from around the world, along with over 20 exotic bird species, including Rhett and Scarlet, the resident flamingoes. In The Learning Center, explore the butterfly anatomy, physiology, life cycle, feeding and migratory world of the Monarch. Also, get a rare close-up view

WAKEBOARDING AND CABLE PARK Located on Grassy Key, oTHErside Adventure’s Wakeboarding and Cable Park is invigorating and will leave you wanting to come back for more flips and jumps. Whether it’s your first wakeboarding experience, or you’re an everyday rider, oTHErside has the goods to get you out on the water having a blast.

Florida Keys Summer Boating 2020


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We Cook Your Own Catch! Lunch Begins at 11 am Dinner Begins at 4 pm Happy Hour ~ 4-6 Daily (Bar Only)

keysweekly.com 17


Dog-saving life jackets Nearly all dogs are naturally good swimmers, but that doesn’t mean they can swim forever were they to fall off the boat way out to sea. The Vivaglory dog life jacket offers buoyancy and a rescue handle to get Fido back to safety in a dog-overboard situation. The wide neck and chest cutout is also comfortable for the dog, allowing it to paddle around unhindered. Humans should take a very accurate chest girth measurement for the right fit. The vests come in bright colors with reflective trim. About $33 for medium size.

By Sara Matthis

Hook up the mahi The Chugger Head mahi lure gets good reviews from dolphin fishermen. They are about 6 inches long and have “soft, plusher” heads. The color combinations are vast — from blackpurple to green-yellow. These come pre-rigged with a 200-pound leader line and number 6 hooks. The concave shape of the head makes noise, splashing action and bubble trails. Also called “grinders,” the lures range in cost from $25 to $59 depending on the manufacturer. Available online and at local tackle shops.

Protect your tootsies NakeFit is the answer to going shoeless in the Keys. (Mother Nature isn’t always kind to bare feet along the Keys’ rocky shorelines or on scorching hot sand.) The thin soles have strong adhesive on one inner side, and a slip-resistant grip on the outer side. Pro-tip: Put the soles on before you get to the beach or boat. It takes precision to get them on right the first time for a long-lasting wear. Cost is $15 for three pairs.

Trailering: easy & safe Ever seen the guy move his truck 2 inches, get out and go back to check the position of his hitch in regard to the boat trailer … and repeat? There’s a fix for that. There are affordable mechanized trailer movers, about the size of an upright vacuum cleaner powered by an 18v drill. The Trailer Valet XL ($900) is rated to 10,000 pounds, but gets better reviews at a lower weight. The AMPLocks for the trailer hitch come with a hefty price tag (about $350), but it does secure your prized investment. It’s made out of cast iron, capable of thwarting even the strongest of thieves. Available online.

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Florida Keys Summer Boating 2020


STAY HEALTHY & SAFE OUT ON THE WATER From left to right: Dr. Hector Guzman D.D.S, Dr. David McDonald D.M.D Dr. Natalia Vazquez-Marrero D.M.D and Dr. Oscar Rodriguez D.M.D

Located at 2758 N. Roosevelt Blvd. (in the Overseas Market) • Key West, FL 33040 Phone 305.294.9914 • Fax 305.295.9691 • doc@docguzman.com • www.docguzman.com

LOBSTER SPECIALS

DISCOVER HISTORIC

FLAGLER RAILWAY MUSEUM SNORKELING (equipment not provided)

PICNIC GUIDED HISTORY TOURS

FOR MINI LOBSTER SEASON WE WILL ALSO HAPPILY COOK YOUR CATCH

SCENIC FERRY BOAT RIDE UNDER THE ICONIC 7 MILE BRIDGE

Catch the ferry boat at Hyatt/Faro Blanco

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$12

305.743.5959

per person

PIGEONKEY.NET

DINE IN, TAKE OUT & DELIVERY

SUMMER HOURS OPEN WED-MON 5-9PM

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By Mandy Miles

LEGAL LOBSTER? SLAP IT TO SEE Keys fisherman invents Lobster Slapper measuring device

Remember slap bracelets, those rigid strips of thin metal covered with colorful fabric that curled into a circle around a kid’s wrist when slapped against the forearm? Ray Healy, a Miami-Dade firefighter and frequent Florida Keys fisherman, knew them well, but hadn’t expected them to inspire his new invention, the Lobster Slapper Gauge. "With 9-year-old twins? You better believe I was familiar with slap bracelets. They were all over our house," Healy said of his kids’ fashion accessory that would become the basis for his patent-pending Lobster Slapper, which retails for $8.99 at World Wide Sportsman in Islamorada, Florida Keys tackle shops, gift shops and five Bass Pro Shops throughout Florida. They’re also available online at lobsterslapper.com. “Over the years I have used — and lost — all types of lobster equipment,” said Healy, who has spent his life “bugging” for spiny lobster in the Florida Keys. “I wanted a product I could have on me at all times, that wouldn't get tangled in my lobster net or tickle stick and that wouldn't bleed rust all over my boat deck. I was ready for something new.” After years of prototypes and adaptations, the Lobster Slapper was born. Approximately 11 inches long when straightened, it resembles an adult-sized slap bracelet, but with a 3-inch notch cut in one side. To be legal, a spiny lobster’s carapace, or body, must exceed 3 inches, so if the lobster’s carapace fits entirely inside the Lobster Slapper notch, it’s undersized and illegal. Healy wears the Lobster Slapper around his wrist while diving for lobster, but then wraps them around fishing rods, the poles of his boat’s T-top, dive bag and cooler handles and a host of other places to secure them between trips. “You’re supposed to measure the lobsters while still in the water, so I wanted something that was easy to access underwater and easy to store and find on the boat,” he said. The Lobster Slapper Gauge is made of stainless steel encased in 100% silicone. It comes in a variety of different colors and patterns — from purple mermaid scales to blue camo and a dive flag design. Additional colors and designs are in the works.

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Florida Keys Summer Boating 2020

Lobster Slapper Gauges are available at lobsterslapper.com and the following Florida Keys retail locations, with more stores being added: • World Wide Sportsman, Islamorada • Caribbean Club, Key Largo • Key Largo Campground • Tackle Box, Marathon


HOME is more important than ever. A locally owned and operated family business for over 60 years, D’Asign Source knows what it takes to design, build, finish and furnish your space. Inside and out.

Whether searching for that perfect piece of furniture, ready to remodel, or looking to design your dream home and outdoor entertainment space—D’Asign Source is your one-stop shop. Our 25,000 square foot showroom has everything conveniently located under one roof with a dedicated staff to help you find exactly what you’re looking for.

305-743-7130 | DAsignSource.com | 11500 Overseas Hwy, Marathon | MM 53

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Local, Fully Licensed Contractors #CGC026675, Architects #AA26001284, Interior Designers #B26000844 & Landscape Architects #LA6667217


By: Tiffany Duong

PLAYING WITH PURPOSE Citizen-science experiences educate and amuse In the Keys, it’s no secret that everything revolves around the reef and its health. From local fish at restaurants to weekend boat trips, everyone’s amusement and livelihood rely on the sea’s richness. As the natural resources have become threatened and scarce, many organizations and nonprofits have taken up the charge of addressing water quality, stemming plastic pollution and restoring coral reefs. Luckily, many of them have also created citizen-science programs that enable the public to participate in the cutting-edge science that’s underway to restore the environment. More than just a fun day on the water, these experiences allow participants to contribute valuable and much-needed scientific information on a large scale to these organizations and to become personally invested in protecting the environment. “Citizen science is a transformative experience that lasts a lifetime, and one that goes a long way to helping save our precious coral reefs,” said Coral Restoration Foundation’s J.D. Reinbott. HERE ARE A FEW OF OUR FAVORITES:

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Florida Keys Summer Boating 2020

A diver poses with a sea anemone while conducting a REEF survey in the Solomon Islands. LAURIE FULTON/REEF

A Key Dives customer removes derelict fishing line from an Islamorada reef on a monthly cleanup dive. TIFFANY DUONG/Keys Weekly

REEF ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION FOUNDATION, KEY LARGO (REEF)

KEY DIVES/I.CARE

REEF is the grandfather of all citizenscience endeavors in the Upper Keys. For 27 years, they’ve been inviting divers and snorkelers to conduct REEF fish count surveys as they enjoy waters around the world. The Fish Survey Projects can change your whole perspective and make diving or snorkeling feel like a scavenger hunt. “When recreational divers all over the world are in the water recording and sharing information about fish populations, it helps to improve our understanding of what’s happening in the ocean, and makes us aware of changes and potential threats,” said Amy Lee, REEF’s engagement and communications manager. “The data collected by these citizen-scientists can show when there are declines in certain species, or when a species is found somewhere it hasn’t been reported before.” As of June 2020, over 16,000 individuals had conducted a REEF survey, with many divers completing multiple surveys during various dives. About 12,000 surveys are completed each year. To learn more, go to www.REEF.org.

Key Dives has been running cleanup dives twice monthly for two years. They’ve pulled well over 10,000 pounds of trash from the waters around Islamorada through the dedication of their staff and volunteers. They also run coral restoration dives with CRF once a month. I.CARE is a new coral restoration citizenscience effort based at Bud ‘N Mary’s Fishing Marina, where Key Dives is located. In partnership with Mote Marine, I.CARE will create a whole new coral restoration experience for visitors to get involved. There will be land-based coral nurseries and outplanting dives. “I believe there is a level of fulfillment when diving with a purpose that is greater in many respects than just diving for fun. What Key Dives and I.CARE do is give the diver a channel to fulfill that need,” said Michael Goldberg, owner of Key Dives and co-founder of I.CARE. “This, of course, works with our main overall goal, which is to improve our ocean and coral reefs.” To sign up, contact Key Dives at info@keydives.com or I.CARE at icareaboutcoral@gmail.com for trip details.


Mote’s Stephanie Sirotzke hangs staghorn corals in Mote’s in-situ nursery. TIFFANY DUONG/Keys Weekly

FKWW programs train citizens to monitor water quality in residential canals in the Florida Keys. SHELLY KRUEGER/Contributed

A volunteer diver cleans a coral tree in CRF’s Tavernier nursery while a hogfish looks on. CORAL RESTORATION FOUNDATION/Contributed

MOTE MARINE LABORATORY & AQUARIUM (MOTE)

FLORIDA KEYS WATER WATCH (FKWW)

CORAL RESTORATION FOUNDATION (CRF)

Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium’s IC2R3 Facility in Summerland Key has partnered with Captain Hook’s Dive Center on Big Pine Key to put the tools for coral restoration into your hands. Their new “Reef Revival” program allows eco-tourists and citizenscientists to learn about corals and the threats they face before getting hands-on with fragmenting corals in Mote’s in-situ nursery. These corals will be used to restore the reef. “It's a win-win-win for all involved — more advocacy and hands-on help for local science-based nonprofits fighting to save the reef, more business for local dive shops (as well as a way to give back), and a unique once-in-alifetime experience for visitors,” said Allison Delashmit, Mote’s community relations and communications manager. To sign up for Reef Revival, contact Captain Hooks Dive Center in Big Pine Key. Visit https://captainhooks.com/ or call 305-872-9863.

Since 2015, FKWW has raised awareness about the importance of water quality in the Keys by creating a community-based volunteer water quality monitoring program. The program emphasizes the connection between land-use and aquatic health. Volunteers are trained to test the water for dissolved oxygen, salinity, temperature and turbidity. They help provide data from places that aren’t regularly monitored. “Citizen science is a useful tool that fosters collaboration, transparency and valuable community partnerships,” said Shelly Krueger, a Florida Sea Grant agent who runs FKWW trainings. Krueger has trained more than 243 volunteers and 342 students since 2015. Training is open to all full- and part-time residents in Monroe County. To learn more, email Krueger at Krueger-Shelly@monroecounty-fl.gov.

CRF partners with local dive shops to host training and dive programs throughout the Keys. After a morning training session on corals, the threats they face and CRF’s outplanting methods, citizen-scientists jump on a recreational dive boat to go out to one of CRF’s coral tree nurseries. There, they work firsthand to grow and maintain corals. On some trips, participants will also go out to the reefs to outplant corals from the nurseries or monitor older outplants. “There is something truly unique about knowing you're helping give back to the ocean,” said J.D. Reinbott, volunteer coordinator. “It's also amazing to swim past outplanted coral fragments knowing you were the one who returned them to their ‘home.’ We highly encourage everyone to participate in some form of citizen-science at least once in their lives.” In 2019, CRF dive programs brought out 1,437 individuals who outplanted 4,941 corals onto reefs in the Keys. To sign up, visit https://www.coralrestoration.org/ dive-programs. Also visit https://www. coralrestoration.org/get-involved to learn more about other opportunities to get involved, including land/water volunteer positions and internships.

keysweekly.com 23


By Jim McCarthy

THE LATEST AND GREATEST

MARINE TECH With products engineered for life outside, the tech company Garmin is giving customers the chance to spend time pursuing their passions. From GPS navigation to wearable technology, Garmin is changing the game in the marine world to make for an even better day on the water. Fish finders, chart plotters, radars, marine smartwatches and security cameras are just a few of the many products Garmin offers to boaters and marine fanatics. Here’s some of the terrific marine tech found on the market today. With Garmin chartplotters, everything is at your fingertips to quickly and easily plan your route and set course. The GPS Map 8600 Series features 10- to 24inch full HD IPS touchscreen displays for wider viewing angles, superior clarity and sunlight readability, even with polarized sunglasses. Multiple displays can be flat mounted edge-to-edge to create a sleek glass helm look or can be mounted flush. It offers built-in support for its industry-leading sonar, including dual-channel 1 kW traditional CHIRP, CHIRP ClearVü and CHIRP SideVü scanning sonars, plus built-in support for ultra highdefinition scanning sonar (no black box required). The multisport GPS smartwatch Quatix 6X Solar lets you make the most of your time on the water. It combines the best of the fēnix® 6X Pro Solar watch with solar charging capabilities and specialized marine features for all your passions. Take the helm, and leave

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Florida Keys Summer Boating 2020

the cord at home. Solar charging lets you get up to 24 days of battery life. With its rugged design, this cocaptain is made for all conditions. inReach looks very much like a walkie talkie, and to an extent, it is. These handheld satellite communicators are designed for the outdoor enthusiast who wants to roam farther and experience more. Using the worldwide coverage of the Iridium satellite network, these goanywhere portable devices let you exchange text messages with any cell phone number or email address — while using GPS to track and share your journey’s progress. Every inReach device comes with free access to a cloud-powered Garmin Explore website to plan your trips with routes and waypoints, create preset messages and quick texts. ActiveCaptain is an app that can do a number of things while on your watercraft. Found in Google Play’s store for android phones and in Apple’s App Store for iPhones, the free, all-in-one app creates a powerful connection between your compatible mobile device and chartplotter, charts, maps and the community. Notifications from phones, including text messages and calls, appear on the compatible chart plotter. There’s also the ActiveCaptain Community where you can get the inside scoop on marinas and more from fellow boaters.


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keysweekly.com 25


Sport season lasts from 12:01 a.m. on July 29 to midnight on July 30.

The minimum length of carapace of a legal lobster.

TOP 10 WAYS TO WRECK LOBSTER SPORTS SEASON FOR EVERYONE 10. Asking a restaurant chef to cook a lobster that’s the size of a shrimp. 9. Repurposing the hotel’s sink as an impromptu barbecue grill.

$5

8. Complaining about “how we do things here” if you are from out of town. 7. Cause a three-hour traffic jam on the 18-Mile Stretch after not greasing the bearings on the boat trailer before leaving Miami-Dade, causing the wheels to lock up. 6. Failing to socially distance from not only fellow divers, but also from precious coral. 5. Using a flare gun to ward off “poachers” at “your” lobster hole to “maintain social distance.” 4. Haggling about price with the marine mechanic who is saving your (expletive deleted) season. 3. Captaining the boat like a “googan” — an overloaded vessel, improperly equipped, running too fast and too near other boats and divers. 2. Naming the lobster you caught “SPA.”

$17

Cost of annual saltwater fishing license for Florida residents. It’s also the cost of a three-day saltwater fishing license for out-of-state visitors.

Cost of a lobster stamp on the fishing license

$24,000,000

Money raked in by South Florida and the Keys each year thanks to recreational lobster harvesting, according to the University of Florida.

20”x24”

1. Double dipping — loading up lobsters, running home and dumping them off and going out again. is the required divers-down flag size each boat must have when diving to catch lobster.

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Florida Keys Summer Boating 2020


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1

2

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GOOD FOR YOU AND THE BLUE

Products protect reef, help nonprofits Here in the Keys, it’s all about the coral. The reef is the lynchpin of our economy and way of life and the source of our fun. When we go out on the sea, it’s important to use environmentally friendly products that don’t harm the environment. We picked a few of our favorites that not only do no environmental harm, but that also benefit local businesses and nonprofits who are working to conserve our beautiful ocean resources.

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Florida Keys Summer Boating 2020

3

5

1. REUSABLE BAG SUPPORTING CORAL RESTORATION FOUNDATION Days on the water always require lots of random stuff — masks, snorkels, towels, chips, etc. We like to store all of our gear for a fun day trip in a CRF Chico bag. Made from 100% recycled bottles, the bag helps divert trash from landfills, is perfect for use on the boat, and folds into its own pocket. Plus, proceeds help support CRF’s mission to restore the local reefs. Alice Grainger, communications manager, said, “The products we stock in our gift shop support our mission to save and restore coral reefs beyond the money that they bring into the organization. Our steel pints and reusable straws give people alternatives to single-use plastic products. On a macro level, every time we refuse plastics we are making a positive difference for our natural world, and, by extension, for the health and well being of humankind.”


Social Distancing made Easy on 64 Acres… 2. STREAM2SEA SUNSCREEN Local favorite Stream2Sea is made in Florida and has lots of history with the Keys. It’s proven to be reef-safe for the corals, fish-safe for the fishes and human-safe for us. A win-win-win! (Psst: their leave-in conditioner, sting gel and hand-sanitizer are also cult classics!) Founder Autumn Blum said, “As individuals, it’s hard to affect climate change and stop overfishing, but we can eliminate toxic ingredients from being directly released into our waters by simply choosing to purchase truly reef safe and biodegradable products.” 3. SUN SHIELD SUPPORTING REEF RELIEF No Florida boater is complete without a sun buff. It’s our preferred way to protect our faces here in the Keys from the sun. When you purchase one from Reef Relief, you help the Key West organization in their work to protect the reef. 4. REUSABLE DRINK CONTAINERS While everyone’s got their favorite way to store liquids (Tervis, Yeti, Nalgene), the one thing we can all agree on is that single-use plastics don’t belong on the boat! More recently, silipints — silicone reusable cups — have become popular branded items to take with you on your water adventures. Get one from

Crane Point Museum & Nature Center 5550 Overseas Highway • Marathon Mile Marker 50 at the stoplight • Walking and Hiking through Native Hardwood Hammock Nature Trails • Tour the Historic Adderly House - the oldest house in the Middle Keys • Fish Pedicures • Home of the Wild Bird Center • Scenic View from the Point • Site of Historic Train Car from 1934 • Butterfly Garden • Bee & Pollination Center for Viewing • STIP Nursery • Picnic in the Courtyard RANE • Museum & Gift Shop

C POINT

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Museum & Nature Center

Open 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Mon-Sat Noon-4 p.m. Sundays www.cranepoint.net

5. KEY DIVES/I.CARE SHIRTS MADE FROM PLASTIC BOTTLES With divers, palm trees, and adventure-themed shirts, Key Dives has some of the best designs around town. Another added bonus is that their new shirts and rash guards are made from plastic bottles. Each shirt upcycles eight bottles that otherwise would have ended up in the landfill, and the I.CARE shirts raise money for coral restoration in Islamorada. “We are extremely excited about our T-Shirts and rash guards made from recycled plastic bottles,” said Key Dives Marine Conservation Coordinator Cortney Benson. “Not only does this give us a great opportunity to bring awareness to the issue of single use plastics in our environment, it also allows us to give some of them a second purpose.”

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keysweekly.com 29


IAN WILSON/Keys Weekly

By Keys Weekly staff

OCEAN-FISHING AND LOBSTERING Mini-lobster season or any good day on a fishing boat can bring out the enthusiastic, and careless, kid in us. But safe practices mean a happy and healthy ocean. Nicole Uibel, a program coordinator at Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary who manages the Blue Star Fishing program, has worked on the sanctuary's boater education course. Uibel and the Blue Star Fishing guides are experts on how to fish and lobster responsibly. Here are her Dos and Don’ts for a day on the water. Do: Outsmart the lobster. “They use their antennae as sensory mechanisms,” says Uibel, “so one way to lure a lobster out of a hole is with a ‘tickle stick.’” Tickle the lobster’s antennae, and pull back — she’ll be curious and come out to investigate. It’s much less invasive than pulling them out. Don’t overturn coral heads. “Some people’s enthusiasm outweighs their sense of responsibility. Coral is so fragile,” she says. Look out for your flippers, and don’t reach out and grab the coral with your hands to pursue a fleeing lobster. Do: Take a boater education course through Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary or another outlet. “The course is about how to avoid damage to the Keys.” She also recommends a locationspecific course, to get to know the depth and terrain. Don’t accidentally cross into preservation areas that are “no touch, no take, no collecting, no possession.” Sanctuary areas are marked by yellow buoys. And remember, “no possession” means you can’t lobster elsewhere and then stop by Looe Key to go snorkeling with lobster on board — you could get a fine.

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Florida Keys Summer Boating 2020

Do: Know the draft of your vessel and the ebb and flow of the tides. Don’t blast out of seagrass! If you get stuck, stop, turn off your engine and try to push out to deeper water before turning it back on. “If you are really stuck, reach for the radio before you reach for the throttle,” she says. A tow boat is less expensive than the fine you could get, and it won’t further hurt the seagrass. Do: Catch what you can cook. Enjoy all that lobster and mahi within the legal limits — just be sure you have the appetite or the freezer space for it. Don’t take all you can get. “You don’t need to catch 10 dolphin if you’re staying in a hotel and just want dinner,” says Uibel.“The question should be ‘what do I need,’ not ‘how much can I take?’”

Blue Star fishing guide operators • 3rd Alarm Fishing - One Love Sportfishing, Islamorada • A Fishing Guide, Islamorada • Boneafide Charters, Little Torch Key • Compass Rose Charters, Key West • Doghouse Sportfishing Charters, Islamorada • Double Haul Charters, Summerland Key • First Choice Charters, Islamorada • Florida Keys Flats Fishing, Key Largo • Folklure Charters, Key West • Forever Young Charter Co., Islamorada • Keys Boat Tours, Sunshine Key • Mile Marker 27 Fishing Charters, Ramrod Key • R-U Fishing Yet Charters, Islamorada • Rusty's Bucket Charters, Key West • Tails Up Fishing Charters, Key Largo • World Angling, Sugarloaf Key • Yabba Dabba Doo! Charters, Islamorada


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Sharing the Water with Sea Turtles

• Watch out for sea turtles on the surface • Avoid trap ropes that may be floating • Stay alert and obey speed limits If you see a Sea Turtle in Distress: Call our 24 hr Hotline 305-481-7669 or Call FWC 888-404-FWCC or Radio Coast Guard VHF Ch. 16

www.turtlehospital.org

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keysweekly.com 31


Weekly Staff report

• The federal bag limit cannot be combined with the state bag limit. • Gear such as spears, hooks, wire snares and any device that could puncture, penetrate or crush the shell of the lobster is prohibited. It is illegal to spearfish for lobster. • Bully-netting is defined as using a circular frame attached at a right angle to the end of a pole and supporting a conical bag of webbing. Possession of bully nets is prohibited in Everglades National Park. • Hoop-netting is defined as using a frame, circular or otherwise, supporting a shallow bag of webbing and suspended by a line and bridles. Possession of hoop nets is prohibited in Everglades National Park.

Just the facts

DAVID GROSS/Contributed

LITTLE DETAILS MATTER WHEN LOBSTER HUNTING

• Egg-bearing (berried) spiny lobster and ridged slipper lobster (commonly known as shovelhead or bulldozer lobster) must be released unharmed. Stripping eggbearing females of eggs, and possession of spiny or ridged slipper lobster tails from which eggs have been removed, is prohibited. Eggs are an orange, yellow, brown or red mass found covering the underside of the lobster’s tail.

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Florida Keys Summer Boating 2020

• Spiny Lobster must have a minimum carapace length greater than 3 inches and the measurement must take place in the water. The carapace is measured beginning at the forward edge between the rostral horns, excluding soft tissue and proceeding along the middle to the rear edge of the carapace. All recreationally harvested lobster must remain in whole condition while at sea.

• Recreational harvesters are required to possess a valid Florida saltwater fishing license with a current lobster stamp. They can be purchased online at www.license.myfwc.com or by calling 1-888-HUNT-FLORIDA (4868356). The stamps cost $5; so, no excuses. • It is a felony to molest, damage, or take lobster from commercial traps in state or federal waters. • A diver-down flag must be prominently displayed when divers and snorkelers are in the water. • It is illegal to create “artificial habitat” — cement blocks, pipes and other debris intentionally placed on the ocean floor to lure spiny lobsters that seek the protection, cover and habitat.


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In an effort to cut back on turf wars, most cities in the Keys have invoked a special rule to keep down the neighbor-on-neighbor fights by establishing a ‘no-go’ zone.

Know the where’s Weekly Staff report

There are many places in the Keys where it’s illegal to take lobster any time of year. Let’s say you find a lobster poking out of a “casita,” or artificial habitat in state waters ... can’t have it. Don’t try lobstering in either Biscayne Bay or Card Sound, either; it’s against the law. And don’t look for lobster in the Dry Tortugas National Park or the Everglades National Park. And then there’s the areas within the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary that are also off limits. Most are Sanctuary Preservations Areas and are helpfully marked with a big round yellow buoy, but stay out of the Special Use Research Only Areas and the Ecological Reserves, too. There’s two other areas where lobstering is verboten. The first is the tiny town of Layton in the Middle Keys. No person shall remove by any means — trap, diving, etc. — any lobster from waters within city limits during sport or regular season. (But it is okay to unload your catch at a Layton dock if it was obtained legally in another part of the Keys.) The second is John Pennekamp State Park. No one is allowed to lobster during sport season. During regular season, it’s illegal to take lobster from natural coral formations or from the park’s special “Lobster Exclusion Zones” that are marked with white and orange spar buoys. So, if you come across a fabulous lobster hole and there’s nobody else around, chances are you’ve stumbled into the danger zone. So, just don’t. Pull anchor and get.

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Florida Keys Summer Boating 2020


‘No’ x 3 • Don’t take pregnant lobster. • Don’t spear lobster. (Think about it. By the time it’s been shot, it’s too late to discover Mr. Lobster is too short.) • Don’t mess with lobster traps. It’s a felony to rob a commercial fishermen of his livelihood.

‘Yes’ x 1 • It is okay to snorkel or dive for lobster in front of one’s home in Key West or unincorporated Monroe County, but don’t wander out of range. Lobsterers are allowed to the center-line of the canal or 100 feet out in open water during sport and regular seasons.

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Stay away • In an effort to cut back on turf wars, most cities in the Keys have invoked a special rule to keep down the neighbor-on-neighbor fights and, especially, the resident-on-visitor quarrels. Essentially, it establishes a “no go” zone to keep lobster hunters away from private property. In the following areas, there is no diving or snorkeling within 300 feet of enhanced residential or commercial shoreline, any manmade or private canal, any public or private marina. • In Marathon: During sport season only. • In Key Colony Beach: There is no lobstering within city limits during sport season, plus 4 days before and 10 days after regular season begins. During that time, no snorkeling or diving is allowed in city waters for safety reasons. • Islamorada: During sport season, plus 3 days before and 5 days after regular season begins. • Key West & unincorporated Monroe County: During sport season, plus 3 days before and 5 days after regular season begins.

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Know your boundaries

Designated in 1990, the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary protects the 2,900-square-nautical miles of waters surrounding the island of the Florida Keys, from Miami to the Tortugas. It is protected by a special set of rules and it is against the law to hunt lobster in certain areas of the Keys. Don’t lobster in the following areas:

Special-use recreational areas:

Special Preservation Areas (SPAs): > Carysfort Reef > Elbow > Key Largo Dry Rocks > Grecian Rocks > French Reef > Molasses Reef > Conch Reef

> Hen and Chickens > Davis Reef > Cheeca Rocks > Alligator Reef > Coffins Patch > Sombrero Key > Looe Key

> Newfound Harbor > Eastern Dry Rocks > Rock Key > Sand Key

No person shall remove by any means, whether by trap, diving, spearing or otherwise, any Florida spiny lobster from any waters within the Layton city limits.

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Florida Keys Summer Boating 2020

> Conch Reef > Tennessee Reef > Looe Key Patch Reef > Eastern Sambo

Ecological reserves: > Western Sambo > Tortugas (not marked, refer to GPS coordinates) Wildlife management area Existing management area


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There’s no better way to spend a summer day in the Keys than on the boat. Crystal clear waters mixed with hot temperatures in the 90s and over give locals and visitors a perfect escape to the ocean. From Key Largo to Key West, the island chain features sandbars, coral reefs, fishing spots and uninhabited islands that lure water and boating enthusiasts from all over. However, with more watercraft launching from ramps and marinas it also means more calls and reports of injured marine life from hull and propeller strikes. For instance, sea turtles can swim at bursts of 25 miles per hour. They’re no match for oncoming boats that may not be paying close attention to their nearby environments. As The Turtle Hospital in Marathon notes, a propeller can easily cut through the shell and sever or damage the spine. It can lead to paralysis or death.

WATCH FOR MARINE LIFE Propeller strikes can cause serious harm

Or, they are likely to develop “bubble butt,” which is caused by a boat hit while the turtle is breathing in air. Sudden shock or impact from a boat slamming on their shell forces air out of their lungs into their body cavity. Air is permanently trapped inside the body cavity. Over time, the shell distorts and a bubble forms on their “butt”, but it also causes these sea turtles to float permanently, which means they can not dive for food, escape predators or boat hits. Manatees also fall subject — and in cases, victim — to boating accidents. 2019 was a record year in the state of Florida in manatee deaths with more than 130 reported. Six of those were in the Keys. Approximately 25-30% of manatee deaths statewide are

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Florida Keys Summer Boating 2020

attributed to watercraft, according to Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation. In recent years, manatee deaths caused by blunt-force impacts (noncutting) have outpaced manatee deaths caused by propeller cuts, with a small portion of the deaths/injuries attributed to both causes. As boaters, pay attention to the effect you have on the environment since the water we all enjoy may be impacted by our actions. Every boater should learn and use safe boating practices that protect Florida’s waterways. What can you do? Here’s a few things to consider: • Abide by the posted speed zone signs while in areas known to be used by marine life or when observations indicate they might be present. • Wear polarized sunglasses to reduce glare on the surface of the water, which will enable you to see manatees and turtles more easily. • Try to stay in deep-water channels whenever possible. • Avoid boating over seagrass beds and shallow areas. Marine life can often found in shallow, slow-moving rivers, estuaries, lagoons, and coastal areas. • Remain at least 50 feet away from marine life when operating a powerboat. • Don’t discard monofilament line, hooks, or any other litter into the water. Manatees and other wildlife may ingest or become entangled in this debris and can become injured or even die. Deflated balloons and plastic trash bags are dangerous for turtles who mistake them for jellyfish and try to eat them. For more information, visit myfwc.com

DOUG FINGER/Keys Weekly

By Jim McCarthy


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