Important Information

There are various endangered and protected species of seagrass and coral, including protected critical habitat, throughout Southeast Florida. Some species are protected under the Endangered Species Act, while all coral within state waters is protected under the Coral Reef Protection Act. Spectator vessels are advised not anchor on or above seagrass, hardbottom, or coral and doing so may subject them to criminal and/or civil penalties.

All vessels should maintain a lookout for endangered and protected species including sea turtles, manatees, and the Bottlenose Dolphin. Vessels should proceed at a safe speed, especially at night, in order to avoid striking any marine mammal or sea turtle.

Federal or state agency may impose a civil fine of $25,000 and/or a criminal penalty of $50,000 and/or up to 1 year in jail for violating the Endangered Species Act or state statute by “taking” an endangered or threatened species or damaging sea grass and coral.

A “take” is defined as harassing, harming, pursuing, hunting, shooting, wounding, killing, trapping, capturing, collecting, or attempting to engage in such conduct.

Any collision with and/or injury to a endangered or protected species (including sea turtle, manatee or smalltooth sawfish) shall be reported immediately by phone, letter and electronic copy to:

a. National Marine Fisheries Service’s Protected Resources Division at,

b. Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s Law Enforcement hotline at 1 -888-404-FWCC

c. Local authorized sea turtle stranding/rescue organization.