Around the Sanctuary

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Photo of diver with a spiny lobster.

Get Prepared for Low-Impact Lobstering
Lobster season is one of the busiest times in the Florida Keys, as thousands of visitors and residents hit the waters in search of one of their favorite delicacies, the Florida spiny lobster. With smart choices, you can lower your impact on sensitive coral reefs, plus other natural resources, that you are here to enjoy. Mini-season is the largest two-day recreational diving event in the world, and sees an average of two fatalities each year. You can also increase your safety odds with proper preparation.  More...

This disc-like flange, located on several beacon piles, was possibly a turning mechanism. Photo credit: T. Hitchins.

Historic Beacons Warned Wayward Sailors
Beginning in the fifteenth century, European exploration and colonization brought increasing numbers of voyagers along the Florida Keys and within reach of the treacherous reefs of the Florida Straits. The next several centuries saw the ruin of hundreds of vessels transiting this seaway. Beginning in 1849, the U. S. Coast Survey, a predecessor of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, began mapping the Keys and marking reefs. By 1853, construction began on unlit markers, labeled "A" through "P," that worked like signposts to indicate reef positions to mariners. These would become known as the “Totten Beacons” after Lieutenant James B. Totten, the U.S. Army Assistant to the Coast Survey who oversaw their construction.  More...

Fort Jefferson.

Students Break Stereotypes with Sanctuary Cleanup
It’s no secret that college students hop from bar to bar in the Florida Keys for spring break, but one group of students broke with stereotypes when they picked up trash at bars of a different kind: protected sandbars. For the fourth year in a row, students from the University of Florida’s Alpha Zeta fraternity chose to donate time from their spring break to help clean up marine debris from sandbars and shorelines in Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.  More...

Fort Jefferson.

Sanctuary Seminar Sheds Light on Lighthouse, Lobsters, and Undersea Lab
Get enlightened about Loggerhead Key Lighthouse and explore an undersea lab in this winter’s “Sanctuary Seminar” series, which also features talks on lobsters, canal restoration efforts and the current state of Florida Bay. In honor of the National Park Service’s 100th anniversary in 2016, Dry Tortugas National Park experts will share plans to relight historic Loggerhead Key Lighthouse and stabilize Civil-War era Fort Jefferson.  More...