Resource Protection


Marine sanctuaries protect our nation's most important marine ecosystems, conserving the ocean and coasts for present and future generations. Marine sanctuaries strive to protect these ecosystems while balancing resource protection with commercial, recreational, cultural, scientific, and educational uses. Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary accomplishes this balance through a suite of strategies including regulations, marine zones, outreach efforts, and permitting programs.

grounded boat

Boating in the Florida Keys
Navigating Florida's shallow waters can be a challenge for even the most experienced boater. With a little care, you can avoid damaging valuable Keys habitat (and your boat) and avoid fines, fees, and other costs associated with running aground. More


hands working with coral

Coral Rescue and Protection Program
Corals are protected within Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, but sanctuary managers must balance that protection with the periodic construction that occurs in areas where coral is present. The sanctuary removes coral colonies from docks, seawalls, and shoreline stabilization projects, rescuing them from damage that would have otherwise occurred during construction. More


corals in nursery

Coral Nurseries
To help replenish wild populations of corals, whether in areas where there has been a vessel grounding or areas where coral populations have declined, Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary-permitted researchers grow corals in underwater nurseries. More


people kayaking

Sanctuary Marine Zones
Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary established the nation’s first comprehensive network of marine zones in 1997 after years of planning, design, and public input. The marine zoning plan for the sanctuary includes five types of zones with varying levels of protection. More


diver over a reef

Reef Etiquette
Every year more than 700,000 divers and snorkelers take to the water to discover the wonder and beauty that Florida Keys coral reefs have to offer, which can take a toll on the reef and the critters that call the reef home. The good news is that there are things you can do to minimize your impact on the reef while continuing to enjoy its beauty. More


people fishing

Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary Regulations
Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary visitors are invited to dive, swim, snorkel, or fish; however, rules and regulations are in place to make sure that these activities only happen in ways – and at places – that are not harmful to sanctuary resources. More