Looe Key Existing Management Area

Since 1981, Looe Key reef has been federally protected, first as a national marine sanctuary and now as an Existing Management Area within Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.

Looe Key Existing Management Area is a 5.32 square nautical mile area with which contains the Looe Key Sanctuary Preservation Area and the Looe Key Special-use Research Only Area.

Looe Key was named for the wreck of the British frigate, H.M.S. Loo, which ran aground in the early morning hours of February 5, 1744, pushed, according to British courts, into the reef by the Florida current. Little remains of the wreck but its story. The ship was named after an old seaport town in Cornwall, England, and was launched in 1706. Thirteen commanders later, it ran aground on what was then a sandy island. The most widely reported reason given for the added "e" to Loo on the charts is that it resulted from a clerk's error in listing the ship as "HMS Looe" on admiralty documents created after the vessel was lost.

Special regulations apply here. Learn more about what activities are allowed in this type of zone.

View a map showing the location of buoys within Looe Key Existing Management Area.