The Florida Boaters Guide: A Handbook of Boating Laws and Responsibilities
The Official Boating Handbook of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission - Web Version
Table of Contents
Seagrasses are plants totally adapted to living underwater. Their canopy of leaves and net of roots create a stable and protected habitat for marine life.
Seagrass benefits the environment by providing habitat for young stages of fish, crustaceans, and shellfish, which are important to commercial and recreational industries. Seagrass stabilizes bottom sediments and filters nutrients from the water, aiding the growth of other marine life.
Seagrass loss in watersheds of estuarine and marine systems is caused by human activities, such as dredge and fill activities, coastal development, nutrient pollution, degraded water, propeller scarring, and interruption of natural hydrology.
If boating in shallow areas or seagrass beds, you could see a mud trail in your wake where your propeller has churned up the bottom, clouded the water, and likely cut seagrass roots. If you see this trail, you should: stop your vessel, tilt your motor out of the water, and pole or walk your vessel out of the shallow area or seagrass bed.
Destruction of seagrass in aquatic preserves is a violation of Florida Law and carries a penalty of up to $1,000. Avoid damaging seagrass by knowing your boat's operating depth and navigating in marked channels. Anchor only in bare sandy bottoms.