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Protecting Florida Marine Life: Boating 101

Protecting Florida Marine Life: Boating 101

When thoughts of Florida come to mind, visions of sun-kissed white sandy beaches, crystal clear aqua blue waters, and the magnificent marine life that calls these waters home are what immediately spring to mind. Florida’s entire coastline, from the Panhandle all the way down to the Keys, is a haven for millions of people who live, travel, and boat here daily. At Galati Yacht Sales, we share in the love of our Florida beaches and marine life just as fervently as the next person. Nevertheless, the dangers that pose a threat to our oceans and marine life, such as rising sea levels, oil spills, and harmful algal blooms, are ever-present. Although we may not be able to control every factor, we can do our share to safeguard our marine life and preserve the cleanliness of our oceans.

Endangered Florida Marine Life

florida manatee

Often, we as boaters and beachgoers take the ocean and what lies within it for granted. For our Florida marine life, the ocean is more than a blue water arena and a place to escape reality. Many of these marine species are fighting to keep their nesting spots and homes from getting destroyed. All while living in trash and litter from in-land variables, beachgoers, and boaters every day. The ripple effect—many Florida marine species are endangered or threatened due to careless actions.

So, as we start to enjoy Florida’s beautiful coastal waters this boating season, we want you to be aware of guidelines we should all be following to help protect our Florida marine life and beaches.


Helpful Tips on Protecting Florida Marine Life

trash found in marine life

One of the biggest threats to sea turtles and many other Florida marine species is the indigestion of plastic bags, straws, and other trash. Thousands of sea turtles die every year from eating or getting entangled in plastic bags and other plastic material floating in the water. They confuse trash with their most common food source, the jellyfish. Picking up after your selves and others play a huge role in the safety of these animals.

One way we can do our part is to carry a garbage bag when going to the beach or while out on a boat. If you spot any trash, fishing lines, or any other unwanted objects, be kind and dispose of it.

  • Always clean up your fishing line and or fishing nets while out on the boat or fishing inland. Line and nets end up entangling wildlife including sea turtles, birds, dolphins, and many other Florida marine species, usually ending in fatality.
  • Never disturb a turtle crawling to or from the sea. You may watch from a distance but be sure to have your light turned off as well as your camera flash. That goes for any marine animal. Always keep a safe distance from you and any marine species while boating or beach-going.
  • Follow the rules on the water. When using a boat or other motorized water vessel be sure to respect the rules and speeds of the waterways. These rules are in place specifically to protect our marine life.
  • Watch out for dolphins during the late spring and summer months. These are the month’s dolphins give birth. Many times these marine animals do not get out of the way of approaching boats. These collisions are many times fatal or very serious. Also, baby dolphins lack the skills to avoid boaters.

    Tips for Boaters: Protecting Florida Marine Life

    collecting trash while boating: protecting florida marine life

  • Follow Coast Guard-approved boating guidelines
  • Wear polarized sunglasses to help spot wildlife easier.
  • Do not feed any of the wildlife. This could encourage them to approach people in high traffic areas causing them harm. It is also illegal.
  • Be sure to stow trash and line when underway. The top ocean pollution comes from cigarette buds, paper pieces, Styrofoam, glass, plastic food bags, and straws.
  • Designate a spotter when boating to look out for marine life and signs
  • Stay in deep-water channels whenever possible.
  • Avoid seagrass beds and shallow areas
  • Keep reusable items such as plates, silverware, cups, and glasses onboard to reduce waste.

    How Can You Help Protect Marine Life and Our Oceans?

    Get involved. Whether it’s a local weekly beach cleanup or volunteering for a wildlife sanctuary, there is much we can to help play a part in protecting our Florida marine life and oceans. Call up your local marine rescue resource organization and ask how you can get involved.

    Team Galati Attributions

    Galati Yacht Sales is proud to a part of the Clean Marina Program. A voluntary designation program with a proactive approach to environmental stewardship. To become designated as a Florida Clean Marina, facilities must implement a set of environmental measures designed to protect Florida’s waterways and marine species. These measures address critical environmental issues such as endangered marine life habitats, waste management, stormwater control, spill prevention, and emergency preparedness.

    GYS is also a proud supporter of the Billfish Foundation. A non-profit organization working worldwide to advance the conservation of Billfish and associated species— to improve the health of oceans and economies. The organization has managed to distinguish itself from other fish conservation organizations through a sustained emphasis on synthesizing science and policy into effective, yet reasonable, fishery management solutions. These solutions are good for the fish and not punishable to recreational anglers.

    In addition, history was made in 2018 with the development of the first-ever Underwater Museum of Art in the nation! Thanks to the Cultural Arts Alliance of Walton County (CAA), permanent underwater art pieces are deployed into the Gulf to develop into artificial reefs. Every year a juried selection of art pieces are installed in the underwater garden. These pieces quickly attract a large variety of marine life and overtime will metamorphize into a living reef. Galati Yacht Sales was proud to sponsor this awesome achievement in growing our local ecosystem and supporting marine life in.

    What you can do if you see a marine animal violation?

    To report marine mammal violations, such as people feeding, attempting to feed, or harassing marine mammals in the wild, please contact the national NOAA Fisheries Enforcement Hotline: 1-800-853-1964. Information can be left anonymously.


    Experience Florida and All It Has to Offer

     If you are intrigued by Florida’s marine species and waterways plan a visit to the gulf coast. Galati Yacht Sales offers charter vacations along Florida’s gulf coast, including Sarasota, Tampa, St. Petersburg, and Anna Maria Island. Enjoy a hands-off, luxury yachting experience on the water with family & friends. Not to mention, take in the sights of local marine life and experience the ocean in a whole new way. Let us help you discover a new way to vacation.

    Cited: Ocean Conservancy

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