Seagrass safe boating
Summer boating season is in full swing! In my mind, almost nothing beats a beautiful day on the water. Florida has plenty of gorgeous coastal areas for boating, but boat traffic can take a toll on sensitive habitats like seagrass. Want to do your part to protect seagrass while boating? A great way to start is by taking the Seagrass Safe Boating pledge. It is important to prevent seagrass scarring whenever possible, as seagrass takes years to heal naturally and restoration is expensive.
Seagrass safe boating is fairly simple. Just be aware of tides and plan your trip so you are not caught over shallow grass flats. Avoid boating over seagrass when possible by using known deep water areas and navigational channels. Trim up (tilt) your motor if you are boating over seagrass to reduce the chance that you’ll cut into the grass. Finally, if you do find yourself grounded on seagrass, never try to power off! Turn off and lift your motor out of the water, get out and push your boat to deeper water. Attempting to power off will create a large blow-hole that will not heal naturally, and will likely also cause damage to your motor.
This year, we have lots of great prizes that we are giving away to several lucky boaters who take the pledge. Prizes include t-shirts, sunscreen packs, stickers, and other great stuff. But prizes are not really what we stand to gain by protecting seagrass.
Why care about seagrass?
You can learn more about the “secrets of seagrass” in this fun and informational presentation I gave at Cypress and Grove Brewery earlier this year. In short, seagrass is really cool and provides lots of beneficial services! So, the least we can do is give seagrass a little extra thought when we are out on the water.