The Monroe County Marine Resources Office works to protect the nearshore marine environment, provide public water access, and manage boating and waterway infrastructure in Florida Keys’ waters. Waters surrounding the Florida Keys are protected and regulated by state statute and federal laws, as well as County and City codes. Chapter 26 of the Monroe County Municipal Code provides for boating and waterway regulations established by the County. Jurisdictional boundaries of Monroe County include the waters within 3 miles on the oceanside and 9 miles on the bayside.
The Marine Resources Office manages Boating Improvement Funds that are utilized for a variety of boating and waterway purposes including waterway marker maintenance, derelict vessel removal, vessel sewage pump-out services, and boat ramp repairs. These funds are generated from recreational vessel registration fees and provide an annual budget of approximately $650,000. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) conducts a yearly audit of these funds to ensure they are properly spent.
Please note that Monroe County does not regulate fishing. This is done through state and federal agencies. However, Monroe County does regulate diving and snorkeling activities Opens a New Window. during the three days preceding sport season, the entirety of sport season and the first five days of regular recreational lobster season, as well as regulating the use of spearguns in man-made canals.
In coordination with other county offices and state and federal agencies, the Marine Resources Office provides the following primary services:
- Derelict and Abandoned Vessel Removal Opens a New Window.
- Vessel Pump-Out Services Opens a New Window.
- Anchoring and Mooring Management a New Window.
- Waterway Marker Maintenance
The mission of the Marine Resources Office is to help protect and conserve the marine environment of the Florida Keys within Monroe County in a manner consistent with the Monroe County 2030 Comprehensive Plan and to provide for the adequate and appropriate use of the Keys' marine resources.