• Purple, yellow, gold and orange sponges and soft corals wave against a turquioise sea.

    Biscayne

    National Park Florida

There are park alerts in effect.
hide Alerts »
  • Boat Tours, Paddle-craft Rentals and Select Conveniences Temporarily Unavailable

    Glass-bottom, snorkel, diving and island boat tours, and rentals for canoes and other paddle-craft, are temporarily unavailable. The park is working to resolve the issue as soon as possible and regrets the inconvenience. Limited snack items are available.

New Markers Installed on Fragile Park Shoals

PATON project map

Subscribe RSS Icon | What is RSS
News Release Date: November 20, 2013
Contact: Amanda Bourque, 786-335-3626
Contact: Matt Johnson, 786-335-3679

In an effort to protect fragile seagrass shoals and improve boater safety, Biscayne National Park recently completed the installation of fourteen fixed shoal markers around the Featherbed Banks in southern Biscayne Bay. The installation of the shoal markers was made possible in part with funding from the South Florida National Parks Trust.

Vessel groundings cause extensive damage to seagrass and coral reef habitat in the park, and boaters running aground risk personal injury and property damage. Seagrass and mixed seagrass-coral shoals such as the Featherbed Banks perform critical ecosystem functions and provide habitat for many important species, including protected species such as manatees, sea turtles, and dolphins. When seagrass roots are destroyed it takes years for them to grow back.

The shallow Featherbed Banks support vibrant seagrass communities, but unfortunately are vessel grounding hotspots due to their central location in the park. Until now, the Featherbeds area lacked sufficient markers to warn boaters of the danger. The park hopes that the new shoal markers, in addition to existing markers and navigational aids, will result in fewer vessel groundings in the area.

Boaters are advised to keep a look out for the new markers, which are white diamond-shaped signs with an orange border, marked with "Danger Shoal" in black letters. Always plan your route across the bay in advance, but if you come upon a shoal marker, reduce your speed and go around the shoal.

For additional information about the park, visit www.nps.gov/bisc. For regular updates from the park "like" us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/biscaynenps, or follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/biscaynenps.

-NPS-

About the National Park Service: More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America's 401 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more at www.nps.gov.

Did You Know?

Dante Fascell Visitor Center

Biscayne National Park's Dante Fascell Visitor Center's architecture is based on the old "House of Refuge" on Miami Beach, a place for shipwreck survivors to take shelter.