Boat Groundings

Boat which has come almost completely out of the water resting on the sea bottom with two people onboard
Running aground not only damages reefs and seagrass meadows, it also damages boats.

NPS photo

Below the crystal clear water of Biscayne Bay lies an important and fragile world of seagrass meadows. This ecosystem is significant to the health and vitality of the park and wildlife. Seagrasses help stabilize sediments on the bay bottom and keep the water clear. They provide nurseries for shrimp, lobster and many fish, and ideal grazing for manatees, turtles, urchins and other sea creatures.

Seagrass meadows and coral reefs may be damaged extensively by watercraft. Propeller scars provide visible reminders of this. It can take years for seagrass to recover or it may never grow back at all. Running into the meadows and reefs also damages or destroys boats. Attempting to power out of the seagrass often pulls sediment into engine cooling systems and blows large holes in the meadows.

With your help and care, the wonderful resources of the park will be around, in all their splendor, for future generations to enjoy.

  • Use nautical charts
  • See tide predictions
  • Use electronic navigation/GPS equipment
  • Learn how to read the water and wear polarized sunglasses
  • Watch the weather
  • In restricted visibility, slow down

Grounded boats should -

  • STOP! Attempting to power off can cause significant damage to boats and to park resources
  • Trim the motor up
  • Try to push or pole the boat off, following the route entered
  • Wait for high tide in order to drift free
  • Call for commercial assistance on VHF channel 16

Last updated: February 24, 2021

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Mailing Address:

9700 SW 328th Street
Sir Lancelot Jones Way

Homestead, FL 33033


305 230-1144

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