A series of boat speed regulatory zones surrounds most of the Florida coast; these zones were designed for the protection of manatees. A major threat to this threatened species' survival is accidental boat strikes. Enforcing reduced boat speeds in areas frequented by these slow-moving mammals is one way to ensure their survival.
Within Biscayne National Park, there is a year-round slow speed zone that runs from Black Point south to Turkey Point. This zone extends from the mainland and out 1000 feet. It includes the boat channels at Black Point Park and Homestead Bayfront Park. In addition, the marinas at Black Point and Homestead Bayfront Parks are year-round idle speed / no wake zones.
Additionally, Biscayne National Park has implemented a slow speed zone in Biscayne Bay from Sands Cut to Coon Point. The zone was established after many months of public input in order to provide for public safety and protection of recreational resources in this high visitor use area.
Tall, white pencil buoys mark this area along the bayside shoreline of Sands and Elliott Keys. The buoys roughly follow the western edge of the shoal area, far enough off shore to allow vessels entering the zone ample time to come off plane before reaching the congested area popular for anchoring, swimming and other recreational pursuits. See the Slow Speed Zones Map.
How slow is slow?
Idle Speed, No Wake — proceeding at the minimum speed necessary to maintain steerage of the vessel while producing no wake.
Slow Speed, Minimum Wake — off plane, the hull fully settled into the water, with no wake or minimum wake.