Be safe - it's a long way to the hospital!

Fort Jefferson

The Dry Tortugas National Park has much to offer. To reach this remote ocean wilderness one must travel by boat or plane over 68 miles of open sea. Visiting such an isolated place means that you need to be prepared, not only for rough seas, but for primitive conditions. There are no public phones, restrooms or snack bars.

Make sure you bring anything that you may need, such as protective clothing, sunscreen, or medication (especially for motion sickness). You will not be able to purchase these items in the park.



  • A designated snorkel area is located near the campground. Snorkeling along the outside of the moat wall or around the pilings of the south coaling dock is recommended.
  • Before snorkeling, make sure that all equipment fits properly. There are no guards on duty, so swim at your own risk. No swimming or snorkeling is permitted inside the moat.
  • An approved dive flag must be displayed at all times when snorkeling outside of the designated snorkel area.
  • For your safety never snorkel alone - always use the “buddy system”
  • If you need to stand up, stand on the sand. Never stand on coral or seagrass, as standing can kill these valuable resources.
  • Shipwrecks and all historic artifacts are protected by law.
  • Do not disturb coral or shells. All coral, living and dead, is protected from collection.



Questions To Ask Yourself

  • Have you left your trip plans with a fellow camper?
  • Do you have a VHF radio?
  • What is your plan for self rescue?
  • How will you call for help if you need it?
  • How will you identify your location if you are able to contact searchers. ?
  • How will you signal searchers?
  • Do you have an anchor or sufficient line to tie off to buoys or markers to minimize drift?
  • Is the weather forcast for winds less than 10 mph and calm seas for the duration of the open water kayak trip?
  • What are the tides and currents? Are they favorable for your planned trip?
  • Does everyone in your group have open water kayak experience?
  • Are the kayaks sit-on-top self bailing kayaks?
  • Are the kayaks brightly colored?
  • Are you aware of landing areas and swim areas on Loggerhead Key?

Kayakers must be able to self rescue and reenter their kayaks. If you are unable to re-enter your boat you must be able to immediately call for help. If you call for help you must know or be able to describe your location. You must have a way to signal a searcher. Signals must be visible at night, in daylight, from a plane, or a boat.


Be cautious while recreating at the park. Do not approach marine life such as sharks, and jellyfish. These are wild animals that could actively or unknowingly cause harm.

Last updated: May 19, 2017

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

40001 SR-9336
Homestead, FL 33034


(305) 242-7700

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