Boater Rules and Regulations

Flamingo Marina with Fishing Line Bin

Being prepared reduces the risk of getting lost, running aground, paying towing fees, and damaging boats and park resources.

Navigable waters cover one third of Everglades National Park, creating excellent fishing and boating opportunities, but boating in the park is challenging. Boaters should be properly prepared in order to be safe, abide by the law, and protect park resources.


Park Boating Regulations

In addition to Coast Guard Regulations and Florida State Regulations, the following Everglades National Park regulations apply:

  • Collecting plants and animals is prohibited. This includes orchids, air plants, sea horses, starfish, tropical fish, marine snails (live or dead), lobster, coral, sponges and driftwood.
  • Harassing wildlife is prohibited.
  • Recreational boaters are required to complete the park's Boater Education Program and carry the certificate while boating in the park.

Safety Reminders

  • Check weather and tide predictions before leaving shore and always be prepared for mosquitoes.
  • Always carry a nautical chart and compass as it is easy to become lost or to run aground in park waters.
  • Avoid propeller damage by using marked channels, navigational aids, and push-poles or paddles. Propeller damage to seagrass beds is harmful to the marine ecosystem and is illegal.

Prohibited Craft

  • Water skis: The towing of persons by vessels utilizing water skis, hydra slides, knee boards, or other similar types of equipment.

  • Personal Watercraft: The operation of personal watercraft, also known as “Wet Bikes”, “Jet Skis”, and other trade names.

  • Submersibles: The use of manned and unmanned submersible watercraft

  • Unmanned Aircraft: Use of any device that is used or intended to be used for flight in the air without the possibility of direct human intervention from within or on the device. This includes drones, quadcopters, and rc planes.

Motors Prohibited

Combustion engines and/or trolling motors must be removed from the boat’s transom and/or bow before entering the areas below:

  • All Freshwater lakes, including Paurotis and Nine Mile Ponds.
  • Noble Hammock and Hells Bay Canoe Trails (Park Road to Lard Can).
  • Long Lake to the mouth of Garfield Bight. *Note* Watercraft with engines of 6 hp or less are permitted on West Lake, but not beyond.
  • Little Henry, Henry, Monroe, Middle and Seven Palm Lakes.
  • Joe and Snag Bays and all inland creeks and lakes north of Long Sound, except for the ponds and lakes associated with Taylor River.
  • Coot Bay Pond, Mud Lake and Bear Lake.
  • The Homestead Canal and all small lakes along the canal.
  • All associated small lakes on Cape Sable inland from Lake Ingraham.

Closed Areas

Closed areas represent less than one percent of the total park area.

  • All keys (islands) in Florida Bay are closed to protect bird nesting areas (see exceptions below).

  • Wading within 100 feet of any closed area is prohibited.

  • Moats and internal creeks associated with Buchanan Keys.

  • Exceptions: Landing and camping are permitted on North Nest Key, Little Rabbit Key and Cape Sable. Carl Ross Key is open for summer day use. Bradley Key is open for day use all year. Permits are required for camping.

Little Madeira Bay, Taylor River, East Creek, Mud Creek, Mud Bay, Davis Creek, and all creeks and bays inland from the northern shoreline of Long Sound to U.S 1.

The small group of islands to the south southeast of Everglades City, known as the Lane Cove Colony, approximate position N 25 50.507 W 081 24.448, as marked.

  • Rodgers Bay Rookery

  • Cuthbert Lakes and Rookery

  • Other areas may be posted by order of the Park Superintendent.

Idle Speed Zones

For operation of a vessel below 5 mph

Marker 42 Creek, the Boggies, Shell Creek, Nest Key as posted and McCormick Creek.

  • Florida Bay and Whitewater Bay boat basins.

  • Tarpon, Avocado, and North Prong Creeks.

  • Buttonwood and East Cape Canals where marked.

  • Shoreline of Florida Bay east of the marina as posted.

Alligator Creek, Plate Creek, Halfway Creek, Gopher Key Creek where marked.
Between Wilderness Waterway Markers 86 & 87.

Pole/Troll Zones

  • Pole/Troll Zones are generally defined as any area in Florida Bay less than two feet deep.
  • Combustion motors may not be operated in these areas; all propulsion is by poling, paddling, or use of electric trolling motors.

Manatee Protection Zones

  • Park waters in the Everglades City and Chokoloskee areas are posted as idle speed, slow speed, or limited speed zones for manatee protection.

  • Please observe manatee protection signs in these areas and throughout Everglades National Park.

Last updated: July 30, 2019

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40001 State Road 9336
Homestead, FL 33034-6733


305 242-7700

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