June 1, 2021
Boater Education Course Protects the Waterways of Everglades National Park
Floridians are found boating around the waters of South Florida year-round, but now that summer is unofficially here, the need to be on the sea becomes even greater.
So we helped Everglades National Park develop a free online boater education course to orient and educate boaters to the unique features of the park’s marine waters. Since the course launched in 2019, our overall goal has been to protect marine resources while providing world-class recreational opportunities.
Completion of this course is actually required for any boat operator to recreate within the park and it serves as a great refresher to native Floridians who find themselves on the water on a regular basis, but it’s an absolutely necessary tool in teaching visitors about the unique challenges that are present in our waterways, including the need to protect and preserve our vulnerable marine life and plant life.
Tourism and related industries are the lifeblood of southern Florida. Economic impact studies have demonstrated that Everglades National Park visitors alone spend over $100 million in the area each year, which our local businesses depend upon.
National parks were created for all to enjoy and we want to provide all visitors to Everglades National Park with the opportunity to recreate responsibly within it.
Did you know?
- Fishing is the number one activity in the marine areas of Everglades National Park. Over 90% of boaters are fishing.
- The underlying bottom of all marine waters in Everglades National Park has been given a rare and important level of protection as designated wilderness in order to maintain and enhance the natural and ecological conditions.
- Current research shows that the seagrass scars left by boats can take more than seven years to recover. This leaves the area susceptible to erosion and exposes the many species living there to predators.
- More than one-third of Florida Bay is protected by shallow-water zoning.
These are just a few of the very important facts covered in the free online boater education course. Since it launched in 2019, more than 10,000 boaters have completed this course, helping to increase the protection of this sensitive resource.