The use of mooring buoys has gained acceptance as an effective coral reef protection method. It is estimated that coral reef managers have installed more than 6,000 mooring buoys worldwide.
To help protect coral reefs, Florida law prohibits dropping anchors on living coral. As further protection, a mooring buoy system was installed so that boaters can moor on the reefs without using an anchor, and avoid violating the law or damaging the reef.
Anchors damage coral reefs by crushing and killing the marine life on which they fall. Once damaged, the reef may take decades to recover. If repeated anchoring occurs, recovery is unlikely and the reef may not survive.
The Broward County mooring buoys were installed as a joint project by the Natural Resources Planning and Management Division, Ocean Watch Foundation, Florida Boating Improvement Program, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, along with the support of local dive operators and volunteers.
Using the Buoys
Retrieve the pick-up line with your boat hook.
Pass your bow-line through the eye of the pick-up line.
Never tie your boat directly to the mooring buoy pick-up line. Use a separate bow-line.
The mooring buoy design is simple. Each mooring consists of three interlocking sections of floating line: the pick-up line, buoy through-line, and down-line that passes through the buoy and shackle to a stainless steel anchor pin cemented into the sea floor. The moorings are strong, but are designed for use by small to medium size boats, up to 60 feet in length, in relatively calm weather.
The followingsteps show how to use the buoys correctly. Following these steps will make your trip to the reef safe and more enjoyable.
- Have your boat hook and bow-line ready.
- Carefully approach the buoy from down wind or current.
- Inspect the buoy as you approach. Make sure the mooring is in good shape before you tie off.
- Retrieve the pick-up line with your boat hook (top right photo).
- Pass your bow-line through the eye of the pick-up line. (center right photo)Put out extra scope and cleat the bow-line off securely.
- It is important to put out extra scope in rough weather.
- Never tie your boat directly to the mooring buoy pick-up line (bottom right photo) as you may damage your boat and place too much strain on the mooring.
- Someone who knows how to operate the boat should always remain onboard.
As the boat operator, you are responsible for the safety of your boat and passengers.
- To leave the buoy, untie one end of your bow-line and let it slip free of the pick-up line.
- Retrieve your bow-line and maneuver slowly until you are clear of the buoys and other boaters.
Mooring Buoy Locations
Pompano Drop-Off - 52 Buoys
26° 13.034'N - 80° 05.028'W
Hall of Fame-9 Buoys
26° 11.581'N - 80° 05.00'W
Anglin's Ledge-11 Buoys
26° 11.338'N - 80° 05.246'W
Oakland Ridges-15 Buoys
26° 09.276'N - 80° 05.072'W
The Caves-10 Buoys
26° 07.631'N - 80° 05.354'W
Barracuda Reef-25 Buoys
26° 04.575'N- 80° 05.505'W
Report a Buoy Problem
Broward County mooring buoys are maintained by the Natural Resources Planning and Management Division. For more information or to report a problem concerning the buoys, please call 954-519-1270. Broward County assumes no responsibility for use of the buoys.
Marine Waste Disposal Program
Broward County Waste and Recycling Services offers a program to dispose of marine hazardous waste generated by private boaters. The program is free for Broward County residents and drop-off sites are conveniently located in Pompano Beach, Davie and West Park.
Among the items accepted are motor oil, engine fluids, gasoline, flares and fire extinguishers. For more information, call 954-765-4999 or visit the Broward County Web Site as www.broward.org/Waste And Recycling and click HOUSEHOLD HAZARDOUS WASTE.