The Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary established the Blue Star program to recognize tour operators committed to promoting responsible and sustainable diving, snorkeling, and fishing practices.
The program’s goal is to reduce the impact of recreational activities on ecosystems in the Florida Keys. Through education, Blue Star operators help to keep the reefs and other coastal ecosystems healthy.
Operators become Blue Star recognized by attending annual training on issues affecting coral reefs, sanctuary regulations and coral reef etiquette. In turn, they educate their customers and participate in conservation activities.
“This education is important because the natural resources of the Florida Keys are stressed by a range of daunting factors, including overuse by uninformed or irresponsible visitors,” the program’s introductory webpage says.
The sanctuary has just added new operators in the Middle and Upper Keys: Keys Boat Tours of Ohio Key and KeyZ Charters of Islamorada. Keys Boat Tours is recognized as a Blue Star diving operator and fishing guide. KeyZ Charters offers eco- and historic tours, snorkeling, sunset cruises and more. More information is at sanctuarybluestar.org or email [email protected].