Fresh off of our successful and invigorating beach and mangrove clean up at Boca Grande, Fury received some pretty spectacular news from NOAA’s Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. We were just named the newest NOAA Blue Star operator in the Florida Keys to promote education and conservation of the marine sanctuary.
The program started in 2009 to recognize charter operators that protect our reef’s ecosystem by promoting responsible Key West snorkeling and diving practices through educating guests about the damage that humans can cause to the reef. For anyone who’s been aboard a Fury snorkeling excursion, then you’re well aware that we take protecting our reefs seriously.
On the way out to the reef, “Snorkel School” is mandatory. Our crew educates our guests about the ecosystem of the third largest barrier reef in the world (yes, we’re very lucky!), how to use the snorkel equipment, and safety signals. We always drive home the fact that no one is to touch the reef under any circumstances and to always keep at least six feet of water between you and the reef to avoid accidentally swimming into it. Our lifeguards are also in the water and on the deck of our boats watching our snorkelers to make sure they’re following these guidelines.
Of course, we make Snorkel School and safe snorkeling in Key West fun. You’re aboard Fury, after all! We’ve got some of the best crew in Key West and they have a passion for the reef and for sharing it with our customers. The intention is to give our guests an orientation so that they feel more comfortable in the water and have a pleasant snorkeling experience. Trust me, it isn’t hard to do when you see that clear aquamarine water beckoning you to come for a swim!
We are honored to be part of NOAA’s Blue Star operator program and we take this new responsibility seriously. We look forward to working more closely with NOAA and sharing everything we learn with you, our treasured customers! We look forward to your next trip aboard Fury.
Shayne Benowitz is a Fury crew member and freelance writer. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow the fun on Twitter @FuryKeyWest and @ShayneBenowitz.