Snorkeling in Key West is pretty much great year-round. The tropical sun, warm breezes and tranquil waters makes the island of the Conch Republic one of the top destinations pretty consistently. And with Key West being home to North America’s only living coral reef, it’s amazing to plan a trip to enjoy a snorkel excursion when it fits best in your schedule!
Explore the Beauty of KEY WEST’S LIVING CORAL REEF
Our coral reefs, which lie about 7 miles offshore, are teeming with tropical fish, hard and soft corals, sponges, snails, jellyfish, anemones, crabs, lobsters, rays, sea turtles, nurse sharks, and other sea life. There are around 110 species of corals and over 500 species of tropical fish in our coral reef community. All species are interrelated and live in harmony.
Coral reefs are built by millions of tiny polyps, that are actually live animals. They secrete a skeleton of calcium carbonate called limestone. Within each coral polyp lives a microscopic algae called zooanthellae that conducts photosynthesis. These two (the polyp and the algae) have a symbiotic relationship, in which two different organisms live together and benefit from each other.
Tips When Snorkeling Key West’s Colorful Reef
The Florida Keys’ reefs are the only living coral reefs in the continental United States. Each year, over 2 million tourists visit our reefs through snorkeling, diving, fishing or boating. The reefs are extremely important to us locals and we are committed to doing our part in protecting them. One way is to educate you, the snorkeler, about our fragile coral reef community. That’s why our crew proudly took part in a continuing education program to achieve Blue Star Certification.
Blue Star Certification, established by the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary and by NOAA, recognizes tour operators who are committed to promoting responsible and sustainable diving, snorkeling, and fishing practices to reduce the impact of these activities on ecosystems in the Florida Keys. As Blue Star operators, our team takes the extra step to inform and educate others about the importance of better environmental care and interacting responsibly with the natural resources in the Keys.
Even though coral looks sturdy, they are very fragile and even the slightest touch can damage and kill the sensitive coral polyps. So when you stand, kick or touch the coral reef, you may be destroying hundreds or even thousands of years of growth – as coral may grow only 1/8″ a year!
This is why we stress that snorkelers please be aware of where their fins are in the water at all times. Be sure to snorkel in water deep enough so that when you get vertical, to adjust your mask or chat with your buddy, your fins won’t kick the coral and mistakenly kill it. Float, relax, and enjoy the spectacular underwater show AND ALWAYS REMEMBER: PLEASE DON’T TOUCH ANY CORAL.
Several Great Ways to Snorkel at the Reef
Here are some of the great ways you can explore the coral reef & have an amazing Key West Reef Snorkeling adventure
If you’re a morning bird and looking to start your day with adventure, this experience is perfect for you. Let the cool ocean seabreeze and gorgeous Key West sun awaken your senses as you sail to the coral reef in Fury’s breathtaking catamaran. The three-hour morning snorkel trip gives you the perfect opportunity to get up close with some of the incredible marine life surrounding paradise. Discover yellowtail snappers, rainbow parrotfish, and maybe even a stingray or sea turtle. On the sail home, it’s all you can drink beer, wine and mimosas – not to mention, spectacular views.
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REEF & RITAS
Not an early riser? No problem! If afternoons and margaritas are more your thing, this snorkel trip is bound to hit the spot. Let the warm afternoon sunshine paint the perfect backdrop to your snorkel adventure as you sail towards North America’s only living coral reef. Then splash into the ocean and marvel at the breathtaking marine life swimming below your toes. Cap off this afternoon adventure and get your island party started with a delicious margarita, as you relax on the spacious catamaran basking in the Key West sunshine.
RUM & REGGAE
Since Key West and partying to the magical sunset go hand in hand, why not enjoy both and include Snorkeling the Reef into the mix. Get in that last adventure before calling it a day, exploring North America’s only living coral reef aboard our spacious catamaran. As the warm, salty ocean breeze puts you in just the right mood for adventure, take a leap off the deck or use our user-friendly Stairway to the Sea to explore an ocean of infinite possibilities. Then just before departing the reef, kick things up a notch with the tropical sounds of reggae paired with delicious rum punch. There’s no better way to cap off this perfect day in paradise than enjoying a breathtaking Key West sunset, paired with island music and delicious rum punch.
DOUBLE DIP 2 STOP SNORKEL TRIP
For the snorkeling enthusiast, we have a special exploration of the reef – in 2 great locations. Explore Key West like never before as you embark on a snorkeler’s dream vacation experience, discovering the breathtaking underwater marvels and living coral reef in double the time. Fury’s Reef Express, a 57-foot power catamaran built for speed and comfort, will transport you from one snorkeling adventure to the next. So no time is lost on this unforgettable snorkeling trip. Once your group arrives at the reef, you’ll be given top-of-the-line snorkel gear including a snorkel, mask, fins, and a snorkel vest. You’ll also get some professional tips and guidance on how to best discover the incredible marine life surrounding you. Fury’s Double Dip gives you nearly 90 minutes of Key West snorkeling in a three-hour unforgettable adventure!
You Gotta Make plans to go snorkeling in Key West.
Whatever snorkel experience you are looking to have, these 4 great ways make choosing difficult! The best part? We’ve already let you in on a little secret – October is a great time to snorkel in Key West. So no matter what snorkel trip you choose, just be ready for an unforgettable vacation adventure of a lifetime.