To report a vessel grounding, anchoring incident or other coral reef injury in southeast Florida (Miami-Dade to Martin County), use the Southeast Florida Action Network (SEAFAN) online report form or hotline at 1-866-770-SEFL (7335).
For large vessel groundings requiring immediate attention, please call the 24-hour emergency groundings cell phone at 786-385-3054.
The Coral Reef Protection Act
In recognition of Florida's unique coral reef systems and their importance to the economy, the Florida Legislature enacted Section 403.93345, Florida Statutes, titled the Florida Coral Reef Protection Act (CRPA), effective July 1, 2009. The CRPA was created to increase protection of coral reef resources on sovereign submerged lands off the coasts of Martin, Palm Beach, Broward, Miami-Dade and Monroe counties.
Under this law, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) may assess civil penalties and damages relating to a coral reef injury event. A civil penalty fee schedule is outlined in the CRPA — for anchoring a vessel on a coral reef or any other damage to a coral reef totaling: a) less than or equal to 1 square meter (m2), $150; b) more than 1 m2, but less than or equal to 10 m2, $300 per m2; and c) more than 10 m2, $1,000 per m2. Damages may also be assessed in the form of compensatory mitigation on a case-by-case basis, which is intended to compensate for the damages and lost ecosystem services.
Reef Injury Prevention and Response Program
As the state's lead trustee for coral reef resources, the DEP Coral Reef Conservation Program (CRCP) is charged with response and recovery for coral reef injuries on sovereign submerged lands. The DEP CRCP Reef Injury Prevention and Response Program is responsible for leading response to, and management of, coral reef and hardbottom injuries resulting from direct impacts such as vessel grounding, anchoring and cable drag events. DEP CRCP has jurisdiction over the northern third of the Florida Reef Tract, from the northern border of Biscayne National Park in Miami-Dade County to the St. Lucie Inlet in Martin County.
A primary goal of the Reef Injury Prevention and Response Program is to develop and implement management actions that prevent coral reef injuries associated with commercial and recreational vessels, using tools created through the Southeast Florida Coral Reef Initiative and other local action strategies. Where damages to reef resources do occur, the goal is to ensure that appropriate and adequate restoration and/or mitigation is carried out on impacted coral reef resources and that those responsible for damages are held accountable.
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection is the state’s lead agency for environmental management and stewardship – protecting our air, water and land. The vision of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection is to create strong community partnerships, safeguard Florida’s natural resources and enhance its ecosystems.