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State Vs. federal waters regulations

canesfancanesfan Posts: 31 Greenhorn
I'm planning on going fishing off of the upper keys soon and had a few questions I'm hoping can be answered or clarified for me.

From my understanding the Mangrove snapper limit is 5 in state waters and 10 in federal waters per person/day.

Where do state waters end and federal waters begin? I have been told that it is 3 miles offshore

I fish on an older boat with no chart plotter, if I have been fishing all trip in federal waters but must run back through state waters to get to the dock how do I protect myself if I am stopped in state waters on the run back in?

Thank you in advance for any help.


  • SebastianRedSebastianRed Posts: 24 Deckhand
    My understanding is you can run back through state waters w/your federal limit as long as you don't stop and fish in the state waters. If they stop you "running" through state waters, that is fine, as you are not fishing. If they catch you fishing......you would be in violation. As for where they begin/end, I believe its 3 miles on the Atlantic side and 9 on the gulf side, but not sure how it works in the keys.
  • Roc N RolRoc N Rol Posts: 1,352 Officer
    Sebastian Red is correct, you can transit through state water with your federal limit but put your fishing gear away. Don't have rods with bait on the hook or bait at the ready, have everything looking like you are heading back to shore and not looking for a spot to fish. If you don't have a plotter I suggest downloading the "Navionics Boating USA" app to your smart phone, I think it is $12 and has the entire country coast and lakes charts. It is very detailed and has all the capabilities that a gps has including the state lines, wrecks and dive and fishing spots. The charts are downloaded into the phone and will work past phone service as it works from satellites not the phone . You can save way points make way points, tracks and shows your location and speed of travel. It can track your trip and help you back to the dock in fog or darkness.

    Here is a screen shot from tha app, the red dotted lines that run through Turtle Harbor center of map is the State/Federal line
  • canesfancanesfan Posts: 31 Greenhorn
    Thank you for the replies and information guys. I will definitely look into that app.
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