Skip to main content
Home Keys General Fishing & The Outdoors

Anchor laws in key largo

What are the laws for dropping anchor in key largo, thinking about doing some yellowtail snapper fishing down there but don’t want to break any laws. Looking to target between 50-90ft. Thanks. 

Replies

  • Jack HexterJack Hexter New Port RicheyPosts: 5,507 Moderator
    Look at the no take areas in the below link.  No take means everything, not even a ballyhoo or pilchard.  And I would not even think about anchoring inside the yellow balls marking these areas


  • cranker789cranker789 MiamiPosts: 528 Officer
    Thanks I didn’t know that. It looks like they are mapped out with dotted yellow line on my navionics app so I’ll make sure to avoid those areas. I also read that if you can see bottom only anchor in sand. Not sure if that’s law or just common courtesy. 
  • ThrottleThrottle Posts: 2,847 Captain

    It's both. Anchor damage to coral should be avoided, regardless of visibility and even in water over 40 feet.  If you can identify a good reef spot on your depth finder you really want your anchor planted upstream of it anyway. 


    From FKNMS website

    https://floridakeys.noaa.gov/regs/welcome.html?s=management


    "With certain exceptions, the following activities are prohibited sanctuary-wide:

    • Moving, removing, taking, injuring, touching, breaking, cutting or possessing coral or live rock.
    • Removing, injuring, or possessing coral or live rock.
    • Discharging or depositing treated or untreated sewage from marine sanitation devices, trash, and other materials.
    • Dredging, drilling, prop dredging or otherwise altering the seabed, or placing or abandoning any structure on the seabed.
    • Operating a vessel in such a manner as to strike or otherwise injure coral, seagrass, or other immobile organisms attached to the seabed, or cause prop scarring.
    • Having a vessel anchored on living coral in water less than 40 feet deep when the bottom can be seen. Anchoring on hardbottom is allowed.
    • Except in officially marked channels, operating a vessel at more than 4 knots/no wake within 100 yards of residential shorelines, stationary vessels, or navigational aids marking reefs.
    • Operating a vessel at more than 4 knots/no wake within 100 yards of a “divers down” flag.
    • Diving or snorkeling without a dive flag.
    • Operating a vessel in such a manner which endangers life, limb, marine resources, or property.
    • Releasing exotic species.
    • Damaging or removing markers, mooring buoys, scientific equipment, boundary buoys, and trap buoys.
    • Moving, removing, injuring, or possessing historical resources.
    • Taking or possessing protected wildlife.
    • Using or possessing explosives or electrical charges.
    • Harvesting, possessing or landing any marine life species except as allowed by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Rule (68B-42 F.A.C.)."
  • keylargo359keylargo359 PSN / KEYLARGOPosts: 1,355 Officer
    Hard bottom and a living coral reef are two different things. Do not anchor on a living coral reef or you will be sited by the man.
    The worst day of fishing is still better than the best day of work:\
  • cranker789cranker789 MiamiPosts: 528 Officer
    Thanks for the information. I don’t have a depth finder I only use my phone with navionics as I am on a motorized kayak. I’ll use the reef shading option to do my best to avoid the reefs.  
  • cranker789cranker789 MiamiPosts: 528 Officer
    So I’m thinking about fishing outside the elbow area, was wondering if there are many buoys to tie off to there? Any way to see where the buoys are located? I’m not about destroying reef but don’t have the tech to see bottom. Thanks
  • dvnelson72dvnelson72 Posts: 73 Deckhand
    edited January 1 #8
    Do any of you use the zip tie quick release method when you anchor?  

    Saw my dad over Xmas, and he told me it was the best thing he learned before he got too old to have his own boat.

  • cranker789cranker789 MiamiPosts: 528 Officer
    https://floridakeys.noaa.gov/mbuoy/maps/elbow_buoys.html

    Looks like there’s a couple outside the sanctuary. You’d have to get lucky or really early to get one probably. 

    When you say zip tie method, you mean when you zip tie the chain to the top of the anchor? I do that just in case on my kayak with a grapnel anchor. 
  • DodgerDodger Ft MyersPosts: 298 Deckhand
    Do any of you use the zip tie quick release method when you anchor?  

    Saw my dad over Xmas, and he told me it was the best thing he learned before he got too old to have his own boat.

    I have rented a ton of boats in the keys and they all have zip ties on their anchors.  It works!
  • bigfinn35bigfinn35 Sarasota/VenicePosts: 1,112 Officer
    Do any of you use the zip tie quick release method when you anchor?  

    Saw my dad over Xmas, and he told me it was the best thing he learned before he got too old to have his own boat.

    Use it all the time. Works super well if you get stuck in a wreck or reef.
    Paddle faster, I hear banjo music.
  • SchweideeSchweidee Posts: 62 Deckhand
    Zip tie method works and I recommend it.  You can either attach your chain to the tail-end of the anchor and zip the chain to the top end of the shank or if want better anchor setting run a small stainless cable fro the top to the bottom of the anchor which makes it set better.

    "Your problem is not the problem, its your attitude about the problem that's the problem" - Capt Jack Sparrow
  • John McKroidJohn McKroid Posts: 4,059 Captain
    Schweidee said:
    Zip tie method works and I recommend it.  You can either attach your chain to the tail-end of the anchor and zip the chain to the top end of the shank or if want better anchor setting run a small stainless cable fro the top to the bottom of the anchor which makes it set better.

    We call that the trip release and use seizing wire in place of zip ties on larger vessels.
  • tankeredtankered Gainesvill, FlPosts: 1,424 Officer
    Would one be able to put enough pressure to break the anchor free in a kayak? 

    I'm not convinced that would work. 
  • dvnelson72dvnelson72 Posts: 73 Deckhand
    What do you do with the same anchor if you are diving?  I wouldn’t trust an unattended boat to zip ties.  Would you move the shackle to the normal position, or add a second one in place of zip ties?
  • gogittumgogittum Nature CoastPosts: 3,358 Captain
    tankered said:
    Would one be able to put enough pressure to break the anchor free in a kayak? 

    I'm not convinced that would work. 
    This is a new thing to me, so I've been noodling it some and had the same question.  As said above, I wouldn't trust it for an overnight anchorage, but I've had to dive on stuck anchors a couple of times and can see the worth of it.  In cold water, that ain't much fun.  

    For overnight, as said, just shackle the chain to the eye and let 'er go.

    I think you'd want to set it up in the back yard and pull on it to find out just how much you can break with the limited leverage in a kayak.....in fact, I'm Very Sure you'd want to.

    A couple of times, way, way back when, I tied a separate line to the tail of the anchor and put a float on it so's I could pull it out backwards if need be, but it was pretty awkward.  Never did have to test it, but this "zip tie" method would be about the same thing.....but easier to rig. 

    I'm going to set mine up like that.  I like it.
  • cranker789cranker789 MiamiPosts: 528 Officer
    I actually set up my anchor at first with too strong a zip tie and couldnt break it free from the kayak. I let the pressure go then it got free luckily.  Since then i looked for 50lb test zip ties. pretty sure i could break it from the kayak but to be honest i haven't been stuck since then. 
  • tankeredtankered Gainesvill, FlPosts: 1,424 Officer
    What do you do with the same anchor if you are diving?  I wouldn’t trust an unattended boat to zip ties.  Would you move the shackle to the normal position, or add a second one in place of zip ties?

    1. It's generally good practice to have someone aboard the boat while there are divers down, but if not...

    2. It's not nearly as easy to break free as one might think. There's been many times we were hung hard and had to power up and circle the anchor to get the ties, string, or mono to pop (yes people use all 3, some use wire too).
    Which is why I have my doubts that it could be done from a kayak or similar small vessel.

    Think about the geometry here, there's really not a whole lot of pressure on those ties just sitting at anchor. We've overnighted plenty of times, even as far and deep as the middle grounds, never broke loose once. You have to really try, and it has to be hung hard. 
  • gogittumgogittum Nature CoastPosts: 3,358 Captain
    tankered said:
    What do you do with the same anchor if you are diving?  I wouldn’t trust an unattended boat to zip ties.  Would you move the shackle to the normal position, or add a second one in place of zip ties?



    2. It's not nearly as easy to break free as one might think. There's been many times we were hung hard and had to power up and circle the anchor to get the ties, string, or mono to pop (yes people use all 3, some use wire too).
    Which is why I have my doubts that it could be done from a kayak or similar small vessel.

    Think about the geometry here, there's really not a whole lot of pressure on those ties just sitting at anchor. We've overnighted plenty of times, even as far and deep as the middle grounds, never broke loose once. You have to really try, and it has to be hung hard. 
    Good point.  I automatically assumed a 90º pull against the zip tie, but it would usually be a straight line pull, wouldn't it ??  No matter, I think, still hafta break them.  Hmmm.....??  Easy to over-think a simple thing like this, but it's best to be right the 1st time, eh ??  

    I did as threatened and set my anchor up like that this afternoon and secured chain to eye/shank with 3 standard zip ties, with one more keeping chain tight to shank.  Drilled a hole in the base and used a standard 1/4" shackle there.  I think I'll cut that 4th zip tie loose.

    I can't pull hard on anything yet (doc says 10# max) and don't have a scale that would work.  Maybe someone could take a standard hardware store zip tie and break it with a scale attached, to see for real what the breaking tension is.....??

    My motor is 25 hp.  Any idea what the thrust of that motor would be ??  I'm fairly sure it would be more than I can pull....which wouldn't help a kayak-er.  I did a quick google search and a 2013 forum says my motor should make over 350# of thrust, which should break quite a few zip ties.....but I have trouble believing that.

    I realize different brands are going to be of different strengths, but should be able to get a ballpark idea of what we're dealing with.
  • CaptJCaptJ Posts: 1,656 Captain
    What do you do with the same anchor if you are diving?  I wouldn’t trust an unattended boat to zip ties.  Would you move the shackle to the normal position, or add a second one in place of zip ties?
    When diving we NEVER use zip ties! Just dive the anchor on entry to make sure it's really stuck, then return and remove when it's time to go up. The zip ties can break and even if someone's on the boat that might not end well. Happened to a friend and they had a long swim to the beach.
  • cranker789cranker789 MiamiPosts: 528 Officer
    Thanks guys you all have some good points…. 50lb test might be too much as well because it’s not likely you’d be putting direct pressure on that zip tie. Plus it’s hard to get leverage from a yak. I see there are 30lb test zip ties? 

    Also for a dive solo from the yak maybe add a second zip tie? Or a carabiner? 
  • dvnelson72dvnelson72 Posts: 73 Deckhand
    edited January 14 #22
    CaptJ said:
    What do you do with the same anchor if you are diving?  I wouldn’t trust an unattended boat to zip ties.  Would you move the shackle to the normal position, or add a second one in place of zip ties?
    When diving we NEVER use zip ties! Just dive the anchor on entry to make sure it's really stuck, then return and remove when it's time to go up. The zip ties can break and even if someone's on the boat that might not end well. Happened to a friend and they had a long swim to the beach.
    My habit is to get the anchor overly set on entry, then free into a normal set as we go up.

    but, to your point, in my teens (80s) my dad and I lost our boat twice while diving.

    the first time was in the keys and he wasn’t using chain.  The rope broke from rubbing on rock. Luckily the last boat at that reef thought it was weird our boat drifted away and waited around.

    the second time was at Elliot key in 6 foot seas and no one else was there.  He didn’t check the anchor Bc his girlfriend was in the boat and she went to sleep.  It was a north wind and the boat moved fast away from us against the current.  No boats.  We were on our way to the reef tower for a long wait when an old man in a sailboat spotted me waiving our diving flag.  Scary as hell.

    I dive with my 2 teen kids and do not want to repeat that at all.  I think if I do the zip tie thing, I’ll keep a second shackle on hand for dives
Sign In or Register to comment.
Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

Preview This Month's Issue

Buy Digital Single Issues

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the Florida Sportsman App

Other Magazines

See All Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get the top Florida Sportsman stories delivered right to your inbox.

Advertisement

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Florida Sportsman subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now