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Travel Safety Tips for Visitors

Patrol boat
Officers of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission patrol the waters of the Keys to conduct boater safety checks and enforce regulations.

Whether you are a diver, boater or bicyclist, or simply enjoy tropical settings, the community leaders of the Florida Keys take your safety very seriously. They have assembled numerous resources with information about safety rules and practices.

Divers and Snorkelers, for example, must always use red and white "diver down" flags to alert boaters of their presence. Boaters should know that the Keys have many shallow areas. They also should pilot their craft at reasonable speeds, especially in channels and harbor areas. All precautions should be taken to avoid decompression illness, but if illness is suspected the hospital staffs in the Keys are very experienced with diagnosing and treating it.

Bicycling is allowed along U.S. 1, the Overseas Highway, but officials hope cyclists will make use of the paved Overseas Heritage Trail, which parallels the highway in many places. In Key West, where bicycling on the historic streets is hugely popular, city leaders emphasize that cyclists must use lights at night.

If you plan to enjoy the fabulous weather of the Keys, please be advised that the sunlight at latitude 24 is very intense and can burn unprotected skin in a matter of minutes. Sunscreen is strongly advised.

The Keys have three well-equipped hospitals, but in some severe emergencies patients are airlifted to facilities on mainland Florida.

During the summer and fall hurricane season, you should be aware that this web site becomes part of a well-oiled public communications system that keeps visitors and residents apprised of any possible need to evacuate.

Luckily, the crime rate is low in the Keys but our Sheriff's Office can give you advice on how to avoid becoming a rare victim.

We encourage you to learn more about safety with the following resources:

Visitor Assistance Line

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Boating Safety

Bicyclist Safety

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Diver and Snorkeler Safety

Police/Crime Prevention


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