Every member of the Danger Charters team is enchanted by this extraordinary place we get to work and play: Key West. There is simply nowhere like it. Phenomenal weather. Crystal clear water. Celebrated marine ecosystem. We are all dedicated to playing a role in the responsibility of taking care of this pristine oasis, and we are proud to be considered one of the more eco-friendly tours of Key West. Here are some of the ways we aim to protect and preserve our island home, the sweet Florida Keys.
Our Boats & Our People
We start from within! Our stunning schooners are engineered to harness the wind and glide over even very shallow water. We, of course, use our engines sometimes – but always sparingly and only when necessary.
Everyone on deck on any of our four sailing vessels is very knowledgeable about and protective of the area. And that’s by design! They’re more than top-notch sailors with excellent customer service skills, they are also passionate eco-adventurists!
Many of our team members go free diving, snorkeling, SCUBA diving, spearfishing, and sailing in their free time – they know these waters like the back of their hands, and they respect them deeply. Have a question about the wildlife above and below the surface, ask your captain or member of your crew!
We snorkel and kayak in the beautiful and biodiverse Key West National Wildlife Refuge, known locally as the Backcountry. This 375-mile stretch of shallow water and mangrove habitats was among the first US refuges established and, tragically, is Florida’s sole remaining example of an untouched marine ecosystem.
Is snorkeling bad for the environment? Not if you are conscientious. For the privilege of enjoying the protected waters of the Backcountry, we strictly abide by rules that prohibit the disturbance, injury, removal, destruction, collection, or possession of any marine life – and we ask our guests to do the same. Tempting as it may be, it’s wise to put these best practices into action wherever you snorkel, kayak, and do other watersports.
The mangroves of the Backcountry play a vital role in the health of our underwater ecosystem. They act as a natural buffer against storms and tidal surges, prevent erosion, protect our shorelines, and provide critical habitat for various marine species, including fish, shellfish, and birds (all of which you’ll see on our sail, snorkel, and kayak tours).
The mangrove’s intricate root system serves as nurseries for juvenile organisms, aiding in the replenishment of marine populations. By not disturbing or damaging mangroves, we can sustain local biodiversity and preserve the delicate balance of the surrounding marine environment.
Reef Safe Sunscreen
Here’s an easy one everyone can practice while in Key West and beyond: reef-safe sunscreen.
Standard sunblock, specifically those containing harmful chemicals like oxybenzone and octinoxate, is detrimental to coral reefs. Most concerning is coral bleaching, a phenomenon where the algae that live in coral are expelled, leading to the loss of the coral’s vibrant colors and ultimately its death.
These sunscreen ingredients can also disrupt coral reproduction and growth, impairing the ability of reefs to recover from other environmental stressors. These outcomes, of course, have a direct effect on the ecosystem that relies on the reef to provide food and protection.
When you swim in the ocean after applying sunblock, oxybenzone and octinoxate are washed from your skin and into the water. When purchasing sunscreen for your vacation, check the packaging for the words “reef safe” or “coral safe sunscreen” and “biodegradable sunscreen.”
Our collective use of standard sunblock poses a significant threat to coral reefs worldwide, highlighting the need for alternative sun protection options that are safer for these delicate ecosystems. At Danger Charters, we recommend that folks use reef-safe sunblock and wear sun shirts, both of which we sell in the Danger Chandlery.
Members of the Danger Charters team happily roll up their sleeves to give back to our incredible community. We do clean-ups of the islands throughout the year and work with a local nonprofit called Reef Relief, an organization dedicated to protecting and raising awareness about our marine ecosystem.
Each year we support Camp Coral, a science-based Spring Break and Summer camps for local kids and Key West visitors between the ages of 6 and 12. Campers learn about coral reefs, local flora and fauna, ecosystems, oceanography, deep sea, climate change, and more. By teaching young people about marine ecosystems, we empower them to become stewards of the ocean and its diverse inhabitants.
Ready to embark on a leave-no-trace adventure? Join Danger Charters for a five-star sailing experience that you and your loved ones will remember forever. Fair winds and following seas!