The Florida Keys Marine Sanctuary is looking for captains, volunteers and scholarship applicants

If you always wanted to help out the Florida Keys Marine Sanctuary, now is the time.

Scott Atwell, Communications and Outreach Manager for the Florida Keys Marine Sanctuary, joined Good Morning Keys on KeysTalk 96.9/102.5FM yesterday to talk about what’s been going on in the sanctuary.

Part time boat captains are needed at the sanctuary.

Atwell explained, “Our parent organization, NOAA, has protocols that guide our work on the water and require us to have a specified number of crew members for various reasons and various tasks. Because of vacations or sick days or staff moving from one location in the Keys to another, there are times when we don’t have enough numbers on the boat to get on the water, especially with a boat captain.”

To help the sanctuary be ready when needed, boat captains are being recruited.

Atwell said, “What we’re talking about is driving a boat to places that our science team needs to be or our reefs team doing the work of restoring the reef. So it’s interesting work, it’s gratifying work. It’s not a regular position with a minimum guaranteed hours, rather it’s just a way to get a couple of experienced captains, both in the upper Keys and lower Keys on the payroll, cleared and checked out.”

Anyone interested in being a captain, click here:

Volunteers for the Sanctuary Advisory Council are also needed, specifically sport charter fishing, commercial fishing and boating industry.

Atwell said, “The sport charter fishing and commercial fishing, we’re looking for someone who’s familiar with those particular communities who work near the sanctuary, who have a breadth of experience and knowledge regarding fisheries, law, policies and practices affecting the sanctuary. The boating industry, someone who’s familiar with the upper and lower Keys boating industry, tourism, sanctuary resources and the human activities associated with it and the ability and willingness to communicate with key representatives from the boating industry.”

If you or anyone you know would be interested, click here:

Buoys continue to be returned to service with the sanctuary buoy team.

Atwell said, “The reason it seems like things are ramped up is because during the COVID lockdown at the height of it, our buoy team was on stand down for diving.”

The team has been out gathering buoys at a variety of different spots to recover missing buoys.

Atwell said, “It’s just been a busy time for the buoy team.”

For anyone who would be interested in going to college to study marine science, there are scholarships available.

Atwell said, “The application period is open until April 7, so if you have an interest in marine science, we encourage you to think about applying for these scholarships. It’s open to students in the Florida Keys. These scholarships pay for a student to go to school and major in marine science. We have a success story of our own at the sanctuary. We recently hired a communications manager…she is a recipient of this scholarship.”

For more information on the scholarships, click here: