Key West Glass Bottom Boat

Seeing Marine Life in a Key West Glass Bottom Boat

Visitors to Key West are usually excited about the upcoming beach time. However, Key West is also an excellent location from which to view marine life. Depending on the weather and time of year, people see manatees, turtles, dolphins and all manner of reef fish. One of the best ways to maximize marine life viewing is taking a glass bottom boat tour.

Glass Bottom Boats

Glass bottom boats make observing marine life accessible to everyone. Boats have large sections of glass below the waterline. This construction allows passengers to view the beautiful underwater environment normally reserved for snorkelers.

Utilizing a glass bottom means visitors don't have to purchase or rent equipment, as in the case of snorkeling or diving. Likewise, anyone who can get on the boat gets to view the mysterious underwater scenery, regardless of age, health or ability. Also, no one has to get wet or cold, which can happen with a change in weather. Finally, visitors get to share the experience with their fellow travelers, remarking on the amazing marine life and vistas they're seeing.

Another advantage to observing the marine environment while safely in a boat is protection from some of the marine animals themselves. Key West waters are clean and clear, making them a perfect habitat for spiky sea urchins. Sea jellies and Portuguese Man-o-War float on the surface. Contact with their trailing tentacles causes welts and blisters. Even stepping on or brushing up against a seastar can cause a scratch. From a safe, dry perch in a glass bottom boat, though, visitors can watch these marvelous creatures without danger of injury.

Key West Marine Life

Not all Key West marine life is prickly or toxic. Visitors to the Keys can expect to see a wide variety of life. Sea sponges live by filtering the water for oxygen and food. Some grow as big as 6 feet! Sea grasses, marine plants that flower, filter the water and release oxygen. Conch, a species of mollusk, thrives in the Key West waters. Conches, of course, are known for having beautiful, ruffled shells. Sea anemones also make their home in the clear waters. Though they are in the jellyfish family, as evidenced by their trailing tentacles, their touch is not toxic.

Visitors to the Key West can also see various crustaceans. Shrimp, it turns out, are not just an appetizer. Their elongated bodies and five pairs of legs make navigating though the water a breeze. Lobsters as well as crabs scrabble their way along the ocean floor.

Key West Coral Reef

Of course, visitors to the Keys want to see North America's only living coral reef. Millions of tiny polyps, living animals, make up the reef. The polyps actually secrete their own skeleton, made of calcium carbonate, creating the hardness of the reef. The Key West coral reef includes approximately 110 species of corals. The reef itself teems with hundreds of tropical fish! Possibly the best advantage of taking a glass bottom boat tour is getting to observe this delicate, miraculous living reef in its underwater world.