Since 1992, the Fish and Wildlife Research Institute has been producing a statewide series of educational boater guides that target anglers and boaters to inform them about Florida's coastal and marine ecosystems.
Free boater's guides are available at many marinas, tackle shops, boating supply stores and other marine businesses, or online.
Each of the regionally divided guides describes a major bay or estuary system. Every guide contains a map or several maps, produced at the largest possible scale to best display environmental information. The format is designed to appeal to boaters and anglers by informing them about boating and fishing facilities. The maps display the distribution of natural marine resources; text explains the role of the marine habitat in the health of the marine ecosystem and how boating and angling behavior can influence the environment.
As a part of the Sport Fish Restoration Program, the Fish and Wildlife Research Institute (FWRI) develops the boaters' guides in cooperation with many groups. Most of the information in these guides is derived from FWRI's Marine Resources Geographic Information System databases. FWRI provides technical support in the form of data and cartographic layout. Partner groups provide local information and text in addition to securing joint funding for their printing. Local agencies influence the design and content of the guides. Even though the guides are all part of a single series, each one is unique in that it shows the important areas as defined by the local community. To date, over 2.5 million guides have been printed. The Boating and Angling Guides series covers many regions of Florida's coast-the graphic below shows the areas that have already been covered and those that are currently proposed or in production.
Florida Boating and Angling Guides (as of August 2012) (select the graphic to open a larger file-PDF format, 842 KB)
Boating and Angling Guide Survey
In an effort to continuously improve the quality of the guides, FWRI created a Boating and Angling Guide Survey. This information is carefully reviewed and, wherever possible, used to help design future guides. Early survey results indicated that users wanted FWRI to include aids to navigation, more depth contours, and bridge heights; all are now included.