Nautical Community Mooring Buoy Utilization in Puerto Rico

Sketch of proposed rafting mooring buoy

Sketch of proposed rafting mooring buoy

Sponsoring organization: Departamento de Recursos Naturales y Ambientales

Team members: Tyler Bouchard, David Levien, Victor Puksta, Mark Shooter

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Abstract: The Department of Natural and Environmental Resources in Puerto Rico has installed 290 mooring buoys in sensitive benthic habitats (coral reef, seagrasses, and mangroves) in order to curb damage caused by anchoring vessels. The team analyzed a collection of aerial photographs of popular keys to determine tendencies of boat-securing methods, specifically mooring buoy utilization. Onsite observations were conducted at the photographed areas to verify the photographic data and further observe behaviors. A standardized survey was also administered to the nautical community to determine their knowledge, habits, and opinions towards the mooring buoy system. Results were analyzed to determine reasons behind boating behaviors and draw recommendations on how to improve those behaviors.