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Title: An Aerial Survey Method for Estimation of Boater Use in Biscayne National Park During 2003-2004
Status: Completed

Over the past several decades, the combination of rapidly growing human populations, overfishing, and habitat alterations have placed significant stress on marine resources in the Florida Keys ecosystem, including Biscayne National Park. In response to concerns about resource sustainability, the Park is currently formulating management plans to balance Park visitor use and impacts on fishery and habitat resources. A key information need in this planning effort is the extent of boater use in Park waters. This study was undertaken to establish a costeffective method for estimating boater use of Biscayne National Park. The study plan was to conduct an aerial census of vessels in Park waters, conduct a concurrent census of boat trailers at major public boat ramps in and around the Park, and use the vessel and trailer data to develop a statistical model for predicting total boater use. The complexity of the study environment required development of a mobile GIS recording system to collect real-time in-flight data on vessel usage including position (latitude and longitude), time of sighting, vessel number and characterization, and disposition. Direct counts of vessels within Park waters were obtained using a small fixed-wing Cessna 182 aircraft. A census of boat trailers was carried out on the same days and time frames (1200-1500h) as the flight surveys at five public marinas. A total of 52 vessel-trailer surveys were conducted from March 2003 to February 2004. Sampling effort was allocated by season (spring, summer, fall, and winter) and day of the week category (midweek and weekend/holiday) to conduct the vessel-trailer surveys on days that reflected the full gradient of boater use of Park waters, from lowest-use to highest-use days. Our results showed that the number of trailers at public marinas was a generally good predictor of the number of boats in Park waters.


The to develop an aerial survey GIS database which will also be instrumental for ongoing and future studies evaluating biological and socioeconomic aspects of Park visitor use, including estimation of spatial fishing effort.

Supplemental Information:

Rrecommendations for precise estimation of boater use in

Biscayne National Park are:

• Implement an automated system for obtaining daily trailer counts at the following 5 marinas:

Homestead/Bayfront Park, Black Point, Matheson Hammock, Dinner Key, and Crandon Park.

• Calibrate and verify automated trailer counts with occasional direct trailer counts by creel census personnel.

• Use the combined season boat-trailer regression model,

Boats= 44.279 + 0.9577*Trailers (r2=0.943) for estimation.

• Conduct aerial surveys to obtain vessel counts on special high-use days (e.g., Columbus Day Regatta weekend, lobster mini-season, etc.), since model predictions may be unreliable.


Theme Keywords

Thesaurus Keyword
ISO 19115 Topic Category
CoRIS Discovery Thesaurus Numeric Data Sets > Biology
None aerial survey
None trailer count
None vessel usage

Temporal Keywords

Thesaurus Keyword
None 2003-2004

Spatial Keywords

Thesaurus Keyword
CoRIS Place Thesaurus OCEAN BASIN > Atlantic Ocean > North Atlantic Ocean > Florida
None Matheson Hammock,
None Biscayne National Park
None Black Point
None Crandon Park
None Dinner Key
None Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary
None Homestead/Bayfront Park
None Key Biscayne

Physical Location

Organization: National Centers for Environmental Information - Silver Spring, Maryland
City: Silver Spring
State/Province: MD

Support Roles


CC ID: 1094307
Date Effective From: 2005
Date Effective To:
Contact (Person): Ault, Jerald S
Email Address:
Phone: (305) 421-4884


CC ID: 783682
Date Effective From: 2005
Date Effective To:
Contact (Organization): National Centers for Environmental Information - Silver Spring, Maryland (NCEI-MD)
Address: NOAA/NESDIS E/OC SSMC3, 4th Floor, 1351 East-West Highway
Silver Spring, MD 20910-3282
Phone: (301) 713-3277


CC ID: 783685
Date Effective From: 2000
Date Effective To:
Contact (Organization): Southeast Fisheries Science Center (SEFSC)
Address: 75 Virginia Beach Drive
Miami, FL 33149
Phone: (305)361-5761
Business Hours: 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. EST
View Historical Support Roles

Distribution Information

Distribution 1

CC ID: 783687
Start Date: 2005
End Date: Present
Download URL:
Distributor: National Centers for Environmental Information - Silver Spring, Maryland (NCEI-MD) (2005 - Present)
File Name: BISC_aerial_finalrpt_app.pdf
File Date/Time: 2005-02-07 17:06:00
File Type (Deprecated): PDF
Distribution Format: PDF - Adobe Portable Document Format
File Size: 21M
Compression: Uncompressed
Review Status: Chked Viruses Inapp Content

Catalog Details

Catalog Item ID: 53958
GUID: gov.noaa.nmfs.inport:53958
Metadata Record Created By: Lee M Weinberger
Metadata Record Created: 2018-09-30 15:42+0000
Metadata Record Last Modified By: SysAdmin InPortAdmin
Metadata Record Last Modified: 2023-10-17 16:12+0000
Metadata Record Published: 2022-04-14
Owner Org: SEFSC
Metadata Publication Status: Published Externally
Do Not Publish?: N
Metadata Last Review Date: 2022-04-14
Metadata Review Frequency: 1 Year
Metadata Next Review Date: 2023-04-14