A Toolkit for Inspiring Boaters to Preserve Seagrass

Worldwide, seagrass is disappearing at a rate of 8% a year. Much of this is due to poor water quality or rising temperatures, but a significant amount of seagrass damage is caused by boaters whose propellers get tangled in seagrass beds, causing what are called “prop scars.” These “prop scars” cut across large swaths of seagrass and can take years to go away, if the seagrass is able to recover at all. Prop scars are an especially large problem in areas with high amounts of recreational boating activity, such as the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.

Protecting Seagrass from Propellers

At The Ocean Foundation, we want to not only plant seagrass to restore prop scars and conserve healthy seagrass beds, but also to prevent scarring and damage from happening in the first place. This is why we focus on education to the public and, importantly, to boaters whose behavior poses a threat to seagrass health.

With the support of the Turner Foundation, The Ocean Foundation has created the report, “Changing Boater Behavior to Protect Seagrass: A Toolkit for Designing and Implementing a Behavior Change Campaign for Seagrass Damage Prevention.” This toolkit takes a rigorous and comprehensive look at the history of boater outreach programs, examples of successful conservation-based behavior change campaigns, and the new and emerging tools that could aid in the development of a new behavior change campaign. In our report, we outline a multi-step process for resource managers to design their own behavior change campaigns, built on the best practice we identified through our research.

We piloted this toolkit, following the above design process, and created our own campaign materials. We utilized Google Consumer Survey to test how effective our campaign messages were and pick the best fit for our audience: Florida Boaters. The three designs we produced, including the “winning” design, are shown below.

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Design 1

Seagrass...Steer Clear to Keep it Here

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Design 2

Protect Florida's Treasure: Seagrass

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Winner Design 3

Smart Boaters Know To Let Seagrass Grow

We recognize that designing a full behavior change campaign can be time and resource intensive. To make this process more accessible, we are offering our campaign designs and design elements (such as pictures of boats, seagrass, and boaters) for you to use to create your own campaign materials.

Launch your Campaign Today!

Enter your name and email below to download the full report and design materials:

Why Go Blue?

Learn about the benefits of seagrass restoration and why it's a great choice for offsetting your carbon footprint.

Threats & Solutions

Learn more about the growing global threats to coastal marine habits and how you can use SeaGrass Grow offsets to help restore these areas.

Methodology

We use extensive research to create a calculator that is as fast and simple to use as it is accurate. Learn about our methodology.

Partnerships

Our partners care about the health of the ocean, as well as offsetting their carbon emissions. Since 2008, they’ve helped support SeaGrass Grow in a variety of ways.

Boater Outreach

One way to protect seagrass is to reduce damage caused by boaters. Learn how we are showing that "Smart Boaters Know to Let Seagrass Grow."