Coast Guard anchors

US Coast Guard Station Islamorada


183 Palermo Dr., Islamorada, FL 33036

Station Islamorada - Plantation Key Aerial

US Coast Guard Station Islamorada , located adjacent to Snake Creek on Plantation Key, serves the areas of Islamorada, Tavernier, Key Largo and South Miami-Dade County — a challenging area of responsibility spanning from Long Key to the South West, Biscayne Bay to the North East, and to Flamingo Florida to the North West. It is one of three small boat stations serving under Coast Guard Sector Key West.


The Islamorada station calls itself “The Guardian of the Upper Keys” a name well-deserved. The station responds to over 200 search and rescue cases annually and conducts recreational boating safety inspections to help educate boaters.


Station Islamorada had a humble beginning. Its first permanent facility in the Upper Keys was a floating house boat moored in a manmade canal off Snake Creek. Station Islamorada was established in June, 1965 at Venetian Shores on Islamorada, Florida. At that time it was a very modern houseboat that served as headquarters for a mid-Keys rescue station. The station consisted of a 15 enlisted crew members, three response vessels and radio communications using citizen’s band and marine VHF radios. The current shore based facility was completed in 1974.


As of 2010, Station Islamorada was defined as a multi mission Coast Guard Station with a large area of responsibility.On a daily basis the active duty, reservists and the volunteer men and women of the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary performed missions of Search and Rescue, Enforcement of Laws and Treaties, Drug Interdiction, AMIO, Recreation Boating Safety and Environmental Protection. These missions were performed unitizing the compliment of five vessels: one 41’ Utility Boat (UTB), three 33’ Special Purpose Craft Law Enforcement (SPC-LE) and one 24’ Special Purpose Craft Shallow Water (SPC-SW).


Today, the Islamorada Coast Guard Station consists of four response boats and 36 active duty members whose responsibilities include ports, waterways and coastal security, search and rescue, drug interdiction, migrant interdiction, aids to navigation, living marine resources, defense readiness, marine environmental protection, marine safety and other maritime  law enforcement missions.


The station works in cooperation and shares areas of responsibility with several local, state and federal  agencies in the patrolling the waters of the Everglades National Park, the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, and 12 separate Sanctuary Preservation Areas.


Sector Key West can trace its history back to 1824 when a 63-foot schooner named Florida sailed into the Port of Key West, establishing a permanent station in Key West.  Working for the Key West Collector of Customs, the Florida and its crew collected maritime tariffs, chased pirates, prevented smuggling and rescued those in distress at sea. The U.S. Coast Guard was established in 1915, combining the Revenue Cutter Service and the U.S. Life Saving Services.  The Coast Guard increased its strength during the nine year Prohibition Era adding numerous craft and people.  In 1939 the Service grew even larger when the Lighthouse Service was merged with the Coast Guard, establishing what is now known as the Captain of the Port Key West.  Originally located on the water front at Mallory Square, Coast Guard offices moved to their current location at Trumbo Point in 1977.  The Coast Guard base has continued to grow adding more vessels and people to keep up with the growing community and increased maritime activity.


In August 2004, Sector Key West officially stood up.  The Sector was created from combining the resources of Group Key West and Marine Safety Detachment Marathon and authorities from Marine Safety Office Miami.  This transition improved the Coast Guard’s ability to provide for the safety and security of the South Florida community.


Sector Key West is a unified command consisting of six Fast Response cutters, three small boat stations, an Aids to Navigation Team (ANT) and three staff departments. The Sector Commander performs the duties of Search and Rescue (SAR) Mission Coordinator (SMC), Captain of the Port (COTP), Federal Maritime Security Coordinator (FMSC), Federal On-Scene Coordinator (FOSC) and Officer in Charge, Marine Inspection (OCMI).  Sector Key West has a unique area of responsibility; 55,000 square miles bordering the territorial seas of Cuba and the Bahamas.

Arriving at US Coast Guard Station Islamorada
The nearest major airport is Miami International Airport (MIA / KMIA). This airport has international and domestic flights from Miami, Florida and is 77 miles from the center of Islamorada, FL.


Another major airport is Key West International Airport (EYW / KEYW), which has domestic flights from Key West, Florida and is 80 miles from Islamorada, FL.


Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL / KFLL) has international and domestic flights from Fort Lauderdale, Florida and is 108 miles from Islamorada, FL.