By Water 24.627486, -81.111289
This lighthouse is about 3 miles outside of Boot Key Harbor at Marathon. At 142 feet it's the tallest of the Keys Lighthouses. The light was manned from 1858 to 1939 by the US Lighthouse Service, but this service was abolished in 1939. The Coast Guard then took it over. In 1960 the Coast Guardsmen stationed there got quite a ride when Hurricane Donna stormed through. The light survived the 20 foot seas and 200 mph winds, but the bottom platform was ripped off. No one lived there after that and regular trips are made for maintenance - except as an occasional lookout post. The reef is a very nice spur and groove formation. Mooring buoys make it very easy to select depths from 15 to 60 feet on the seaward side of the reef. Snorkeling is excellent - under the shadows of the lighthouse, inside the structure underwater, are what appear to be thousands of snapper, grunt and barracuda. A coral archway spans one of the sand chutes between coral spurs. Good night dive spot.
Local information and photo provided by Greg Absten, of www.bootkeyharbor.com