Lighthouse of Egmont Key Celebrates
absolutely stunning Florida day, the Egmont Key
Lighthouse stood gleaming white, resplendent against a
cloudless azure sky. Luminous from a new coat of white
paint, the150 year old Lighthouse was visited by
dignitaries and ordinary people, who all came together
to celebrate the century and a half of guidance the
Lighthouse has provided the ships that flow into the
mouth of Tampa Bay.
in knowing more about Egmont Key - read
Egmont Key News.
The Natural Beauty of Egmont Key
▪ Approximately 400 acres, 1.6 miles long, less than
1/2 mile wide.
▪ Seagrass beds on the east beach nurture marine
▪ Southern end of the island a bird sanctuary, the
site for twice-yearly
Audubon migratory bird count.
▪ Parts of the interior designated as a wildlife refuge.
▪ Beach erosion has depleted the prime nesting area
for sea turtles.
▪ Prolific population of the gopher tortoise.
A fertile community resides in the seagrasses on the east side of Egmont
Key. At low tide, snowy egrets,
American oyster catchers and sometimes
blue heron search for fish, shrimp and mollusks in the rich waters. Just
off the seagrass beds are the giant sand dollar beds that we sometime
on Snorkeling at Egmont...
ATLANTIC BOTTLE-NOSED DOLPHIN
Florida’s most common and delightful sighting for boaters
and beachcombers, the average bottle-nosed dolphin is
9 feet long and weighs about 400 pounds. They travel
through the Gulf and Bays daily consuming up to 15 pounds
of fish per day.
Bottle-nosed dolphin are highly intelligent and social
marine mammals. They often travel in “pods”, or extended family groups. They communicate using a complex vocabulary of
sounds often described as “squeaks, clicks, and whistles,” each individual
having his own particular sound.
Dolphins are seem to have a natural
interest in humans, and reportedly have helped to rescue humans from
drowning or shark attack. A wild dolphin may live up to 50 years, in
contrast to the average life-span of those in captivity of just 6 years.
You’ll see these all over Egmont Key. Despite their reputation for being
slow, these turtles are surprisingly fast.
You will come upon them as you
walk the paths of Egmont Key, but don’t disturb them or let the kids pick
them up. The gopher tortoises live in burrows, and sometimes share their
space with lizards, frogs or snakes. You might see a mound of soft sand in
front of a burrow- it could contain eggs.
Beach and Swimming Cautions
This trip is for agile people without physical challenges, not for
anyone who may be at risk.
If you expect to snorkel, good swimming skills
are required. You will encounter deep water,
mild to strong currents and other natural water conditions.
Flotation devices are available, also instruction
No lifeguards on duty.
Do the “stingray shuffle” while wading.
No climbing on the rocky ruins off Fort Dade.
Daily Egmont Key Ferry from Fort DeSoto County Park
US Coast Guard Certified Tour Boats
▪ 46 foot ferry
▪ Refreshments/snacks available
▪ Covered, comfortable seating
▪ Open deck area, easy ramp
access to beach
▪ Clean restroom, modern
▪ All tours fully narrated,
informative and fun
Private Charters Available for any Occasion
We're here all year!
Please call for current departure times.
reservations are suggested. A minimum number of fares
required on all Ferries. Schedule subject to change
Ferry to Egmont Beach: $20
Ferry to Egmont Beach: $20
$5 Snorkeling gear rental on beach plus
$15 ferry to Sunken Ruins:
= $40 total
FIRST COME... FIRST SERVE
Please Pay on the Ferry with Cash, Travelers checks, or
▪ tour ruins
▪ see wildlife,
▪ beach and swim
The area visited by
Explorer Celi surveyed the
island, erected a wooden cross and named it “Isla de San Blas y
Bernard Romans charted the
island, calling it Castor Key after a local pirate
Britain obtained control
of Florida, their surveyors renamed the island Egmont Key for the Earl
Florida was ceded to the
US from Spain 1848 The first lighthouse was completed, then destroyed
by a hurricane the same year
The existing lighthouse
was reconstructed to withstand any storm, fitted with a Fresnel lens
and Argard kerosene lamp Late 1850’s Seminole Indians held on Egmont
Key before being transported to Oklahoma
Union Navy used Egmont Key
as a blockade, (the Confederates took the Fresnel lens from the
lighthouse before they evacuated), a cemetery was established for war
With the threat of the
Spanish-American war, construction on two forts was begun, Fort Dade
on Egmont Key, and Fort Desoto on Mullet Key. Egmont Key used as a
quarantine station for soldiers returning from Cuba, in order to
contain smallpox. In 1906, Fort Dade was a small city of 300, with
electricity, telephones, movie theater, hospital, school, and red
The Tampa Bay Pilots
Association began operations to pilot vessels through the main channel
to the Tampa docks
WWII- the island used by
the military for surveillance
Egmont Key designated as a
National Wildlife Refuge
The Florida Park Service,
with the US Fish & Wildlife Service, established Egmont Key as a State
Egmont Key and Fort Desoto Regulations
No alcohol is permitted in state and county parks.
Interior sand is extremely hot. Bring water. Wear
shoes while hiking, take caution on uneven walkways.
Do not handle turtles! Watch, take pictures, and let
them go their way.
Take nothing but photographs, leave nothing
No littering. All trash must be taken back on the
ferry boat and disposed of properly.
Follow maps, roads and paths.
When hiking and exploring around the ruins of Fort Dade, do not damage structures or remove artifacts.
this before boarding.
VISITOR’S ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF RISK
- I/we, recognize that there is an element of risk in any outdoor
adventure, sport or activity. Knowing this, I certify that I and my
family are fully capable of participating in the activities provided
in association with Tampa Bay Ferry. I/we, have read and understand
the risks and hazards associated with boating, beachcombing,
snorkeling, swimming, and hiking on area beaches and islands. These
include, but are not limited to, the effects of, and or any
resulting injury as a result of: SUN and OTHER WEATHER CONDITIONS,
SEA SICKNESS, PITCHING, ROLLING, SEASPRAY, SLIPPERY DECKS AND DOCKS,
UNEVEN WALKWAYS, MARINE LIFE AND WILDLIFE, at own risk. I/we,
understand that I/we are responsible for the snorkel equipment used
by me/us and do agree to pay replacement cost of the loss or damage
due to my negligence. I/we, understand that I/we are responsible for
our selves. This trip is for agile people without physical
challenges, not for anyone who may be at risk. There are no refunds
after the boat leaves the dock. Tampa Bay Ferry fleet practices
seamanship commensurate with Ferry Tour boats and are maintained in
accordance with Coast Guard Regulations. I/WE HAVE READ THIS RELEASE
AND UNDERSTAND ITS LEGAL SIGNIFICANCE AND DO RELEASE THE OWNER,
OPERATORS, AGENTS AND EMPLOYEES OF Tampa Bay Ferry FROM ANY AND ALL
LIABILITY OF PERSONAL INJURIES ARISING AS A RESULT OF SAID FERRY
TOUR OR ACTIVITIES.