The Florida Maritime Heritage Trail 
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Tarpon Springs sponge diver

Tarpon Springs sponge diver.
Photo courtesy of VISIT FLORIDA.

    Floridians have always enjoyed the advantages of coastal living. Along the transition zone between land and sea there are abundant natural resources for food, shelter, and transportation; strategic locations for settlement; and many opportunities for trade, communication, and recreation. The peninsula’s geographic location as a maritime crossroads between North and South America, the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea, made it attractive to a succession of immigrant groups both in the past and in the present. Despite occasional warfare and disastrous storms, Florida’s coastal communities have thrived. Typical coastal economic activities began with simple harvesting of seafood. Soon, cooperative processing and transportation provided opportunities for commerce, which led to new industries and new jobs. Over time, a complex cultural and economic web of human coastal activities developed with various customs, traditions, and rituals. Today, Florida’s coastal communities are at the crossroads of the global marketplace.

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Florida Coastal Management Program This web page was funded in part by the Department of Environmental Protection, Florida Coastal Management Program, pursuant to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Award No. NA97OZ0158. The views expressed in herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the State of Florida, NOAA, or any of its subagencies.
National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration