This is a touchy subject, but one which needs to be talked about. Education is the key to correcting problems. Some boaters might not be aware of the negative impact created by both intentional and unintentional propeller (prop) scarring.
Our shallow flats are full of a diverse array of aquatic life. Seagrass beds provide food and structure at the base of the food chain, which is then utilized by animals from the microscopic right up to the top line predators such as red drum and spotted seatrout.
This fragile ecosystem is easily and adversely affected by any number of man-made activities, including mechanical disturbances such as prop scarring. That is why it is so important to Respect the Resource. Responsible boating includes poling, drifting, or trolling and avoiding areas which are too shallow for your vessel to operate without damaging these seagrass beds.
Prop scarring can also lead to other unintended consequences. It’s not just the one, or the two, but the many prop scars which can cause an entire area to diminish. Every cut is like a fray; it will fray exponentially as more scars are cut. In addition, it opens up lanes for predators, parasites or escaping prey, potentially altering the natural balance which exists between predators and prey.
Next time you think about taking a shortcut, reconsider. There is an entire aquatic ecosystem depending on you!