Discovering the Story behind Islamorada’s Toilet Seat Cut

Landry Zoya 

When visiting Islamorada in the Florida Keys, one of the unique attractions that should not be missed is the infamous Toilet Seat Cut. Located at mile marker 90 on the bayside, the man-made channel boasts of over 250 decorated toilet seats that have been collected over the years. While many have seen or heard about this peculiar landmark, the story behind it remains relatively unknown. This article will explore the history and origins of Toilet Seat Cut, and how it became a mainstay of the Florida Keys.

The Dredging of Toilet Seat Cut

Toilet Seat Cut is a man-made channel that was dredged by Vernon Lamp, a local, in the mid-century. Mr. Lamp, who enjoyed dining at the Plantation Yacht Club, found the normal path too slow and time-consuming since he had to travel out through Cowpens Cut to reach the restaurant. Tired of the long journey, he began to dredge a cut through the shallow grassy flat to lessen the trip. Using an old outboard engine attached to an even older dinghy, he cut this new pass through and marked it with a homemade post.

Over the years, the channel grew larger as other boaters began to use it. However, the story goes that Hurricane Donna in 1960 scattered all types of debris across the island and in its waters. In the aftermath of the hurricane, a toilet seat was found hanging on one of the homemade posts marking this unofficial channel. Locals quickly took to the humor and used other toilet seats to adorn the rest of the markers.

Toilet Seat Cut

The Decoration of Toilet Seat Cut

From the creation of Toilet Seat Cut to the decoration of the area with toilet seats, the entire thing is technically illegal. However, it has become a well-known attraction in the Florida Keys, and officials have not yet taken measures to make the area completely lawful and compliant. Visitors who have stopped by to witness this unique landmark have added toilet seats to commemorate engagements, anniversaries, birthdays, spring breaks, and just for plain old fun.

The toilet seats come in various designs, painted and adorned with sunsets, animals, portraits, and more elements showcasing special memories from visitors’ stays in Islamorada. It has become a form of tourist interactivity, where visitors leave their mark on the area with a decorated toilet seat. In a place where unconventional and off-beat ideas are welcome, Toilet Seat Cut is deemed one of the “Keys'” unique attractions.


Toilet Seat Cut may be unconventional, but it has become one of the must-see attractions when in Islamorada. The story behind its creation and decoration adds to its quirkiness and makes it a memorable experience for visitors. While it is technically illegal, the area remains a mainstay in the Florida Keys due to its popularity and unique decor. The toilet seats continue to be added, and the area will continue to add to its story and the memories of those who have left their mark on it.

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