If you are very new you will want to keep an eye on the weather so that it matches your skills (as does everyone else).
Without local knowledge I assume that the Keys are shallow so you may get a steep short chop rather than big waves which don't come out of nowhere.
However squalls can come on fast, but generally die off quite quickly. You need to watch the horizon to see the front coming, and reduce sail substantially and quickly.
If under sail, you take waves at an angle as they will be aligned with the wind and you cannot sail directly into the wind. Breaking waves you take head on but you should not encounter them.
Steerage depends on having way or the boat moving, which with no sail means a motor.
There are threads on heaving to and handling squalls which you should look at.