Manatees are on the move. FWC wants to remind boaters to be on the lookout for Manatees who are leaving their winter homes and to slow to avoid unfortunate accidents.
Manatees will be found in greater numbers in rivers, canals and nearshore waters as they begin to move around the state.“This year, especially along the east coast, it is critical that people watch for manatees when on the water,” said Ron Mezich, Imperiled Species Management section leader.
Boat strikes remain a serious threat to manatees as they can be difficult to identify when they are underwater. Boaters are encouraged to observe the slower speeds in manatee speed zones and keep a keen eye to protect these gentle giants. It is also crucial to follow simple guidelines outlined by FWC which include:
- Wearing polarized sunglasses to help spot manatees.
- Avoid boating in shallow areas to prevent damaging seagrass and to avoid resting and grazing manatees.
- Look for large circles on the water, also known as manatee footprints, indicating the presence of a manatee below.
- Look for a snout sticking up out of the water.
- Physically helping a stranded manatee may cause it more harm.
Let’s do our part to reduce the mortality and injury rate these animals are experiencing and if you see an injured, distressed, sick or dead manatee report it to FWC’s Wildlife Alert Hotline at 888-404-FWCC (3922) or by dialing #FWC or *FWC on a cellphone so trained responders can assist.