As Weather Warms, It’s Critical Time For Brevard Boats To Be On Lookout For Manatees
By Space Coast Daily // March 26, 2017
seasonal zones require boaters to slow down
ABOVE VIDEO: Video resource for people who may observe for manatees during permitted in-water activities to help prevent animal injury or death. The video includes facts about manatees and manatee presence in Florida.
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA — In balmy spring weather, both manatees and boaters are cruising through Florida’s waterways.
For manatees, it is a seasonal ritual when they abandon winter retreats and head north along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts and through inland waters.
For boaters, it is a critical time to be on the lookout for manatees to avoid colliding with these large, slow-moving aquatic mammals.
From April 1 through Nov. 15, seasonal manatee zones require boaters to slow down in certain areas to prevent manatees from being struck by motorboats or personal watercraft.
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) law enforcement officers will be on patrol in state waters to remind boaters of the seasonal manatee speed zones and take enforcement actions when necessary.
Because manatees are difficult to detect when underwater, operators of boats, including personal watercraft, need to take basic steps to avoid causing injury to manatees:
- Wear polarized sunglasses to help spot 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.
- Follow posted manatee zones while boating.
FWC biologists, managers and law enforcement staff work closely with partners to evaluate current data and identify necessary actions to protect this iconic animal.
Florida has invested over $2 million annually for manatee conservation, and the FWC will work toward continued success for manatees in our state.
CLICK HERE for manatee zones and maps.
The FWC also asks anyone who sees an injured, distressed, sick or dead manatee to call the agency’s Wildlife Alert Hotline at 888-404-FWCC (3922) or dial #FWC or *FWC on a cellphone.
You can watch manatees without disturbing them by following “Guidelines for protecting native wildlife – Florida Manatees,” a brochure with tips for canoers, kayakers, paddle boarders, snorkelers and scuba divers.
CLICK HERE FOR BREVARD COUNTY NEWS