FWC Reminds Florida Boaters To Be Cautious Of Manatees This Spring

By on March 23, 2018 in WNDB News

Florida – The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is reminding boaters to be on the lookout for manatees this spring.

During the spring, manatees leave their winter refuges and travel along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts and through inland waters. From April 1 through November 15, manatee zones require boaters to slow down in these areas in order to avoid collisions with manatees. FWC law enforcement officers are on patrol in state waters to remind boaters of the seasonal manatee speed zones and to enforce these rules.

“Spring is a great time to go boating in Florida, but manatees are out there too. Please watch out for them,” Ron Mezich, head of the FWC’s manatee management program, says. Florida invests more than $2 million a year for manatee conservation.

The FWC has some tips so that boaters can be better aware of the 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.
  • Report an injured, distressed, sick, or dead manatee to the FWC’s Wildlife Alert Hotline at 888-404-FWCC (3922) or dial #FWC or *FWC on a cell phone.

The FWC also has links for “Manatee zones and maps,” “A boater’s guide to living with Florida Manatees,” and a guide for “Where to Find Manatees in Florida.”

Copyright Southern Stone Communications 2018.

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