Manatee Awareness Month

Florida Manatee
Manatee in Crystal River, FLPerson swimming with Manateemanatees at Haulover Canal, Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, Florida
Celebrate the sea dwelling relative of elephants!

November marks Manatee Awareness Month in the state of Florida and all of us at Sailors for the Sea are celebrating these gentle giants! Florida manatees are found in shallow rivers, bays, estuaries and coastal water ecosystems of the southeastern United States. They are most easily found in Florida but can be seen as far north as the Carolinas and as far west as Louisiana in the summer.

Florida manatees, a subspecies of the West Indian Manatee, are an endangered species due to habitat loss, increased boat traffic and harmful algal blooms like red tide. As boaters we can help make a difference for these amazing creatures. Many slow wake zones in Florida have been created to prevent boaters from hitting manatees. By following the law you can help protect an endangered species. In addition to going slow in the right places, have a dedicated spotter looking for circular wave patterns, which are left by the manatee’s tail as it swims. Wearing polarized sunglasses can make them easier to spot. Additionally, Manatees do not handle the cold well and in the winter seek shallower, warmer water. So when boating near power plants, inlets or in shallow areas, be extra cautious!

To learn more about manatees read are Ocean Watch article by University of Florida Roger Reep. If you are visiting Florida this winter and see a manatee that seems hurt, orphaned or entangled call 1-888-404-3922 or text tip@myfwc.com.