(WEST PALM BEACH, FL)– As ocean temperatures decrease from summer highs, Florida wildlife officials are asking boaters to be mindful of manatees as the slow moving sea cows travel to warmer waters.
Manatees depend on temperatures of 68 degrees or greater and will seek warmth during the winter months in Florida’s inland springs or near power plant discharges.
Manatee Season runs annually from November 15th through March 31st and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has designated November as Manatee Awareness Month.
FWC is appealing to boaters to be extra-vigilant while out on the water.
Boaters and personal watercraft users are asked to observe speed restrictions in designated manatee zones, wear polarized sunglasses to better see objects in the water, and to give manatees plenty of space if they’re spotted.
FWC officers and local law enforcement agencies will be patrolling manatee zones on the Intracoastal and other waterways and issuing citations to boaters who fail to overserve area speed limits.
In 2021 there were 103 manatee deaths caused by watercraft in Florida.
If you spot a trapped or injured Manatee call the FWC hotline right away at 888-404-3922 and take photos if possible.