Save the Manatee Club Offers Free Sign and Decal to Florida Shoreline Property Owners and Boaters

(l-r) Andy Garrett, Research Administrator at the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s (FWC) Marine Mammal Pathobiology Laboratory in St. Petersburg and Captain Roger Young, FWC Law Enforcement Supervisor for Hillsborough and Pinellas Counties, at Weedon Island Preserve with one of Save the Manatee Club’s newly designed shoreline property signs. (Photo by Dr. Katie Tripp, Save the Manatee Club.)

Save the Manatee Club is offering a free public awareness waterway sign to Florida shoreline property owners. The sign, which is aluminum and 24" x 18" in size, reads, "Slow Please -- Report Manatee Injuries: 1-888-404-FWCC." It is designed to alert boaters to the presence of manatees in the waterways. Shoreline property owners can post one on their dock to let boaters know that manatees might be in the area. A decal with the same message is also available to Florida boaters.

Rick O'Hara finds a good spot on his boat for the Club's new boating decal. (Photo courtesy Nanette O'Hara, Tampa Bay Estuary Program.)

If you are a Florida shoreline property owner and/or boater and would like receive the free sign or decal, please call Save the Manatee Club toll-free at 1-800-432-JOIN (5646) or send an e-mail to education@
savethemanatee.org

In addition, here are some good general guidelines boaters can follow to help protect manatees from injury or death:

  • Wear polarized sunglasses; they can help eliminate the glare of the sun and can help you see below the water's surface.

  • Stay in deep water channels and follow all posted boat speed regulations.

  • Avoid boating over shallow seagrass beds where manatees might be feeding.

  • Look for the manatee's snout, back, tail, or flipper breaking the surface of the water; a swirl or a flat spot on the water signals a manatee may be swimming below.

  • If you see a manatee when operating a powerboat, remain a safe distance away -- about 50 feet. If you want to observe the manatee, cut the motor, but don't drift over the animal.

  • If you spot an injured, dead, tagged or orphaned manatee, or if you see a manatee being harassed, call 1-888-404-FWCC (3922) or #FWC or *FWC on your cellular phone or send a text message to Tip@MyFWC.com. You can also use VHF Channel 16 on your marine radio.

Recreational boaters are advised to review and carry up-to-date navigation charts onboard their vessels to help avoid shallow areas where manatees feed and rest. Boating guides that feature manatee speed zones for each regulated county are available from Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and should also be reviewed prior to boating and kept onboard for continued reference. 

Special thanks to Luke Saunders, who created the manatee image used on the sign.

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