Manatee News

This July 4th Holiday, Keep it Safe for Boaters and Manatees

Lori Dement takes the Club’s boating banner along whenever she and her husband are out enjoying a day on the water. “The manatees are special to me, and it’s a good feeling to be able to do something to help.” (Photo by Cyrus Dement.)

For further information, contact:
Janice Nearing, Director of Public Relations
Phone: (407) 539-0990
E-mail: jnearing@savethemanatee.org

Note: A high resolution jpeg (300 dpi) image of a yellow boating banner in use is available upon request.

For Immediate Release
: June 27, 2014

Boaters can help reduce the risk of collisions with manatees and other wildlife by being extra vigilant when out on county waterways during the 4th of July long weekend. Slowing down in manatee habitat and observing all posted boat speed regulations can save manatee lives. Also, statistics on human/watercraft injuries and fatalities continue to concern Floridians and visitors who use and enjoy the state’s rivers and waterways.

A recent press release from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) states that 62 people lost their lives in Florida in 2013 due to boating accidents, and there have been 11 deaths so far in 2014. Read more at MyFWC.com/Boating; click on “Boating Accidents.” Since boat traffic often doubles or triples on holiday weekends, dangerous conditions for the boating community as well as the slow-moving manatees can increase dramatically.

Save the Manatee Club produces bright yellow, waterproof boating banners and provides them free to Florida boaters to help warn other boaters when manatees are sighted in the area. By carrying the “Please Slow Manatees Below” banner in motor boats, kayaks, and canoes, it’s much easier and more efficient to alert other boaters when manatees are present. Remember, manatees must surface to breathe and prefer shallow waters. If you see a manatee when operating a powerboat, remain a safe distance away – about 300 feet. If you want to observe the manatee, cut the motor, but don’t drift over the manatee.

Lori Dement from South Pasadena, Florida, takes the Club’s boating banner along whenever she and her husband, Cyrus, are out on local waterways in their dinghy. “I requested the banner so that I can do what I can to protect the manatees – they are just so very precious,” said Lori.

The Club also produces and distributes free shoreline property signs and boating decals with the message to “Slow Please,” and both feature the FWC’s hotline number for reporting manatees in distress. If you see an injured, dead, tagged or orphaned manatee, or a manatee who is being harassed, call the FWC at 1-888-404-FWCC (3922) or #FWC or *FWC on your cellular phone, use VHF Channel 16 on your marine radio, or send a text message to Tip@MyFWC.com.

“Responsible boating practices can save both human and manatee lives,” says Dr. Katie Tripp, Director of Science and Conservation for Save the Manatee Club. “This is especially crucial during busy holidays when more boaters are out on the water and the risks increase.”

Free boating banners, decals, waterproof manatee protection tips cards, or signs for Florida shoreline property owners can be obtained by contacting Save the Manatee Club via e-mail at education@savethemanatee.org, by regular mail at 500 N. Maitland Ave., Maitland, FL 32751, or by calling toll free at 1-800-432-JOIN (5646). Click the following link to find Manatee Protection Tips for Boaters at the Club’s website.
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