Manatee Safety Reminder
For further information
Contact: Janice Nearing
Director of Public Relations
Phone: (407) 539-0990
Released: August 29, 2018, Updated: October 26, 2018
Note: High resolution jpegs (300 dpi) of manatee images or the Club’s public awareness materials are available upon request.
Those who are planning to spend time out on the waterways with friends and family are encouraged to boat responsibly and to watch for manatees.
Save the Manatee Club reminds Florida residents and visitors to also immediately report sick, injured, or orphaned manatees, or a manatee that is being harassed. Also report dead manatees or a manatee wearing a “tag” or tracking device. A red tide bloom in southwest Florida is currently affecting manatees and other wildlife. Red tide acts as a neurotoxin, giving them seizures that can result in drowning. However, manatees can often be saved if rescued in time. If manatees exposed to red tide can be moved out of the affected area by trained biologists and stabilized at a critical care facility, their prognosis is often very good. Call the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) at 1-888-404-FWCC (3992). You can also send a text message or email to Tip@MyFWC.com, or use VHF Channel 16 on your marine radio.
“With record watercraft mortality this year along with nearly 190 manatees already lost to red tide, we want to ensure that manatees are receiving the help they so desperately require,” said Patrick Rose, Save the Manatee Club’s Executive Director and Aquatic Biologist. “Clearly, as in past desperate situations, help is needed from the general public and boaters to assist in reporting sick and injured manatees.”
As of October 19th, there have been 714 manatee mortalities in Florida, which exceeds the total for all of 2017, and 98 of those mortalities were from watercraft collisions.
Many manatees in the wild bear scars from at least one watercraft collision, and some manatees bear multiple scars. In fact, manatee scars are so commonplace that researchers use them as a method of individual identification. Slowing down in manatee habitat and obeying posted speed regulations is the best way to reduce the risk of manatee injury and death.
Save the Manatee Club produces and distributes free yellow banners to Florida boaters with the message, “Please Slow, Manatees Below.” Participating boaters hold the banners up high when they spot a manatee to warn other boaters that manatees are present. Weatherproof boat decals with the number for reporting injured manatees, and laminated waterway cards that feature manatee protection tips, are also available. In addition, the Club provides shoreline property owners with public awareness aluminum dock signs that let boaters know manatees have been sighted in the waterway, and urges them to slow down. Send requests for the Club’s free public awareness materials via email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call toll free at 1-800-432-JOIN (5646). Get more tips and resources at savethemanatee.org/boatertips.
Save the Manatee Club was established in 1981 by singer/songwriter Jimmy Buffett and Bob Graham, former U.S. Senator and Florida governor, to protect manatees and their aquatic habitat for future generations.