Manatees move to find food, area boaters cautioned
Friday, January 15, 2010
Media contact: Gabriella B. Ferraro, 772-215-9459; Officer Jorge Pino, 561-723-1417
Recent cold fronts have very high numbers of
manatees concentrated in warm-water refuges near power plants in
Palm Beach and Broward counties. The Florida Fish and
Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) cautions boaters to be on
the lookout for manatees moving into the Intracoastal Waterway to
feeding areas. Boaters should slow down and strictly obey
posted speed restrictions in manatee protection zones.
"As the weather warms, large numbers of these
mammals will be moving out of warm-water refuges and headed toward
feeding areas," said FWC law enforcement Capt. David
Schaeffer. "That's when the greatest danger from boat strikes
occurs. This pattern will repeat itself as winter cold fronts
come and go."
The FWC and its law enforcement partners will be
increasing patrols and strictly enforcing manatee protection zone
speed limits to aid the animals during this period when they are
most vulnerable to vessel strikes.
To avoid striking manatees, vessel operators should
wear polarized sunglasses to help them spot the creatures in the
water, and watch for the large, tell-tale circular slicks on the
surface of the water (manatee footprints) that indicate the
presence of manatees.
For more information on Florida's manatees, visit
To report an injured or dead manatee, please call
the FWC's Wildlife Alert Hotline at 888-404-3922