FWC issues ‘manatees on the move’ warning

A large fishing lure was hooked to the manatee’s face and flipper.
A large fishing lure was hooked to the manatee’s face and flipper.(Tracy Colson via FWC Fish and Wildlife)
Published: Mar. 24, 2023 at 4:44 PM EDT
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SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - It’s spring and now that the weather is warmer, manatees are starting to leave their cozy winter refuges.

This movement means that the beloved creatures can be found more frequently in rivers, canals and nearshore waters along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts.

Manatees move slowly and can be hard to spot while boating.

FWC has tips for boaters and the public to help keep this gentle giants safe:

• Wearing polarized glasses to reduce glare (and look way cool), allowing you to better see manatees, other wildlife, and even other people in the water.

• Going slow and looking out below for manatees when boating or on personal watercraft. That gives you more time to steer clear of manatees and other wildlife (including the human variety – it is spring break season after all).

• Designating a lookout to scan for manatees and other wildlife in the water. Look for the classic manatee “footprint” – circular patterns on the water’s surface.

More manatee-friendly tips: bit.ly/3KeqycI

If you encounter an injured, entangled, orphaned or dead manatee, please report it as soon as possible to our Wildlife Alert Hotline: 888-404-FWCC (3922).