As easy as one, two, three, you could save a manatee's life. Spot a manatee - observe approaching boat - hold yellow banner up high. Save the Manatee Club's brightly colored, waterproof banners which say, "Please Slow, Manatees Below," allow quick, instant communication with boaters whenever manatees are spotted throughout Florida's busy waterways. For the last few years, concerned individuals and groups have been using the 1 ½ by 2 foot banners to slow down boaters and help prevent manatee injuries and deaths. The Club provides the banners free to the public.
Those signs have since been replaced by the new, easy-to-see plastic banners, thanks to the generosity and goodwill of the Pegasus Foundation, which funds programs to benefit animals and the environment.
Summer boat traffic can double or triple on holiday weekends in the summer, making conditions even more dangerous for the gentle slow-moving manatees. "Last year was the deadliest year ever documented for manatees with 416 recorded deaths" said Patrick Rose, Save the Manatee Club's Executive Director. According to manatee mortality data from the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission, the leading known cause of manatee deaths was from boat strikes, with at least 86 killed by boats, the second highest year on record. "It's important that people watch out for manatees, stay in deep water channels and follow all posted boat speed regulations. And use the public awareness banners as much as possible. Think of it as a yellow cautionary light - letting others know they need to slow down and exercise care," said Rose.
If you spot an injured, dead, tagged, or orphaned manatee, or if you see a manatee who is being harassed, call 1-888-404-FWCC (3922) or #FWC or *FWC on your cellular phone, or us VHF Channel 16 on your marine radio.
Request a free "Please Slow: Manatees Below" banner by contacting Save the Manatee Club via e-mail at email@example.com, by regular mail at 500 N. Maitland Ave., Maitland, FL 32751, or by calling toll free at 1-800-432-JOIN (5646). Just include your name, mailing and e-mail addresses, and the area where you boat in Florida. Also, Florida shoreline property owners can get a free aluminum sign for your dock which reads, "Please Watch for Manatees: Operate With Care." Be sure to include your name and mailing address where the sign will be posted, if different. In addition, more manatee protection tips for boaters are available on the Club's website at http://www.savethemanatee.org/boatertips.htm.