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Boaters - Watch for Manatees Over the 4th of July Weekend
Across the state, people are getting fired up for 4th of July celebrations. Save the Manatee Club reminds the boating community to be extra cautious over the busy weekend.
Boaters should follow all posted boat speed regulations, slow down if manatees are in the area, and stay in deep water channels when possible. Call the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission at 1-888-404-FWCC (3922) or #FWC or *FWC on your cellular phone, or use VHF Channel 16 on your marine radio:
- If you see a manatee with a pink or red wound or with deep cuts. These are signs of a recent watercraft strike.
- If the manatee is tilting to one side, unable to submerge, or seems to have trouble breathing.
- If you observe a manatee calf (less than 6 feet in length) by itself with no adults around for an extended period of time. Manatee calves may remain dependent on their mother for up to two years. If the mother dies before the calf is weaned, or if the two are separated, there is a strong likelihood that a dependent calf will not survive alone.
- If you see anyone harassing a manatee.
- If you see boaters speeding in a protected area.
- If you see a manatee entangled in monofilament line, crab trap lines, or other debris. Do not attempt to remove debris by yourself. Debris may be embedded underneath the skin and only a trained veterinarian can adequately assess and treat the wound.
- If you see a dead manatee. By doing a necropsy, scientists can often determine the cause of death and better understand the threats faced by manatees.
- If you see a manatee tagged with a radio or satellite transmitter. Sightings of tagged manatees help provide researchers with information that can be used to protect manatees and their habitat. Do not attempt to remove the transmitter. These devices are designed with a safety mechanism to prevent manatee entanglement if the tag becomes caught or obstructs a manatee's movement in any way.
Florida boaters can request a free, "Please Slow: Manatees Below" waterproof yellow banner by contacting Save the Manatee Club via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Include full mailing information along with the area where you boat in Florida.
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