In January, both manatees and boaters are on the move looking for pleasant temperatures and good food. As long as sea cows stay in the shallow and captains stay in the deep, all is well. Captains and mates spot manatee shapes at their seagrass restaurants by the flip of a tail, a swirl of water and nostrils nosing the surface. Be ready to back away, captain.
Don’t let them nose up to your propeller. Sea cows get pretty curious sometimes, and not in a safe way. Florida’s manatee population is coming back—careful boaters deserve some of the credit for that—and seagrass acreage is expanding thanks to clean water initiatives throughout Florida. But here’s another item on the good citizens’ to-do list. If you see an injured manatee, call it into Florida Fish and Wildlife (FWC).
Email tip@myfwc or text/talk to FWC at (888) 404-3922
by Bill AuCoin, Southern Boating January 2018