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Tips for boaters to avoid striking manatees in Lake Worth & Indian River Lagoons

ManateeFest 2022 this weekend in West Palm Beach
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Posted at 1:05 PM, Mar 22, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-22 13:05:09-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. —
Boater Safety Tips from FPL's Manatee Lagoon
Manatees can be difficult to detect when they are underwater, so it is important for operators of boats and personal watercrafts to be vigilant.

You can help protect manatees by following these simple guidelines:

  • Wear polarized sunglasses to help spot manatees.
  • Avoid boating in shallow areas where manatees graze on seagrass.
  • Look for large circles on the water, also known as manatee footprints, indicating the presence of a manatee below.
  • Look for a snout sticking up out of the water.
  • Follow posted manatee zones [myfwc.com] while boating.
  • Never push back a stranded manatee.
  • Report injured, distressed, sick or dead manatees to the FWC’s Wildlife Alert Hotline at 888-404-FWCC (3922) or dialing #FWC or *FWC on a cellphone so trained responders can assist

T.A. Walker interviews FPL's Angela Ledford

T.A. - "The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) continue to investigate a high level of manatee mortalities [myfwc.com] and respond to manatee rescues along the Atlantic coast of Florida… What’s going on?"

Angela - "That's right T.A. So FWC has been working very closely with all of their wildlife partners to talk about the unusual mortality of it and educate people about what's happening out there. And so, nutrient runoff excess nutrient runoff caused from human sources has caused algal blooms throughout a lot of waterways in Florida. And that can really be an issue for manatees because it blocks sunlight from getting to seagrass, which is manatees' preferred food source, and that has led to a lot of issues for manatees."

T.A. - "Lack of seagrasses in the Indian River Lagoon is concerning, but it’s not the same in the Lake Worth Lagoon?"

Angela - "According to Palm Beach County Environmental Resources Management (ERM), they say that the Lake Worth Lagoon is doing a little bit better. Of course, there's a lot of ways that we could help and make it even better because Manatees are facing challenges throughout the state. But we want to make sure that everything that we do helps manatees because whether it's the Lake Worth lagoon or the Indian River Lagoon, everything that we as humans do, can impact wildlife. All aquatic wildlife are affected by these algal blooms."

T.A. "Manatee Lagoon's sixth anniversary of ManateeFest 2022 is on Saturday, March 26, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Manatee Lagoon. What can people expect."

Angela - "We've got Mia she's going to be out making appearances so many things for kids to do and families can enjoy themselves. Learn about manatees educate themselves while having fun, it's free, tons of things to do."