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FWC warns watch out for migrating manatees

Posted: 9:39 AM, Nov 02, 2016
Updated: 2016-11-02 09:41:08-04

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is warning boaters and swimmers to be on the lookout for manatees as they migrate to warmer waters for the winter.

FWC said November is “Manatee Awareness Month” and reminds residents that the sea cows can be found in Florida’s rivers, bays and coastal waters as cooler months approach. 

People in boats and personal watercraft are urged to slow down to avoid manatees.

FWC said many seasonal manatee protection zones go into effect Nov. 15.

Adult manatees weigh about 1,000 pounds but can be difficult to see when below the water’s surface.

Boaters are urged to wear polarized sunglasses and keep a lookout for signs of circular “footprints” that manatees trace on the top of the water.

Manatee numbers are on the rise in Florida. In February, the FWC said 6,250 manatees were counted in an aerial survey of Florida waters.

However, this year there have still been 91 manatee fatalities caused by boat strikes.