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Save the Manatee Club encourages safe boating for holiday

By Staff | Aug 29, 2019

If boating is in your plan for the Labor Day weekend, the Save the Manatee Club is asking you to think of the well-being of the imperiled manatees and other aquatic wildlife by putting safety first.

The Labor Day holiday is typically a busy boating weekend on Florida’s waterways. Unfortunately, manatees continue to suffer record-breaking injuries and deaths from watercraft-related incidents, with more than 100 manatees having been killed ahead of Labor Day this year. The Save the Manatee Club recognizes that most boaters act responsibly on the water, and it encourages the boating community to be vigilant of manatees, go slow in manatee habitat and obey all posted speed regulations, which is the best way to reduce the risk of watercraft-related manatee injuries and deaths.

To increase boater awareness and help keep manatees safe, the Save the Manatee Club has free boating banners, public awareness signs for shoreline property owners, posters, decals, and other materials. Requesting the materials from the club is a great way to support and celebrate the conservation of manatees and their habitat now and during International Manatee Day on Sept. 7.

“Conscientious boaters play a pivotal role in safeguarding manatees and protecting our shared aquatic habitat, which is why the club produces and distributes numerous free boater resources,” Patrick Rose, aquatic biologist and executive director of the Save the Manatee Club, said.

The club’s free materials include bright yellow public awareness banners for Florida boaters with the message “Please Slow, Manatees Below,” and a boater safety kit that contains a weatherproof boat decal with a number for reporting injured manatees, as well as a waterproof card with tips for boating safely with manatees.

“With increased public and boater awareness, strategic enforcement of existing boating regulations, and the adoption of additional protective measures where needed, manatee deaths and injuries from boat strikes can be reduced,” Rose said.

Send requests for the waterway signage, boating banners, and boater safety kit with boat decal and waterway tips card via email to education@savethemanatee.org or call 800-432-JOIN (5646).

For those out on the water for the last holiday weekend of the summer boating season, remember that if you spot an injured, dead, tagged or orphaned manatee, or a manatee who is being harassed, call the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission hotline number at 888-404-FWCC (3922) or use VHF Channel 16 on marine radios.

For more information about the club, visit savethemanatee.org.