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Celebrate Labor Day, International Manatee Day

By SAVE THE MANATEE CLUB - | Sep 1, 2020

This Monday, Sept. 7, celebrate both Labor Day and International Manatee Day by remembering to boat safely and watch out for manatees on the waterways.

While the day recognizes manatees all over the world, the Save the Manatee Club encourages boaters around the southeastern U.S. to vigilantly watch for manatees and obey posted speed zones during the busy boating weekend.

Watercraft-related deaths continue to be the leading cause of manatee mortalities in Florida, caused by blunt impacts from the hull and lower unit, or slashing of the propellers and skegs.

“Most living wild manatees also bear scars from these accidental encounters, demonstrating with graphic evidence that most manatees have already been but inches away from losing their lives,” aquatic biologist and club Executive Director Patrick Rose said. “Continued help and support from informed boaters is the key to a safer future for manatees.”

Although these gentle giants are large, they are not always easy to spot. At this time of year, manatees can be found in coastal waters, rivers, lakes, bays, estuaries, and canals. Boaters and passengers should wear polarized sunglasses to reduce glare on the water and keep their eyes peeled for manatee snouts, tails, and footprints on the water’s surface — a designated “manatee spotter” on board can keep a lookout. Manatees are also slow-moving and prefer shallow waters and areas rich with aquatic vegetation, which is why it’s important to follow speed regulations and boat slowly in these zones.

The Save the Manatee Club thanks residents and boaters for their role in protecting manatees and offers several free resources. Boaters can request a boating safety kit, which includes a waterway card with manatee protection tips, a boating banner to alert others of nearby manatees, and a decal with the number for reporting injured manatees. Shoreline property owners can request bright yellow signs reminding boaters to go “Slow Please.” For more information, visit savethemanatee.org/resources. Requests for the free materials can be sent to education@savethemanatee.org or by calling toll-free at 800-432-JOIN (5646).

In addition to providing free resources to increase public awareness and reduce negative impacts to manatees, the Save the Manatee Club supports manatees around the world through international conservation efforts.

“We are working to provide critical materials to manatee rescue and rehabilitation facilities in the Caribbean and Central America, as well as support for researchers and manatee advocates in Mexico and West Africa,” Rose said.

This assistance helps with the protection of imperiled manatees and their habitats throughout the world.

Join us this Monday, Sept. 7, in recognizing International Manatee Day and enjoying Labor Day the manatee-safe way.

The Save the Manatee Club was founded in 1981 by singer-songwriter Jimmy Buffett and former Florida Gov. and U.S. Sen. Bob Graham to protect manatees and their aquatic habitat. For more information, go to savethemanatee.org or call 800-432-JOIN (5646).