boaters beware, manatees are migrating
Cold fronts put manatees on the move looking for warmer water in places such as freshwater springs and canals near power plants, so state officials want boaters and anglers to be watchful.
Adult manatees, which can weigh up to 1,000 pounds, may look blubbery, but water temperatures of 68 degrees and lower can be harmful and even deadly to these marine mammals.
Because of the seasonal migration, November has been designated Manatee Awareness Month. In many areas of the state, seasonal manatee protection zones went into effect Thursday.
State law enforcement officers with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) want boaters to be aware of the slow zones and signs of manatees. Boaters should post a lookout on the bow to scan for repetitive swirl patterns, a mud trail, or a snout or fluke breaking the water's surface.
Boaters can also help these creatures by keeping to marked channels, wearing polarized sunglasses to improve vision in the water, obeying posted speeds, and using poles, paddles or trolling motors when traveling close to manatees. For a complete list of manatee regulations, go to www.flrules.org.
Take a hike
The weather is great this time of year, but if you still need an excuse to get outside, Saturday is National Take a Hike Day. To find a hiking trail near you, visit the Florida Greenways and Trails website at dep.state.fl.us/gwt/guide.
Send news Terry Tomalin at [email protected] or call (727) 893-8808.
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