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Boaters: Seasonal "Manatee Zones" Now Underway

Credit: David Hinkle  USFWS
Credit: David Hinkle USFWS

Seasonal "manatee zones" for boaters go into effect Friday. Florida wildlife officials are warning boaters to slow down for the sea cows to avoid injuring them.

Boaters must follow the posted manatee speeding zones through November 15th.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s Ron Mezich says this is the time of year that manatees begin leaving the state’s warm water refuges, and spread out through Florida waterways across the state.

“And because the manatees are moving from the areas now, it’s important for boaters to be not only aware of the current speed zones, but also looking for manatees when they’re in their boats moving down the waterways,” explained Mezich.

Meanwhile, a bill died during the recent legislative session that was aimed at rethinking the manatee zones. It would have directed FWC to commission a study to determine their effectiveness.

But Mezich says the FWC has already done studies that show the zones’ value.