Jacksonville, Fla. - This holiday weekend is traditionally the beginning of the boating season in Jacksonville.
Wildlife officials are asking you to keep your safety, and the safety of our marine life, top of mind.
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Boat strikes remain a major threat to Florida manatees, especially as they leave their winter habitat. That means they could be in the same waterways you plan to boat on.
Read: DeSantis pledges $30M for manatee protection, habitat restoration
Every manatee saved is crucial because of the ongoing Unusual Mortality Event (UME) for manatees, as well as the the influx of new residents to Florida who might be taking a boat out for the first time. Many of these first time boaters might not be aware of these animals in the waterways.
To keep them safe, FPL’s Manatee Lagoon conservation liaison and educator Rachel Shanker urged boaters to be mindful of manatees this Memorial Day weekend.
“We have so many amazing species, such as manatees, sea turtles, and many more that are often hit by boats,” she said. “So, we have to be very cautious and aware as we’re out on the water.”
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission law enforcement officers are patrolling waters to ensure boaters follow manatee speed zones. It is important to know that manatees are protected under federal and state law.
For more information and resources, visit Manatee Lagoon and its boating safety tips to help manatees.
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