November is Manatee Awareness Month, help spread the word! The Florida Manatee population is endangered and there are simple things we can all do to make sure we protect these “gentle giants” for generations to come.
♦ Be alert while boating and always obey posted speed zone waterway signs.
♦ Manatees can be hard to spot. Keep a look out for signs of manatees, like a snout breaking the surface or a swirl or flat spot in the water caused by a swimming manatee’s tail.
♦ Always wear polarized sunglasses to reduce glare and allow better through-water visibility.
♦ Slow down. Reducing boat speed gives boaters a better chance to see manatees and avoid them, and gives manatees time to get out of the boat’s path.
♦ Obey posted manatee caution zone signs.
♦ Stay in deep water channels and avoid boating over shallow seagrass beds where manatees may be feeding.
♦ Stow and properly discard trash and monofilament fishing line.
Just to the West of Sebastian Inlet, seagrass beds on the flood shoal have made a resurgence (to read more, click here). More than 145 acres in 6 zones are marked with signs: Caution. Shallow Water. Seagrass Area. After completing a major project to extend a 9-foot deep, 150-foot wide channel from the Sebastian Inlet to Intracoastal Waterway, the Sebastian Inlet District also installed those signs to protect seagrass beds, manatees and other species that depend on them, and aid boaters in navigating the channel from the Intracoastal Waterway to the inlet. To download our Sebastian Inlet Navigation Guide and Map, click here.
Did you know:
♦ FWC estimates 6,000 manatees live in Florida waters.
♦ An average adult manatee is 10 feet and can weigh between 800-1200 lbs.
♦ They can swim up to 20 miles per hour in short bursts, and in the Indian River Lagoon it is common to find them in less than 6 feet of water as they feed on the seagrasses that grow in shallow water.
♦ Almost all manatees in Florida bear telltale scars of impacts with boats.
♦ Many become entangled in crab pot lines or discarded filament fishing line.
To report violations or manatee injuries, call FWC at 1-888-4004-3922. Breaking State and Federal law can result in imprisonment and fines of up to $20,000. For more information on manatees and how you can help, visit www.savethemanatee.org – a 4-star Charity Navigator rated non-profit organization.
The Sebastian Inlet District was created in 1919 as an independent special district by act of the Florida State Legislature, and chartered to maintain the navigational channel between the Atlantic Ocean and the Indian River. The Sebastian Inlet District’s responsibilities have grown to include beach re-nourishment and dune repair as part of a state mandated sand bypass system, erosion control, environmental protection and public safety. The Sebastian Inlet supports a rich and diverse ecological environment that is unparalleled in North America. The Inlet is vital not only to the ecological health of the Indian River Lagoon, but it is also an important economic engine for local communities in the region. Known as the premier surfing, fishing, boating and recreational area on the east coast of Florida, the inlet is one of only five navigable channels that connect the Indian River lagoon to the Atlantic Ocean.