November is Manatee Awareness Month here in Florida, as they begin their annual migration to warmer waters for the winter months. During the summer, manatees can range throughout the waters of the Southeastern United States (though one satellite tagged manatee made it to Rhode Island, most are found in Georgia and Florida). In winter manatees concentrate in warm water refuges in the southern two-thirds of Florida. There they rely on artesian springs or warm water outflows from power plants to survive during the coldest months of the year.
As of November 15, additional zoned protections for manatees go into effect, and boaters are encouraged to exercise extra caution and wear polarized sunglasses, making manatees under the surface easier to see. FWC maps of manatee protection zones can help those who aren't sure which regulations apply in their area.
There have been 91 manatee fatalities from boat strikes so far in 2016, so we're grateful to everyone who boats carefully to make sure these little guys get to their winter home safely.
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