We're At Peak Manatee! Officials Warn Boaters To Slow Down

Jan 19, 2018

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and Palm Beach County officials are reminding boaters to slow down -- it’s manatee season.

‘Operation Mermaid’ is a multi-agency effort to protect manatees from being injured by boats.

Local police departments patrolling Palm Beach County’s inlets and the Intracoastal Waterway are stepping up enforcement of speed violations.

“We don’t want anybody speeding where they shouldn’t be,” said West Palm Beach Police Officer Mickey Allen. “They could not only hit manatee, but hurt themselves as well.”

State and local officials urge boaters to be on the lookout for manatees in Riviera Beach on Jan. 18, 2018.
Credit Peter Haden / WLRN

Hurricane Irma knocked down some of the signs reminding boaters of speed limits.

“We're working hard to replace a lot of signage in the state,” said FWC spokesperson Carolyn Parrish. “Boaters need to be aware as they’re recreating on the water.”

Officials advise boaters to wear polarized sunglasses to help spot the amiable sea cows in the water.

The cost of a boat speeding citation is $90.

For maps of manatee protection zones, click here.

If you see a sick or injured manatee, call the FWC Wildlife Alert Hotline: 888-404-FWCC.