The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission is asking boaters to watch out for manatees around grass beds and in posted boater speed zones.
With Florida's waters warming up, manatees have begun leaving the state's warm-water springs and discharge areas in search of grass beds and other coastal habitats. The FWC advises boaters to wear polarized sunglasses, and post a lookout to watch for oval swirls of water (a typical sign of manatee presence) or a manatee nose, back or tail breaking the surface.
Manatees are particularly vulnerable this time of year when they become more active and leave protected waters established at their winter refuges, according to the FWC. During the next few months, manatees will migrate many hundreds of miles along the Gulf and Atlantic coasts.