Manatees and Boat Strikes

According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s semiannual report, boat strike injuries are the leading cause of death for Florida manatees so far this year. As a leader in Florida wildlife care, our team at ZooTampa is committed to the rescue, rehabilitation and release of this iconic Florida species.

Our David A. Straz, Jr. Manatee Critical Care Center is one of only four manatee critical care centers for manatees in the United States.  Our dedicated staff work vigorously each day with our manatee patients with the hope of releasing these gentle sea cows back into Florida waters.

We encourage you to join us in our mission to protect manatees in the wild by being mindful while boating and following these tips:

  1. Have someone designated as a “manatee lookout” on your boat
  2. Look for “footprints” left in the water by manatees (those circle patterns left on the water’s surface)
  3. Wear polarized sunglasses to better see manatees underwater
  4. Never give a manatee food OR water, as it teaches them to seek out human interaction
  5. Last but not least: GO SLOW in manatee zones and in shallow water, following all posted signs