Manatees are protected by state and federal law and are classified as endangered. Boaters should avoid manatee habitats and always be careful when navigating on waters where manatees could be present such as seagrass areas and shallow waters.
It is illegal to harass, hunt, capture or kill any marine mammal, including manatees. Anything that disrupts a manatee's normal behavior is a violation of law, punishable under federal law by a fine of up to $50,000, one-year imprisonment, or both. Boaters must observe all manatee protection zone requirements.
If you accidentally strike a manatee, you should report the strike to the FWC immediately as immediate care could save the manatees life and is not necessarily a violation if operator was complying with boating regulations and zones.
Contact the FWC if you see an injured, dead, or entangled manatee. Some Manatees have tracking devices attached to their tails that may be spotted on top of the water. These Manatees are not in need of help and should be left alone.
Signs of manatees in the water: