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FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) — Boaters be warned. Manatee season is about to begin meaning more of them on the waterways and lower speed limits.
Broward officials are warning boaters ahead of the November 15th start date as endangered Florida manatees move south for warmer water with temperatures dropping.
The start of the season means slower speed limits go into effect and boaters need to keep their eyes open for manatee “footprints” or circular slicks on the surface of the water.
Boaters should keep an eye out for posted speed limits and wear polarized sunglasses to make it easier to spot manatees.
In 2015, more than 1,200 manatees were spotted in the county’s waterways. Many of them can be found in warm-water refuges of the Lauderdale Power Plant cooling lakes and the Port Everglades Power Plant cooling canal.
The speed limit changes and warnings are aimed at avoiding accidents that could kill manatees. From January to October, 89 manatees have been killed by boats in Florida – two of those in Broward County.
Many seasonal manatee protection zones go into effect throughout the state on November 15th and run thru March 31, 2017.
Boaters who see a sick, injured, or dead manatee are urged to call (888) 404-FWCC or type *FWC or #FWC on your cell phone.
Click here for more information on manatee protection zones by county.