Sometimes having both humans and animals in close proximity can cause injuries and even deaths to our aquatic friends. There are ways to prevent injuring the manatees and dolphins that live in the same waters we boat, Jet Ski and swim. This usually takes nothing more than a little common sense and consideration.
Disturbing manatees and dolphins cause them to leave their homes, interrupt their feeding and even effect traditional mating practices. Manatees and dolphins are mammals and need to breach to breath. They are therefore often close to the surface and could even swim right up to your boat. But for the protection of these animals it’s important not to touch or feed them.
Propellers and boat hulls are among the most deadly to manatees and dolphins, even more so than natural predators. Propellers can slice through the skin of these animals and hulls can crush bones and kill them on impact. Boats and jet skis catch these animals off guard and could cost them their lives.
Pollution is another detriment to sea life. Plastic is among the most detrimental and damaging to the ocean environment. It also the primary component to the massive garbage gyre in the North Pacific Ocean. Plastics, as it would to humans, cause serious illness to all sea life when ingested. Other plastic pieces like bottle rings can get caught on a dolphin’s nose, forcing it to starve to death.
The loss of habitats, water pollution, collisions with watercraft and interaction with humankind all negatively impact the manatees and dolphins living in the Florida waters. Paying attention to where herds may be breaching and slowing your watercraft accordingly may contribute to saving lives. Also keeping your trash inside your vessel until you pull ashore also contributes to a healthy habitat for a sea mammal friends.