The most gentle mammal found in the inland water of Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina is the manatee. Manatees are a treat for boaters to see while spending time on the water. Unfortunately, sea cows, as they are often called, are prone to injuries from watercraft. Use these tips when boating near manate. 

What Kind Of Animal Is A Manatee

The manate is in the Sirenia family. The family has three different species: the Trichechus Manatus,  Trichechus Senegalensis, and the West Indian Manatee. All varieties are mammals. 

In the United States, the Florida Manatee is a subspecies of the West Indian Manate. However, despite the name, they extend beyond the state of Florida. 

Are Manatees Dangerous To Humans

Humans should never feel threatened or alarmed when in the vicinity of a manatee. These mammals are friendly creatures who enjoyed interacting with people.

Interestingly enough, manatees will allow swimmers to get up close and personal. However, remember, manatees are wild animals, so let them have space. It is never a bad idea to bring along a camera to snap a few closeups. 

Where Are Manatees Found In The United States

Manatees are seasonal mammals who travel with the changing water temperatures. Manatees push into the northern states during the summer months, including Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina. However, boaters do encounter manatees as far north as New York, but sittings are rare.

As the turns to fall, the manatee migrates south to Florida, where the winter water temperatures remain warm. During the coldest parts of the winter, masses of manatees are found near warm water discharge points, including power plants, to stay at optimal body temperature. 

Keep a sharp lookout for these mammals during the summer months in Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina, particularly in marinas. 

Why Are Boats Dangerous To Manatees

Boats are dangerous to manatees for many reasons, and the most significant and harmful is a collision.

The mammals are slow-moving creatures that swim in a motion where they venture up to the surface frequently. As a result, boat hulls collide with manatees in addition to propellers striking the backs of the sea creature.

Unfortunately, year after year manate are killed or become permanently scarred along their backs. As a result of the frequent collisions, marine rescue centers attempt to rehabilitate injured manatees.

Manatee congregates in specific areas, and measures are put into place for protection. One measure is requiring low speeds in the areas where they are most prevalent. Remember to obey the rules to avoid receiving a citation or, even worse, injuring a manatee. 

How Do You Protect Manatees From Boats

The first form of protection to reduce the number of vessels striking manatees are slow-speed zones. In addition to the restrictions on speed, boaters must maintain a sharp lookout for the mammals breaking the surface.

During the summer months in Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina, look for the manatee along the top of the water. To help avoid making contact, reduce speed and steer clear of the mammals. 

Head Out On The Water To Catch A Glimpse Of A Manatee

Your best chance at catching a glimpse of a manatee is during the summer months in these southern states. As the water cools in the fall, the likelihood of seeing a sea cow is slim to none. Remember, they move at a snail’s pace; therefore, they cannot quickly move out of the way. Operate at a slow speed and keep a lookout for the mammals at the surface. You and your friends and family on board will enjoy watching them move along at a leisurely pace.