FWC urges boaters to watch out for manatees as sea cow deaths rise

The number of manatees killed by boat strikes is on the rise in Florida.

According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission, 93 manatee deaths, including 10 in Volusia County, were caused by boats from Jan. 1 through July 19. 

Members of Volusia County's Manatee Protection Program urges boaters to watch out for manatees as they swim down the St. Johns River and Halifax/Indian River.

Boats cause the slow-moving sea cows deep cuts and internal complications.

Simple guidelines from the county's Manatee Protection Program include:

- Obey posted speed limits.

- Wear polarized sunglasses to eliminate glare and improve the ability to see below the surface of the water.

- Avoid boating over seagrass beds and shallow areas.

- Look out for manatees moving in the water.

- Remain at least 50 feet away from a manatee when operating a boat.

Officials urge anyone who sees a sick, injured, dead or orphaned manatee to call the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission at 888-404-FWCC (3922).