manatees & habitats

Information about these lovable "gentle giants" and their ecosystems.

Manatees exist within the US coastal waters. These "gentle giants," known for their peaceful disposition, will grow to about 10-feet long and can weigh up to 1,200 pounds.

Manatees are facing challenges from their ever-changing environments and reduced breeding areas, which is significant because females only give birth about every 2 to 5 years.

Eating & Breathing

Lifespan & Mortality

Federal & State Law

Legal Protection

Manatees are protected under federal law. It is illegal to harass, hunt, capture, or kill any marine mammal. The Florida Manatee Sanctuary Act of 1972 states: "It is unlawful for any person, at any time, intentionally or negligently, to annoy, molest, harass, or disturb any manatee." Anyone convicted of violating Florida State Law faces a fine of up to $500 and/or 60 days in prison. Conviction on the federal level is punishable by a maximum fine of $100,000 plus one year in prison.

Helpful Tips for Boating in Coastal Waterways

Wear polarized sunglasses to see manatees below the surface more easily. Try to stay in deep channels, so your prop is less likely to injure a manatee. And avoid boating over shallow seagrass beds where manatees may be feeding.

Manatee Demi with two youngsters. July 22, 2021.
Mother manatee and calf followed by Shalane and her calf. January 19, 2021.