Record number of manatees killed by Florida boaters in 2019

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission says Florida boaters have killed 129 manatees in 2019.

That number tops the previous record of 125 deaths in 2018.

“It’s not too surprising that we’re having a record number of deaths in that we’ve seen the economy recovering, therefore, we see more boat sales and more boating activity,” said Dr. Quinton White, the executive director of the Marine Science and Research Institute at Jacksonville University.

The 2019 Preliminary Manatee Mortality Table released by the FWC shows that four of the manatee deaths due to boats were in Duval county.

“The good news is that Duval County has not had a record number of manatee deaths this year,” White said. "We’re still well below the double digits we had a few years ago.”

The preliminary report states that in 2018 there were 785 total manatee deaths. In 2019, there have only been 545 recorded to date.

“We think that Duval County does a pretty good job of obeying the manatee rules and regulations,” White said.

Although the vast majority of the manatee population has migrated south toward warmer water, there are few things to remember while out on a boat. Slow down to a minimal wake 1,000 feet from shore and wear polarized sunglasses to help you spot the manatees in the water.

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