Speed Zone Guide

Protection Zone Maps

Boaters & Personal Watercraft Safety

  • Check the "Latest Sightings" information map for where manatees have been observed prior to beginning your boating activity.
  • Observe speed zone signs posted in manatee habitat areas or travel corridors.
  • Watch out for manatees or indications that manatees may be in the area. These indications include: swirls at the water surface, mud trails, or noses surfacing to breathe.
  • If you see a manatee in the same area where you are operating a boat or PWC (Personal Watercraft) stay at least 50 feet away from the manatee.
  • Stay in deep water when operating a boat or PWC, and away from shorelines and grassbeds.
  • While on the water, wear polarized sunglasses which provide greater visibility into water.
  • Help protect manatees in your immediate area by informing other nearby boat or PWC operators of a manatee's location.

All new boating facilities in Duval County must:

  1. Have no or minimal adverse impact on manatee movements or on known areas of high manatee use or high manatee mortality.
  2. Have no or minimal dredging to thereby reduce or eliminate impact to benthic communities and native submerged vegetation and/or emergent vegetation (Spartina alterniflora or Juncus roemerianus).
  3. Be compatible with local land use and zoning.

Swimmers, Divers, & Manatee Observers

  • Although passive and curious, manatees are wild marine mammals. Giving them water or food can cause them to lose their natural fear of humans, making them more vulnerable to injury or death. Providing manatees with plenty of room is the best way to observe their normal behavior in the wild.
  • Do not follow a manatee if it is leaving your area. Adult manatees can reach weights over a ton and will defend themselves if harassed.
  • Never separate a manatee cow and calf.
  • Loud noises and splashing are frightening to a manatee's sensitive hearing.
  • In addition to being unlawful, disposing of monofilament line, hooks, or other litter into the water can cause injury or death to manatees if ingested.
  • Manatee refuge areas are off limits to humans. These areas are essential manatee habitats which must remain undisturbed for the protection of the species.