Wednesday, May 9, 2007
Signs #2: Manatee Zone
Manatees are a fairly common sight around this area.
The first photo is a large sign placed in the way of boats entering Palm Bay on the Indian River Lagoon. The Indian River Lagoon is our section of the Intracostal Waterway that runs up the entire east coast of the US. Palm Bay is an actual bay on the Lagoon and the source of the name of Palm Bay, the city I live in. Strangely enough, most of the residents of Palm Bay the city have absolutely no idea that there is an actual body of water named Palm Bay on the eastern edge of the city.
The second photo is near the mouth of Crane Creek in Melbourne, Florida where it meets the Indian River Lagoon a couple of miles north of where the first photo was taken.
There are an unbelievable amount of boats in this area on all bodies of water and the slow moving manatees you see around almost all have marks on them from being gouged with boat propellers. Despite this being the most common way manatees are killed, boaters around here fight tooth and nail to keep from having boat speed limits curtailed.
The husband of a lady I work with once worked with the largest custom boat dock builder in Brevard County, and while he worked there was part of the crew that put up hundreds of these free standing Manatee Zone signs in local waterways. He said it was back breaking work.
Manatees like to swim just under the surface of the water, making them almost impossible to see unless boats are going very slow and have someone riding point and watching for them. Hence the boaters hate manatees and any laws meant to slow them down from their blasting through the creeks, rivers, and lakes.
Personally, seeing how boaters can be around here, I'm surprised there are any manatees left.