An edition of: WaterAtlas.orgPresented By: Sarasota County, USF Water Institute

Water-Related News

SBEP: Your boating behavior can be a lifesaver

What’s better than a day out on the water? Our local bays, inlets, sandbars, and Gulf waters offer plenty to explore and enjoy. With the pandemic limiting activities outside the home, it’s no surprise that boating has increased, but unfortunately, so have human-caused accidents to wildlife. When we are on the water, it’s important to remember we are guests in the home of turtles, dolphins, sharks, rays, manatees, birds, and the many other species that live in and rely on the bay. The actions we take on the water can save more ways than one.

There are roughly 43,598 registered boats in Sarasota and Manatee counties. If you are a dolphin, a boat will pass within a little over a football field’s distance from you every six minutes. With increased numbers of boats in the water this year, calls to Mote Marine Lab’s Stranding Investigations Program are up by 30%. Mote, the Sarasota Dolphin Research Program, and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission have reported an increase in human-caused deaths for dolphins, turtles, and manatees. These deaths resulted from animals getting hit by boats, tangled in fishing gear, or eating plastic.