The first manatees of the season have been spotted along the coast of South Carolina, leading the S.C. Department of Natural Resources to remind boaters to avoid collisions with the endangered animals.
The DNR also says feeding and watering manatees is illegal. Such actions encourage the animals to stay close to docks and marinas, making them susceptible to boat strikes. The agency plans to increase enforcement efforts.
If a boat accidentally hits a manatee, boaters should immediately contact the U.S. Coast Guard on VHF Channel 16 or the DNR at 800-922-5431.
Report a healthy, live manatee at www.dnr.sc.gov/manatee/sight.htm.
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Report an injured or dead one at 800-922-5431.