The second boat in our series is the Manatee. BluWave Boat Rental has an 18’ Carolina Skiff 178DLV center console boat with a capacity of 9 people we have named the Manatee. This boat has a 5” Lowrance GPS and fish finder/depth gauge, 2 livewells, pole holders, a leaner seat at the helm, all the life jackets and safety equipment required by the USCG, a full bimini, 2 anchors, fenders, and a swim ladder. It is powered by a 90 HP E-Tech 2 stroke. This boat is set up for fishing but with a capacity of 9, it serves as a good leisure boat for the intercoastal and bays as well. When it is a cruiser, we can include a Bluetooth speaker for your music pleasure paired to your cell phone.
We selected the name Manatee because there is scarcely a more fitting icon in the SW Florida area than this magnificent creature. These underwater cows graze the sea grasses and meander the underwater fields foraging and raising their young. Manatees are very docile and friendly which is a big part of the attraction. They are protected but not from hunters or poachers… from propellers! Manatees lay on the bottom of shallow areas for 10-20 minutes at a time then surface to take another breath. They surface slowly and just rise up in the middle of where they are and can be very hard to see for a boater cruising along the bays and shallows. Some manatees are rescued when injured and marine vet facilities can be very helpful. As it turns out, this year we lost the oldest Manatee living in captivity, Snooty (cover picture), who resided here in Bradenton, FL for his whole life and was a full celebrity. He will be missed by thousands of fans and visitors. Snooty was 69 years old!
FWC and other groups have established many areas as Manatee Zones, and boats are required to run slow or with no wake in these areas and to keep an eye out for a surfacing manatee to avoid collisions. They can be very hard to see when they are surfacing, they come up very slowly without creating commotion on the water surface. This is why there is a slow or no wake zone where manatees are likely to be. Manatees can be hit by boats and cause boat damage as well as manatee damage. The props will cut the manatees leaving them with open wounds that can lead to death. Many, if not most, manatees bear scars from boat prop hits when they are observed in the wild.
We love sightseeing for Manatees and want to encourage all our customers to keep an eye out so you can observe at least one of these guys during your boating experience. The Manatee boat is great because it is a fairly flat bottom vessel and you can cruise slowly through the no wake zones and find manatees. You may find several at a time, or a baby alongside a mom, they are great to have in pictures to remember your boating experience. While many people will get out and interact with the creatures, it is not lawful to play with manatees in the wild so like they say, take only pictures and leave only a small wake.