During the current cold snap, Broward officials are asking boaters to lookout for the record number of manatees in the county’s waterways this year.
The staff of the Natural Resources Planning and Management Division has counted 477 manatees during the first week of December — more than twice the historical average for this time of year. That number has since decreased.
“The current cold front should cause the number to jump back up well into the hundreds,’’ said Pat Quinn, Marine Resources with Broward County NRPMD.
The county is urging boaters to strictly obey posted speed restrictions in manatee-protection zones.
To help spot the manatees, boaters should also wear polarized sunglasses and watch for the large telltale circular slicks on the surface of the water, called manatee “footprints,” that indicate the presence of manatees.
The majority of the manatees will be traveling south in the Intracoastal Waterway to the warm-water refuges of the Lauderdale Power Plant cooling lakes and Port Everglades' Power Plant cooling canal.
Besides the Intracoastal, other poplar manatee hubs are w the New River, South Fork of New River, Dania Cutoff Canal and surrounding waters of Port Everglades.
The 2012 manatee season runs from November 15 to March 31, 2013.
Statewide, 78 manatees have been killed by boats in 2012 with three of those deaths occurring in Broward.