Kayaking is an amazing way to see and swim with Florida manatees, offering you the opportunity to interact with these wonderful creatures in their natural habitats. Using a kayak, you can easily make your way through the narrow springs of Crystal River and locate the manatees wherever they are, whether they are lazing in the lagoons, nursing their calves or resting in the coves. A kayak enables you to paddle quietly through the warm springs, ensuring that you cause the least scare to the manatees and allowing a close contact with them.
So is it safe to be around a manatee in a kayak?
The answer is a definite yes. Kayaks steer through manatee habitats quietly and with minimal disturbance or damage. This allows the manatees to act naturally, go about their usual business and make no moves that may result in injuries or death. Likewise, there is nothing on kayaks that can accidentally injure a manatee, making observation of these gentle giants from inside a kayak safe and harmless. If you want to experience the magic that erupts when in the presence of manatees, then a kayak allows them to confidently approach you, check out what you are doing in their environment and interact with you without fear. Manatees are friendly and curious creatures and they are likely to come to your boat.
Respect manatees and their environment
Even though a kayak is a great way to safely see and swim with manatees, you will need to respect the animals and their environment in order to have a fruitful and memorable outing on the water. In fact, while kayak rides are peaceful and safe, you are not exempt from following the rules governing the protection of this endangered species. You are expected to exercise caution when you paddle near manatee sanctuaries, seagrass beds and refuge area boundaries to avoid injuring or killing manatees as they enter or leave these areas. Accord manatees the space for free movement in their habitat and obey the directions and restrictions on the signs around manatee habitats.
Steer your vessel away from manatees
When using a kayak, you should only observe manatees from a distance. These animals are very curious, so they can lose their natural caution at the sight of any vessel. You should keep the kayak at a distance to minimize the risk of injuring the manatees as they approach your kayak. Likewise, you should not approach or surround any manatee that you encounter. Even if the manatee initiates contact with your vessel, you should make sure of the least possible contact. Remember manatees have a powerful tail that can flip your vessel or upend you if the animal makes an abrupt, forceful move to get away. Always ensure that you are at a distance that does not change the behavior of the animal.
No fuss, more fun
Watching manatees from a distance is delightful and fun. You can take as many videos and photos as you desire and observe them from your strategic point without changing their behavior. However, you must remain quiet, make no attempts to touch the animals and avoid creating any disruption. Do not splash around or make loud noises when close to the manatees. And if a manatee approaches you on its own, you may interact with her only gently, following the animal’s lead and with help from your tour guide.
Are you planning a manatee tour to Florida and want to get the best experience possible? Captain Mike’s offers some of the safest kayaks to get you close and personal with the animals without interfering with their space. Using our kayaks is a great way to have some amazing memories with friends, family or co-workers. Located just a few miles from some of the best manatee hot spots in Crystal River, we provide tourists visiting Florida with stable, comfortable and affordable kayaks to ensure their kayaking trips are fun, safe, thrilling and memorable. For more information on finding the right kayak and achieving a once-in-a-lifetime manatee tour in Florida’s Crystal River, visit the “Captain Mike’s Kayak Academy” site.
- Swimming with the Manatees. (2016).
Proper Etiquette for Kayaking Around Manatees. Retrieved from https://swimmingwiththemanatees.com/etiquette-kayaking-manatees/
- Florida Fish and Wildlife Conversation Commission. (2015). Viewing Guidelines. Retrieved from https://myfwc.com/education/wildlife/manatee/viewing-guidelines/