Smartphone app alerts boaters to manatee speed zones

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A new app has been designed to help prevent boaters from hitting manatees in Florida waterways.

A Florida-based corporation, EarthNC, through its conservation venture Conserve.IO, has teamed with the Save the Manatee Club to create the free Manatee Alert App.

The smartphone-based app displays instructive visual alerts, notifying boaters when they are approaching manatee speed zones. It also helps facilitate the reporting of injured manatees and manatee harassment to the proper authorities to ensure urgent help where it’s needed.

“The new Manatee Alert App is a good example of how smartphone technology can help the public become better informed, help protect an endangered species and contribute to preserving our environment,” Brad Winney, of Conserve.IO, said in a statement. “With the majority of the public now having some form of smartphone or tablet, applications like Manatee Alert can provide safety and conservation messages in real time.”

During the busy Labor Day weekend and throughout the year, manatees are especially vulnerable to the heavy boat traffic moving through waterways in every direction. Florida’s manatees have already suffered a catastrophic year because of a prolonged red tide event in southwest Florida and an unidentified toxin in the Indian River Lagoon. There have been 717 manatee deaths from all causes through Aug. 9, and at the current rate they probably will break previous records, the club said.

“Since many manatees inhabiting Florida waters bear the scars from past encounters with boats, use of the Manatee Alert App can go a long way toward preventing such injuries and deaths,” Katie Tripp, Save the Manatee Club’s director of science and conservation, said in a statement.

Click here for the full statement.

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