The Florida waterways are a magical place! They are full of natural beauty, home to thousands of wildlife species, and offer a great source of entertainment. This is why we offer paddle board tours in several locations all around the state. While on tour, we frequently experience wildlife of many forms, but the most common question or comment we receive is about manatees.
“Can I touch a manatee?”
The short answer is no, manatees are not to be touched! This rule goes for any wildlife we see while on our tours as we frequently experience dolphins, turtles, birds, and other animals. We strongly enforce the “look, don’t touch” practice.
Manatees Are Curious Animals
Before our tours begin, we offer a bit of education to our guests on how to act and what to do if a manatee, or any animal, swims up to them. Our guides stress the importance of leaving the water and environment exactly how it is, undisrupted. This includes not disturbing the manatees, or their environment, and not touching them!
While on our paddle board tours, we often get manatees that will come explore with us! Naturally, they are very curious animals and will come right up to our paddle boards. When this happens, we instruct the guests to let them swim by, act very calmly, and simply let them be. Our tour guides are all trained in managing interactions with the wildlife and can be called upon if our guests are ever uncomfortable.
1972 Marine Mammal Protection Act
All marine mammals, including manatees and dolphins, are protected under the 1972 Marine Mammal Protection Act. This act states that it is illegal to feed, harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, annoy, or molest any mammal. Actions included in this:
- Feeding the manatees or using food to attract them.
- Chasing manatees while either swimming, paddling, or with a vessel.
- Hitting, poking, jumping on, holding, or attempting to ride on a manatee.
- Blocking the path of the manatee or trying to separate a mother & calf.
- Disturbing a resting or mating manatee herd.
- Attempting to hook or catch a manatee.
This law is an extremely important piece of Florida wildlife preservation and we make sure all of our guests are aware of it to help protect our wildlife.
What About Dolphins?
Similar to manatees, dolphins are incredibly entertaining and likable creatures! They often put on a show for our paddle board tour guests by jumping out of the water, sticking their heads up to look at you, or even swimming alongside a tour group. They fall under the same 1972 Marine Mammal Protection Act and are not to be touched or disturbed.
Help Us Keep Florida Waterways Safe
Three Brothers Tours is committed to keeping our waterways safe for all of their natural inhabitants. This includes educating our guests, preventing litter and pollution, and making sure our manatees & dolphins are safe while we also enjoy the water. If you are interested in learning more about wildlife protection, visit the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission.
Interested in a Three Brothers Adventure Tour?
We have locations throughout Florida and your SUP tour is guaranteed to be amazing with great memories to share when you go home. As seen on the Travel Channel and voted the top activity to do while visiting Florida, our tours are great for all ages, skill levels, and even large groups.