Proper Etiquette for Kayaking Around Manatees

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At Captain Mike’s Swimming With The Manatees, we specialize in Crystal River manatee tours, where our guests have an opportunity to kayak and swim with the beautiful creatures right in their natural habitat. However, it’s important to remember that manatees are an endangered species, protected by both Florida and federal law.

Under the law, it is illegal to harass, capture, or kill manatees. However, they are delicate animals, and what many people consider to be harmless play could actually disrupt a manatee’s behavior, making them more likely to find themselves in harm’s way in the future.
Manatee KayakingIn general, you should plan on observing manatees from a nice distance, allowing them to act naturally and go about their usual business. We assure you that watching them from afar will be entertaining on its own. Don’t paddle in their direction, and allow them plenty of room to pass if it seems like you might be crossing paths. You may be on a leisurely Florida vacation, but you never know what kind of important business a manatee might be up to, and you never want to stop them from tending to their young or coming up for air.

Manatee Kayaking

Avoid splashing around and making loud noises when in the proximity of manatees, or any natural habitat for that matter. Even the sound of scuba gear could drive manatees away, which is one of the reasons why snorkel gear is used instead. If a manatee approaches you on its own, it’s okay to interact, but only by gently following their lead, and with the help of your guide.

Never feed manatees, even if they might look a little hungry. If you have serious concerns about their well-being, alert your guide, who will then contact the proper authorities if necessary.

KayakingEven though you may be on a peaceful kayak ride, this does not exempt you from following rules posted on signs. If a sign says not to enter, don’t enter, even if you’re not in a motorized vehicle. In fact, even swimmers are required to follow posted restrictions.
Finally, in addition to being protected by law, manatee’s also have their main source of food protected as well. Sea grass, which also naturally filters water, is off limits for boaters. Never cut through sea grass as a shortcut, and when it doubt, remain in the middle of the waterway whenever possible.
At Captain Mike’s Swimming With The Manatees, we work hard to make sure that all of our guests get the most out of their time spent swimming with manatees and exploring their natural habitat. However, it’s also part of our job to make guests aware of proper etiquette, avoiding behavior that, in the worst cases, can lead to large fines, and even imprisonment.
For a fun, safe and exciting manatee tour on King’s Bay in Florida’s Crystal River, contact Swimming with the Manatees today.

Manatee Kayaking


Swimming with the Manatees boasts the best water adventure in Crystal River, Florida with lots of things to do for you and your family. For more information, contact us online, or call us at (352) 571-1888.

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