Things You Need to Know Before Swimming With The Manatees

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With an abundance of manatees, Florida is a great destination for those looking to see, swim and snorkel with these gentle sea mammals. Beginning as early as 6:30 a.m., when it is still dark and the water so cold, manatee tours attract heavy fanfare as adventurers climb into boats in the fog and the captains insist on passive observation, telling tourists to lie still in the waters and wait for manatees to come to them. The lumbering sea cows are curious animals and tend to hang out with people as long as they are treated tenderly. So what key things should you know before swimming with the manatees?

1. Swimming with manatees best in the winter

Though many people consider Florida a hot spring break destination, it is in the winter when West Florida is ideal for snorkeling with manatees. Throughout the winter, the springs of King’s Bay and Crystal River enjoy a warm temperature of 72 degrees and attract hundreds of manatees, making it the best time to see and swim with these gentle giants. The largest number of West Indian manatees head to Crystal River between November and April, so if you want a successful tour this is ideal time to go. However, you need to book in advance for your tour as peak season tours tend to fill up quickly.

2. Mandatory rules when swimming with manatees

Manatees are protected animals and there are laws to guarantee their safety. Therefore, your interactions with them must be limited. The laws are enforced strictly and must be adhered to by everyone who interacts with them. You should go over the rules and master the dos and don’ts when you swim with manatees. Remember you are a guest in the home of endangered animals and it is a privilege to share their habitat. So treat them with utmost respect. As a rule, stick to passive observation. But if a manatee engages you, then you are allowed to respond with a one open-handed touch.

3. Number of daily manatee sightings varies

Manatees are not restricted to a specific area and are free to roam the waters as they wish. So no two days are the same and the numbers of manatees you will see are different. The weather, time of the year and tidal influences also affect the conditions daily making it difficult to predict the number of manatees you can see on any day. It is important to note that the unique ecosystem of Florida makes it a prime habitat for manatees and ensures that there is a resident population of manatees throughout the year. The permanent population makes Crystal River and other locations in Florida ideal for swimming with manatees even during warmer summer months.

4. Work with in-water manatee tour guides

Most manatee tour companies provide knowledgeable and skilled in-water guides to help tourists observe the laws and requisite guidelines when swimming with manatees. Make sure to work with a guide from the start of your manatee swim to the end. This will ensure you have a safe, pleasant and educational experience and give the animals maximum respect while in their habitat.

5. Options of boat ride or swim

It is not a must that you get into the water and swim. You are free to ride on a boat and observe manatees from a distance. Most likely the manatees will come close to your boat to allow you to just reach down and touch them. So if you do not want to endure the cold water in the winter, you can just carry your cameras and binoculars and use a boat to navigate the surroundings of your refuge.
Swimming with manatees can give you an unforgettable vacation. You just need to plan well, book in advance and work with a reputable tour provider. For more information, visit the site Swimming with the Manatees.


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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