Document Type

Thesis

Degree

Master of Science

Department

Environmental Studies

Advisor's Name

Joel Heinen

Advisor's Title

Committee Chair

Advisor's Name

Alice Clarke

Advisor's Title

Committee Member

Advisor's Name

Hugh Gladwin

Advisor's Title

Committee Member

Keywords

Survey, Boaters, Manatee, Florida

Date of Defense

11-13-2003

Abstract

Scientists are extremely concerned that the Florida manatee, Trichechus manatus latirostris, does not have a sufficient population number nor reproductive rate to ensure long-term species viability. This research was done to investigate aspects of boater behavior in an effort to determine measures that might decrease boat-manatee collisions and help researchers plan intervention strategies in related areas. Initially, boat data was collected over a period of several months at a Miami waterway. Next, a detailed phone survey of boat owners was conducted. Although most boaters were found noncompliant with the speed zone, several questions from the survey showed that most valued manatees and almost half wanted them to remain listed as endangered. This is very encouraging as boater support for the manatee is possibly one of the most important indicators of manatee chances for survival. Suggestions included requiring mandatory boating classes and informing boaters of faster routes to their destinations.

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