Manatee safety measures being taken during Miami International Boat Show

MIAMI – Local 10 News was granted an exclusive first-hand look at the manatee protections in place at the Miami International Boat Show.

It’s an important mission.

Manatee deaths continue to occur throughout the state, with 89 since the start of this year.

The energy was high at the Miami International Boat Show after a manatee was spotted near a sea trial dock.

Quick actions taken by those on hand wasn’t panic. It was protocol.

Dr. Amy Hirons is a professor from Nova Southeastern University.

She’s in charge of more than 100 manatee observers who are watching from both the water and the sky.

“We’ve seen an average of around nine animals a day,” Hirons said. “Sometimes we’ve seen calf pairs. We’ve seen a lot of adult size of sub adult sized animals”

The group of NSU students was hired by event organizers to patrol the section of Biscayne Bay along the Venetian Causeway.

It’s where more than 100 temporary dock slips have been staged over a known manatee habitat.

Each boat that goes on a test drive has an observer like Kaylee Czachorowski on board.

“On Wednesday, we added a total of 10 manatees, all of which were mainly on the Venetian concrete piers, not the floating docks,” Czachorowski said. “Today was actually the most exciting day for manatees because they decided to migrate towards the floating dock area where the sea trials are, which means we had to effectively shut down traffic for a little while around 40 minutes”

The observers are joined by members of both local and state law enforcement agencies.

“We have I believe 11 law enforcement boats on the water, a combination of City of Maimi Marine Patrol, Miami-Dade Marine Patrol, DERM, Dade County boats and a couple of FWC boats just came by,” said boat show manager Larry Berryman.

Berryman explained that the collaboration is a result of conversations with both scientists and activists, who are concerned over the safety of marine life in the area.

“I do believe their voices have been heard,” Berryman said. . I think you can see everything we’ve done to establish a safe and practical way to continue to do sea trials in South Florida”

Added Hirons: “We’re all in the marine industry in one way, shape, or form. We want to protect that marine environment for ourselves and future generations.”

The Miami International Boat Show has a permit to host sea trials in the area through 2029.

That is, unless a manatee is hit or killed.

Data from the manatee observers will be used to study the health of the bay and to create recommendations for next year’s event.