Posted by: stiltsville | November 13, 2010

What if slow boats hit more manatees?

This group of three West Indian manatees (Tric...

Image via Wikipedia

Want to save the manatees? Well it makes sense to slow down the boats, right? Wrong…

FAU scientists have mapped the manatee range of hearing. Then they stuck hydrophones in manatee zones and recorded the ambient sound, the sound of fast-moving boats and the sound of boats at slow speed and compared the two.

Manatees can hear a boat that is moving along at a good clip. The sound of a slow boat is actually outside the range of manatee hearing; too low-pitched and too faint. This would seem to make manatee slow speed zones more dangerous to manatees. But, slow speeds give the boat operator more opportunity to see and avoid manatees. Manatee speed zones only work by giving humans more opportunity to be careful.

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