Look But Don’t Touch – Gulf Coast Beach Goers Cautioned
There are still about six weeks or so of the Lousiana "out of school" beach season left. Of course, those who don't have to worry about getting school-agers back to class know the summer scene on the beaches of the northern Gulf is perfect for swimming and sunning well into October. Of course, there are always things you need to be prepared for any time you're planning on hitting the beach.
As you can see from the graphic above provided by the National Weather Service Forecast Office in Mobile, Alabama, rip currents won't be a major concern. This is a good thing because bathers from Dauphin Island and points east have something else they need to be on the lookout for.
That something else has been described as "the coast's most charismatic seasonal visitors". Those visitors are West Indiana Manatees. Over the course of the warm weather months this year the Dauphin Island Sea Lab has received more than 150 reports of manatee sightings from Mississippi to Alabama to Florida.
The reason for the increase in manatee sightings along the northern Gulf Coast has to do with water temperature. The creatures move north from the beaches of central Florida when the water starts to heat up during the summer months. The creatures will retreat further south with cooler weather and cooler waters move back into the area during October.
Boaters especially are asked to be mindful in and around manatee areas. Boat strikes and propeller injuries are among the most common for animals. Should you encounter a manatee you're encouraged to cut your boat's motor and should you strike a manatee you'll need to contact authorities with the Dauphin Island Sea Lab. You may remain anonymous.
Of course, you should never approach a manatee in the water or on the beach. These are wild animals and they are protected as an endangered species. So, messing with the manatees, even if your intentions are good, is not allowed. Call the professionals and let them deal with the creatures.
To report a manatee sighting or encounter you can call toll-free 24 hours a day at 1-866-493-5803. Or you can visit this link to the Manatee Sighting Network.
Places to Go Tubing in Louisiana