Frequently Asked Questions
Links to Our Conservation Partners/More Information
Q: Is swimming with manatees legal?
A: Yes, Swimming with the manatees is legal, but ONLY in Citrus County, Florida. We must adhere to follow stringent guidelines that govern our in-water swimming with these beautiful mammals. Swimming with manatees in their habitat is a privilege, and we must respect the manatees and their home.
Q. Does allowing swim tours hurt the manatees?
A. When a guided manatee swim tour is done in an ethical manner, it has been shown to have little or no effect on the behavior of the manatees. By following strict guidelines that promote passive observation, we are sure to never intrude upon or interrupt the natural behaviors of our resident gentle giants.
Our guided manatee tours offer the opportunity to introduce you a threatened species in a way that facilitates a connection and a love for this animal, thus encouraging further conservation efforts. Since we are also stewards of the species, we can use our daily interactions and time on the water monitoring these animals to report any sick or injured manatees that may need intervention and rescue. Our goal isn't to entertain as much as it is to educate and encourage responsible treatment for all creatures big and small as well as starting a conversation about protecting habitats.
Q. Do you conduct manatee tours year round?
A. Yes we do. However, some times of year are better than others. During the winter months (December and January) when the Gulf temps are cold, we see an influx of migratory manatees who come to our area springs to thermoregulate. Our resident population of manatees will swell during these cold months, so your likelihood of seeing manatees in their habitat is greatly increased during this time.
Q. Do you guarantee a manatee sighting? What about water clarity?
A. While there are no guarantees since these are wild animals that have the ability to swim where they like, even during the warmer months with patience and persistence we generally find a few manatees with patience and persistence. Regarding water clarity, we cannot control tides, the weather, manatee behavior that may impede water clarity (eating, mating, etc.). However, we will always do our best to ensure we can get in the water in the most optimum viewing conditions for the time of year that you are visiting.
US Fish and Wildlife Service: Guidelines for Swimming with Manatees in the Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge
US Fish and Wildlife Service: Guidelines for Paddling with Manatees in the Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge
US Fish and Wildlife Service: Guidelines for Boating near Manatees
Florida Wildlife Research Institute
Clearwater Marine Aquarium Research Institute:
Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium:
David A. Straz Jr. Manatee Critical Care Center at ZooTampa:
Save the Manatee Club: You can adopt your own manatee!
Save Crystal River:
Sea and Shoreline: