Touch a manatee & go to jail for 6 months?!
A photo captured from the video shortly before the pod explodes out from bellow two paddlers dumping them into the water in a bunch of spray.
The FWC is very serious about manatee protection. Currently, protection seems to preclude any physical interaction with the animals. There are a lot of manatee regulations in place along with some serious penalties for violation (like a $500 fine and up to 6 months in jail). The video below is from the sandbar in Jupiter, a very popular paddling area.
Video and TC Palm article at: http://bit.ly/1dEGi8p
The paddlers were right over the pod in very shallow water when the pod panicked, knocking the paddlers into the water and possibly getting them arrested, if they are identified. Getting this close to a pod and inducing the panic reaction might be considered harassment and subject to enforcement. Also, someone might have been seriously hurt, getting struck in the head or anywhere else by a powered up manatee tail could do some damage. People have been sought out and arrested from FB imagery like this, so heads up.
A summary of some of the manatee regulations, some of which are fairly commonly violated (feeding, watering, coming too close):
MANATEE PROTECTION LAWS
It is illegal to do any of the following things to manatees:
Use water to attract
Separate a cow from her calf
Block the path if one or more move toward you
Disturb resting or mating herds or individuals
Chase or pursue from warm-water sites
Use a vessel to pursue or harass
Fish for or attempt to hook or catch
Hit, harm or injure
Hold, ride, jump on or stand on
Hunt or kill
More from the FWC http://myfwc.com/edu.../wildlife/man...ng-guidelines/
A related story about a 21 year old father out on a $2500. bond, possibly facing 6 months in jail for harassment at: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-...jail-24670630/