Manatees – or sea cows – have a rich history in mythology, often “tricking” sailors into confusing them with mermaids (Manatee 101 video). It’s only natural then, that people want to swim with the manatees, just as they do the dolphins. Alas, Florida law prohibits this – but not everyone is aware of that!
Consider this Please Do Not Ride the Manatees blog story (FYI: It includes some colorful language) from loweringthebar. It describes a woman in Florida who was swimming in the warm water with the manatees and now finds herself in hot water with the law!
Reliable blogs can be a good source for news stories, but they must be evaluated like any other secondary source. Some of the better news blogs will even provide specific citations to primary law or link out to primary sources on the open web. The loweringthebar blog does just that, linking out to the Florida Manatee Sanctuary Act on Online Sunshine.
What next though? What if you are interested in more information about manatee protection in Florida? Where should you look?
Well, armed with a statute citation, a great place to look is a set of Florida statutes with annotations.
We have two of those in the library – LexisNexis Florida Annotated Statutes and West’s Florida Statutes Annotated - located on the third floor in the Regional Collection. After the text of the statute itself, the annotations will provide you with references to cases related to that legislation, as well as cross references to other resources.
Now you are well on your way to understanding Manatee Law in Florida!