MIAMI (AP) — Florida wildlife officials are reminding boaters to slow down and watch out for manatees as they begin their annual trek toward warmer water.

A Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission news release says the state has more than 6,000 manatees in rivers, bays and coastal waters.

November is Manatee Awareness Month. Carol Knox, who leads the agency's imperiled species management division, said boaters who look out for manatees and follow protection zones are contributing to the conservation of the threatened species.

The seasonal manatee protection zones go into effect in the fall, depending on the county. The zones are marked by waterway signs.

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