In an effort to help preserve West Indian manatees — imperiled aquatic mammals native to North America and Central and South America — Hurricane Aquasports launched a “Buy a Kayak, Adopt-A-Manatee” campaign this week.
Working with the Save the Manatee Club in Florida, Hurricane is encouraging paddlers to adopt manatees in an effort to protect them and their natural habitats where we ply our trade.
The first 100 kayakers to buy a Hurricane kayak, register the kayak online at hurricaneaquasports.com, and specify on their registration that they want to “Adopt-A-Manatee,” will have a manatee adopted for them by Hurricane Aquasports. Manatees are large, gray aquatic mammals with bodies that taper to a flat paddle-shaped tail. They are gentle and slow-moving animals that spend most of their time eating, resting, and traveling.
“We hope this campaign helps increase awareness of manatees and their plight,” said Tonya Higgins, Director of Development and Operations at Save the Manatee Club. According to Higgins, the alliance between manatee advocates and the kayaking community is a natural relationship, and one they hope to see strengthened through more collaborative efforts such as this.
Manatee adoptions help Save the Manatee Club fund manatee rescue, rehabilitation, research, and release efforts, support manatee education and public awareness projects, and protect manatees and their habitat through advocacy and legal action.
Hurricane Aquasports says this is part of its committed to environmental stewardship and education. According to Steve Jordan, President of Hurricane Aquasports, “I’ve personally kayaked with manatees in Florida and South Georgia, and it’s a thrill to see these gentle giants meandering through coastal waters.”
Collisions with boats are one of the biggest threats to manatees. “We hope this campaign helps draw awareness to proper ways to behave around manatees and the fact that kayaks are an excellent vehicle for viewing them in the wild,” said Jordan.
Watch this video discussing proper etiquette around manatees (available at hurricaneaquasports.com/buy-a-hurricane-adopt-a-manatee/). Cora Berchem, Manatee Research and Multimedia Specialist for Save the Manatee Club, is featured in the video.
Hurricane Aquasports is a leader in the manufacture of lightweight thermoform kayaks. Kayaks thermoformed from Trylon, Hurricane’s proprietary ABS plastic blend, are known to be stiffer and lighter than rotomolded polyethylene kayaks and cost significantly less than comparable composite models. Based in southeastern North Carolina, Hurricane was founded by a group of veteran paddlers in1998 to meet a growing need for lightweight, high performance kayaks.
Save the Manatee Club’s mission is to protect manatees and their aquatic habitat for future generations. To achieve this mission, SMC works to increase public awareness and education; sponsor manatee research, rescue, rehabilitation, and release efforts; and advocate for strong protection measures, such as boat speed zones and sanctuaries. Save the Manatee Club also supports research and conservation efforts for other sirenian species around the world.