Boaters urged to be aware of sea turtles, manatees

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By AP

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Updated: Sun, 11 May 2014 07:15:37 EST

BRUNSWICK, Ga. (AP) — Georgia wildlife authorities are urging boaters to use caution as sea turtle and manatee sightings are on the rise.

The Georgia Department of Natural Resources said in a statement that boat strikes are a leading cause of sea turtle strandings and manatee injuries and deaths.

Officials say a "footprint" of swirls may signal a 1-ton manatee underwater.

Also, they say that boaters should be aware that a 300-pound loggerhead sea turtle may show only its head when it surfaces. State Sea Turtle Program Coordinator Mark Dodd said that sea turtles aren't just in the ocean -- they're also in the tidal creeks and sounds.

State officials urge boaters to be aware of the possible presence of the animals and to be prepared to slow down or steer clear of them.

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