A Simple and Effective Method for Analyzing

Propeller Marks on Manatee in Brevard County, Florida, USA



James L. Wood


Lumatrex, Inc.

P. O. Box 510129

Melbourne Beach, FL  32951






There appears to be a general assumption that vessel speed is a major factor in accidents that involve vessels striking marine mammals, but the lack of suitable methods for determining the types of vessels that are most often involved in these accidents has prevented researchers from properly testing this hypothesis.  The methods presented here allow researchers to use gross measurements of propeller marks on marine mammals to help determine the types of vessels that created the marks.  Once the types of vessels generally responsible for these accidents are determined, researchers can examine the physical characteristics of these vessels and the operational procedures that would most likely be employed in the locations where these accidents occur and determine if a specific cause effect relationship can be identified.  The Florida manatee (Trichechus manatus latirostris) and the vessels operating in the Indian River Lagoon in Brevard County, Florida, USA are used as models for developing these methods, but the resulting methods can be applied to marine mammals in general and to most geographic locations.



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