About Manatees

Manatees are slow, near-surface swimmers, and the number of collisions with power boats is increasing.  According to the Florida Marine Research Institute (FMRI), 40% of manatee deaths are caused by propellers.

The Florida manatee is docile, and has a large grayish-brown body. It is a mammal with two flippers, and a wrinkled head and face; its snout sports coarse whiskers. Manatees graze for food in warm fresh or salt water and can hold their breath for up to 20 minutes. Adults may reach lengths of over 13 feet and a weight of over 3,000 pounds.

A large number of manatees have large, ugly scars on their backs, fins and heads from encountering boat propellers. Unfortunately, they do not learn from these terrible accidents and often get hurt, maimed or killed on repeat strikes. Development of the Florida shoreline, increasing numbers of boats on the state waters, as well as red tides, all contribute to the extinction of the manatee.

Presently, there is  no mass marketed safety product to protect the manatee from the blunt force trauma of the  boat’s propulsion unit and its spinning/chopping propeller. Even in slow speed zones, a propeller will kill or maim the manatee.   Now,  LyfGard has a solution to these deaths and injuries.  LyfGard’s Propeller Deflector is a protective device that comes between the manatee as it is floating in the water, and a propeller spinning above. LyfGard’s Propeller Deflector will push the manatee out of the way of contact with the propeller.

manatee.pngDon Johnson was inspired with the idea of the Propeller Deflectorwhen he viewed a PBS special in 1995 about the manatee, and saw the "zipper" on its back. He was shocked, and asked, "Why doesn’t someone do something about that?" Immediately he was given the design … and created a cardboard model soon after. A few weeks later, a nuclear engineer saw his model and said the invention was "ingenious."

After testing the prototype made of wood in the waters of Georgia's Lake Lanier in 2008, some design modifications were made, and now the prototype will be built out of steel. Soon this product will become widely available! Both people and the defenseless manatees will be protected from the effects of a vicious propeller.

Recently, LyfGard sponsored a friend organization, Marathon Acquatica, in a marathon run fundraising effort to help the cause of rescued manatees. LyfGard donated in the form of cases of lettuce; yes, the green stuff for those gentle, defenseless victims!  We welcome and heartily support Marathon Acquatica’s effort!