A pod of about 20 manatees swimming along the Intracoastal Waterway near Indian Rocks Beach were startled by a boater Sunday, according to Michael McCarthy, owner of See Through Canoe, who witnessed the incident.
"They positioned the boat so that the manatee would go right past them," McCarthy said. "The manatee pod surfaced right by the boat and got startled. The commotion in the photos is the result."
McCarthy captured photos of the entire incident and shared them with Bay News 9.
The pictures show about a half-dozen manatees splashing the surface with their powerful tails and covering the boat in water. The people and the two dogs on board got soaked.
McCarthy also captured video of a large manatee heading straight for his canoe and diving right before hitting the vessel.
"The best way to have a close encounter with a manatee is to let them come to you," McCarthy said. "Manatee are very curious, but they prefer to approach, not to be approached. If you paddle right up on them, they will often leave, but if you stay about 50 feet away, they will often come up to you to check you out up close."
McCarthy said none of the manatees were injured during the boat incident.