People who have seen manatees up close and in person generally say that they are very chill animals. They are docile around humans and some even appear to be curious about us.
It’s illegal to ride them, though (apparently).
A woman in Florida recently turned herself in to police after she was caught on film surfing a wild manatee, according to NBC News. You can’t make this stuff up.
Ana Gloria Garcia Gutierrez, age 52, said that she didn’t know she wasn’t allowed to surf on manatees. She was enjoying the water at Fort De Soto Park in Pinellas this past weekend and encountered a manatee. She climbed on its back and rode it for a bit. I mean, wouldn’t you? How many chances do you get in life to surf a manatee? You gotta seize that.
Snitches onlookers spotted Gutierrez on the manatee and took photos, which they gave to local police.
Florida has a law called the Manatee Sanctuary Act, which makes it clear that “[i]t is unlawful for any person at any time, by any means, or in any manner intentionally or negligently to annoy, molest, harass, or disturb or attempt to molest, harass, or disturb any manatee.”
Gutierrez’s crime is a misdemeanor. She faces a fine of up to $500 and could even get put in jail for 60 days.
No manatees were believed to have been injured.