WATCH: Manatees spotted in Charleston Harbor near Patriots Point

WATCH: Manatees spotted in Charleston Harbor near Patriots Point
Manatees swimming on Wednesday morning near Patriots Point. (Source: Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum)

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Visitors to Patriots Point Wednesday morning got quite the welcome surprise when they spotted some manatees swimming nearby.

While they aren’t uncommon in the Lowcountry, it can be rare to see the animal otherwise known as a “sea cow."

Sometimes during the winter, manatees can get stuck if they find warm water in the Cooper River instead of migrating south. As recently as 2017, a coordinated effort among groups that included SeaWorld, Fish and Wildlife Services, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and SCDNR helped relocate some that were stranded.

Manatees also face plenty of threats from humans. They move slowly and can’t turn their head side to side, meaning they are more likely to be hit by boat propellers.

It’s illegal under the Marine Mammal Protection Act to touch, feed or give water, or to encourage animals toward a boat.

Copyright 2019 WCSC. All rights reserved.