top of page
What to do...

When you find a stranded marine animal!

I Found a Stranded Marine Animal.png

I Found a Stranded Whale, Dolphin or Sea Turtle

Spinner Dolphins

Follow S.T.R.A.N.D. Guidelines


Please Be Ready to Report the Following:

  1. Exact location (GPS coordinates preferred, please provide distinct landmarks if coordinates are not available) and directions to the strand site

    • If known, what is the location of the closest access point to the animal?​ How close can we drive our stranding vehicle?

  2. Condition of the animal (alive, dead, injured, entangled, etc.)

  3. Number of animals involved

  4. Identification or description of the animal (estimated size, color, etc.)

  5. Names and telephone number of the people involved (including yours)

  6. Date and time of your observations

    • Please also report the weather and surf conditions​

  7. Photo confirmation of the stranded animal (first responders will direct you where to send them)
    * Sea Turtle Specific: Is the sea turtle marked with spray paint? (This could indicate that the turtle has been previously documented.)

I Found a Stranded Manatee


Manatees in the
Gulf of Mexico

The northern Gulf of Mexico is part of the natural range for manatees during the summer months (April to October). Alabama, Mississippi, and northwest Florida provide important warm-season habitat for manatees. However, water temperatures in the northern Gulf become too cold for manatees during the winter. If you see a manatee in northwest Florida during the colder months, immediately report the sighting to FWC (888-404-3922) and to the Manatee Sighting Network (1-866-493-5803). Manatees can be susceptible to potentially fatal cold stress.

Manatees need plenty of space. Do not do anything to alter their natural behavior, entice, scare, or "harass" them. Stay at least 100 feet from manatees. If you spot one, don't chase them, feed them, or touch them.

STRAND (1).png

Report Manatee

If you've observed a manatee with a satellite tag, please call the Manatee Sighting Network (1-866-493-5803). If you've found a stranded or injured manatee, please call FWC (888-404-3922).

The Manatee Sighting Network is operated by Dauphin Island Sea Labs (DISL)

STRAND (4).png

Be Ready With the Following Information

  1. Is the manatee alive or dead?

  2. When did you see the manatee?

  3. What is the exact location of the manatee?

  4. How long have you observed the manatee?

  5. What is the approximate size of the manatee?

  6. What is the location of the public boat ramp closest to the manatee?

  7. Does the manatee have a "tag" attached near its tail?

  8. Can you provide a contact number where you can be reached for further information?

I Found a Stranded Shark or Manta Ray

STRAND (3).png

Report Shark

Stranded, entangled, or deceased shark calls can be reported to the FWC Wildlife Hotline (888-404-3922). This is especially important if the species is a threatened species (i.e. scalloped hammerheads shark).

If you suspect there has been a violation of the Endangered Species Act, Marine Mammal Protection Act, or the Magnuson-Stevens Act (fishing, capturing, injuring, or killing protected species of sharks), please call the NOAA Law Enforcement Hotline (800-853-1964). 

STRAND (2).png

Report Sturgeon or
Manta Ray Sightings

For Sturgeon sightings, strandings, or injuries, report to the NOAA Sturgeon Program by calling 844-STURG-911 (844-788-7491) or emailing

For Manta Ray sightings, strandings, or injuries report to the NOAA Manta Ray Program by calling 727-824-5312 or emailing

bottom of page