Stop! Look! Manatees!

Diane Lewis 2009/Marine Photobank

Diane Lewis 2009/Marine Photobank

Tampa Bay is the location this weekend for the Powerboat P1 USA race event. The Bay is a rich mosaic of fish and wildlife habitats that supplies life-sustaining links in an ecosystem as biologically productive as some of the world's most celebrated rain forests.

Powerboat P1 USA championship manager, Azam Rangoonwala says: "Wherever P1 races, we recognise the need and embrace the value of protecting local environment and conserving natural resources. We work very closely with both the P1 Marine Foundation, an international marine conservation charity based in London, and local wildlife organisations who are very much involved in our event planning and strategic decisions."

At this weekend's P1 SuperStock powerboat racing and AquaX jet ski event at Tampa, a wildlife monitoring team with ten observers together with a helicopter or light aircraft will identify any sightings of marine wildlife or debris in the vicinity of the race course in Tampa Bay and, if necessary, to temporarily stop the racing. Manatees and dolphins are local residents!

From coastal mangroves and marshes to underwater meadows of seagrass, from the open bay to the salty mouth of the Gulf of Mexico, each interdependent habitat in Tampa Bay plays a vital role. Seagrasses and mangroves found at shallow depths act as a nursery environment, they support small fish, shrimp, and crabs and provide food and cover for a vast array of small fish and animals.

To encourage environmental stewardship amongst all those watching the race, Powerboat P1 and P1 Marine Foundation have partnered with local environmental organisations Stow It Don’t Throw It and Tampa Bay Estuary Program to develop an environmental guide for Tampa Bay called ‘On the water guide to protecting Tampa Bay’, the link can be found here.