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Manatee F.A.Q.s, Manatee Manners Video & About Captain Hank

At Manatee Connection, we strongly advocate in providing Manatee Education along with our Manatee Tours and Manatee Swims...

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has put together an excellent "Manatee Manners" video presentation that all Manatee Swim Participants are required to view before their Manatee Tour, Manatee Swim or any other Manatee Interaction. Manatee Connection strongly advocates the Manatee Interaction Behaviors presented in this video and any Manatee Tour Participant who violates this Manatee code of conduct will be removed from the water immediately. The safety and protection of our Manatee Swim participants and the Manatees and their offspring  themselves are our highest priority. We look forward to meeting you and providing you with the ultimate once-in-a-lifetime Manatee Swim experience! If you would like to learn more about the Crystal River Manatees and our Manatee Tour Experience please check out our Manatee Tour FAQ's below by clicking here.

Manatee Manners
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About Captain Hank


captain hank manatee toursMy love of boats goes back approximately 40 years, to the age of 10, when my mother bought me my first boat (a small 10 ft. Jon Boat with a 5HP outboard). The boat allowed me to begin exploring the outdoors. At 17, I decided to join the U.S. Navy where I served as a Search and Rescue Swimmer with an H3 Helicopter Squadron out of Jacksonville, FL for 4 years. Upon leaving the Navy, I worked in other trades and careers, but my love of the water always drew me back to Citrus County and its unspoiled waterways.

In 1999, I received my Coast Guard 100-ton Master License and in 2002, started my Manatee Tour and Charter business, Manatee Connections. As a true nature and water lover, I am drawn to these gentle giants and enjoy observing them in their natural habitat and sharing these experiences with families from all over the world. I would love the opportunity to share my Manatee Tour with your family as well and I look forward to meeting you and providing you a once-in-a-lifetime experience you will never forget! - Captain Hank Sonnenreich.

manatee tour iconManatee Tour F.A.Q.s
We strongly advocate in providing Manatee Education along with our Manatee Tours and Manatee Swims...

Here you will find the most commonly-asked questions of our Manatee Tour and Swim participants. If you have any questions, comments or would like to learn more about Manatee Connection or our Crystal River Manatee Tours, please feel free to contact us here. All Crystal River Manatee Tours are conducted in a lawful manner as we will be observing Manatees in their natural habitats and we must do this in a respectful manner to keep our swimmers and our local Manatees and their offspring safe at all times. Thank you, we look forward to meeting you...


crystal river manateeQ: How cold is the water?
A: The waters that flow from Crystal River and Homosassa River springs maintain a constant 72 degrees Fahrenheit / 22.2 degrees Celsius.

crystal river manateeQ: How deep is the water?
A: The water depth can vary anywhere from 3 to 10 feet. Kings Spring is 55 feet deep, but most manatee encounters occur in shallow waters that are 6 to 10 feet deep.

crystal river manateeQ: Do we have to wear a wet suit?
A: Yes, we do require that you wear a wet suit not only for warmth but also flotation and safety.

crystal river manateeQ: How many participants at one time can go on a manatee tour?
A: For the safety of our swimmers as well as the local manatee population, we specialize in small groups only (12 max.) but normally will have 6 to 8 swimmers. We cater to people of all ages.

crystal river manateeQ: How many manatees can we expect to see during our Manatee Tour?
A: Since our manatee encounters occur in the wild, it is impossible to predict the number of Manatees we may encounter. We could locate 1 or 300 manatees, depending on the time of year, the current water temperature and/or location. Manatee Connection will try our best to provide you with an exciting and enjoyable Manatee Tour experience. The Crystal River and Homosassa River are home to the world's largest population of wild manatees. These rivers are also the only place (at this time) where you can legally swim with these gentle creatures.

crystal river manateeQ: Can we scuba dive?
A: No, diving is not permitted with manatees in the wild as it may alter their behavior which is illegal. Even when snorkeling we never break the surface.

crystal river manateeQ: Are their any age restrictions on your Manatee Tour or when swimming with manatees?
A: No, you are never too old or too young to experience this wonderful manatee tour encounter. However, we do have some additional guidelines for small children and infants. Most tours are not suitable for infants unless you book one of our private manatee tours. Please contact us for details.

crystal river manateeQ: What if I don't want to swim with the manatees?
A: If you don't what to swim you can participate in our Manatee Tour as an observer. You will still enjoy the experience as there is much to see along the way. From beautiful scenery and abundant wildlife to actual manatee sightings from the boat as they are usually near the surface and close by. 

crystal river manateeQ: What is the preferred location to view manatees during a manatee tour, the Homosassa River or the Crystal River?
A: Both rivers are equally good manatee tour locations, however our experience has shown that the Homosassa River is only productive in winter and the Crystal River is active year round.

crystal river manateeQ: What time of day do your manatee swims take place?
A: Early morning hours are the best time for viewing manatees, this is when they are their most active and playful. We have different departure times depending on location and time of year.

crystal river manateeQ: How long will my manatee tour last?
A: You begin your experience at the selected location where your captain will meet you. Our standard manatee tour lasts approximately 3 hours. Our private manatee tours last longer depending on which one you select.

crystal river manateeQ: Do you provide lodging?
A: There are many visitor-friendly hotels/motels in our area. We can provide you with a list of local hotels/motels in the area. (Contact Us)

crystal river manateeQ: What other types of entertainment, activities and amenities does the Citrus County Area provide for vacationers?
A: Manatee Connection also offers kayak rentals at two locations, fishing trips, boat rentals, scalloping trips, airboat tours and drift trips down the Rainbow River. We are located within 10 minutes from the Homosassa Wildlife Park which is home to many rehabilitated manatees that have been injured in the wild. All types of native Florida animals can be found within the park. It is a wonderfully educational and entertaining exhibit of all that is natural and wild in the Citrus County area. The cost is very inexpensive and we have discount coupons for you if you are interested. Just ask and ye shall receive!

crystal river manateeQ: How close are you to the major Florida airports?
A: We are 90 minutes from Orlando airport and 75 minutes from Tampa International airport. There is also a private airport located approximately 10 minutes from any of our locations.


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