ORLANDO, Fla. — Because of a rise in manatee boat strikes this year, Florida wildlife officers are increasing boating patrols in certain areas.

The increased patrols are taking place in Brevard, Volusia, and Lee counties, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said.

Save the Manatee Club officials say manatees are being killed by boats in record numbers in Volusia, in part because the manatee population is growing. Less than a month ago, one of Blue Spring State Park's most popular manatees, Dix, was found dead near DeLand, just north of the Orange City park. Officials said it's likely a speeding boat killed it.

Wildlife officials are urging boaters to slow down and mind the posted speed zone signs. They also suggest wearing polarized sunglasses while on the water, which allows you to see what's under the surface more easily, as well as avoiding boating over seagrass beds and shallow water.

If you do spot an injured manatee, report it at the FWC's Wildlife Alert hotline at 888-404-FWCC (3922).