A watchdog groups say Florida is on pace for another record year for manatee deaths.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and Palm Beach County officials are reminding boaters to slow down -- it’s manatee season.

‘Operation Mermaid’ is a multi-agency effort to protect manatees from being injured by boats.

Local police departments patrolling Palm Beach County’s inlets and the Intracoastal Waterway are stepping up enforcement of speed violations.

“We don’t want anybody speeding where they shouldn’t be,” said West Palm Beach Police Officer Mickey Allen. “They could not only hit manatee, but hurt themselves as well.”

The year that just ended was a deadly one for manatees in Florida.

Preliminary data shows that 538 manatees were found dead in Florida waterways last year, according to state officials.

Photo: South Florida Museum

The South Florida Museum announced the death of 69-year-old manatee Snooty, dubbed "the world’s oldest-known manatee," was the result of an accident that caused the aged marine mammal to drown. The manatee had entertained visitors in Bradenton since 1949.

Snooty, the longest living manatee in captivity, died Sunday in Bradenton, a day after a huge party to celebrate his 69th birthday, according to the South Florida Museum.