Two Florida girls got a surprise this summer when they went out paddleboarding - and made a new friend.

Celine Chasteen couldn't believe it when a manatee swam right up to her and put his flippers on her board.

At first Chasteen had thought the manatee was a rock in the distance as she paddled through the waters of Jupiter.

"But then they started moving," she told The Dodo.


"The next thing I know, there's a manatee putting his flippers on my board."

The manatee was happy to chill out with Chasteen and her friend, floating with the pair for a moment before he swam away.

"It was so cool," Chasteen said. "I've never experienced anything like that before.

"I thought he was really cute. He was really nice. I hope he drops by again."

Chasteen's friend captured the adorable moment on video, but the girls were smart to avoid hugging the big guy.

The Florida Manatee Sanctuary Act prohibits molesting, harassing or disturbing manatees, a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail and a $500 fine.

Manatees are currently on the endangered species list and are protected by federal law.