February 15, 2022 at 5:30 am tdemartini
Years of research by Pacific Whale Foundation, NOAA, and the State prompted a new set of voluntary recommendations for boaters operating around humpback whales. For the past year, representatives from Pacific Whale Foundation, NOAA, the DLNR Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation (DOBOR), the DLNR Division of Aquatic Resources (DAR), tour operators like PacWhale Eco-Adventures, private boaters, fishers, and other community members have worked on a set of recommendations to keep both whales and watchers safe.
Research found that as boats approach whales at higher speeds, the animals would change direction, indicating they are not comfortable with the presence of vessels. Their speed changes, and their dive and respiration rates change.
Recommendations resulting from the collaboration include:
- When approaching and departing whales, reduce vessel speed to six knots when within 400 yards
- Posting a lookout
- Paying close attention to time of day and time of year
Humpback whales in U.S. waters are federally protected. It is illegal to approach humpback whales within 100 yards, including by boat, kayak, drone, when swimming, or by any other vessel or means.