Whale watching? Use 'best practices'

Be careful around whales if you’re boating. Here are some tips from “The 2002 Harmonized International Be Whale Wise Guidelines for Watching Whales”:

1. BE CAUTIOUS and COURTEOUS: approach areas of known or suspected marine mammal activity with extreme caution. Look in all directions before planning your approach and departure.

2. SLOW DOWN: reduce speed to less than 7 knots when within 400 yards of the nearest whale. Avoid abrupt course changes.

3. AVOID approaching closer than 100 yards from any whale.

4. ALWAYS approach and depart whales from the side, moving in a direction parallel to the direction of the whales. Avoid approaching whales from the front or behind.

5. LIMIT your time engaged in viewing to a recommended maximum of 30 minutes, to minimize the cumulative impact of many vessels and in consideration of other viewers.

6. STAY on the OFFSHORE side of the whales when they are travelling close to shore. Remain at least 200 yards offshore at all times.

7. KEEP CLEAR of the whales’ path. Avoid positioning your vessel within the 400 metre/yard area in the path of the whales.

8. If your vessel is unexpectedly within 100 yards, STOP IMMEDIATELY and allow the whales to pass.

9. DO NOT attempt to swim with or feed whales.

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