North Carolina boaters are typically urged to proceed with caution on the state’s waters, but boaters have recently received a new warning: watch out for whales.
A large number of whales were spotted close to the Farallon Islands early last week, and boating enthusiasts were being warned to operate with caution. In just a single hour, approximately 115 blue, fin, and humpback whales were spotted near the island.
According to Maria Brown, superintendent of the Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary, “We are alerting small boaters and large vessel operators to be on the alert for endangered whales, and to maintain a minimum distance.”
It is important to understand that the risk associated with running afoul of one of these large sea creatures is minimal; however, it is still possible. Boaters are being told to follow federal distance guidelines and maintain a respectable 300 feet of distance from the whales. Previously, a family had an unexpected encounter with a dolphin that resulted in injuries to the family.
Roger Thomas, 80, dean of Bay Area salmon fleet says that there are more whales near the shore than he has ever seen before. “It’s unbelievable,” he said. “Whales are all over the place.”
It is thought that the whales have come to the area in such high numbers because of the large amount of krill to be found. Krill are the staple diet of blue whales. The number of anchovies, a favorite for humpbacks, is also thought to be a contributing factor.
Whales are the dominant species in the area, but their numbers are higher today than they have been in the past. Thomas reports seeing 25 humpbacks on a single whale watching tour, and in San Francisco, people have seen 8 to 10 humpbacks just a mile offshore. The heightened whale population is encouraging, if not dangerous to boaters.
If you plan on heading out on the ocean this season, be aware of the presence of these large mammals. Not only can running into a whale severely damage your boat, but the resulting accident could cause serious injury to you and your passengers.
If you have been injured in a boating accident, please contact our offices immediately. We are here for you. Our experienced personal injury attorneys will fight for any compensation that you may be entitled to by law. Call us now to speak to a member of our team at no cost to you.