Various species of whales, including the humpback, finback, right, and minke, may be encountered in our state’s coastal waters. The North Atlantic right whale is the most endangered marine mammal, with no more than 500 remaining in the world. Boaters maneuvering around whales improperly risk the safety of all passengers aboard, as well as potential injury to the whales.
To protect whales in their habitat, the following operation guidelines are recommended.
- Avoid excessive speed or course changes within 500 yards of whales.
- Do not approach within 500 yards of North Atlantic right whales.
- Approach with extreme caution within 100 yards of any species of whales other than North Atlantic right whales.
- Approach whales from the side—not head-on—and don’t box them in.
- Don’t cut off their path.
- Don’t separate mothers from offspring.
- If a whale approaches within 100 feet of your vessel, put your engine in neutral. Do not re-engage your engine until the whale is observed on the surface, outside of the 100-foot zone.
- If you sight one whale, expect to see more whales in the immediate vicinity.