When it comes to water safety, we should never forget about the whales. Whale watching, that is! Since we are always concerned with drowning preventions, it’s time to talk about whale watching safety.
Witness the Wonders of Whales
Whale watching is a time-honored maritime tradition. It can be done safely from the shore, but some people like to get even closer to the action. Seeing these mighty beasts in action is one of the great marvels of nature.
There are so many different varieties of these majestic sea creatures. Often when they come up to the surface, onlookers are treated to a breathtaking moment. While this activity is typically considered safe, there are still some dangers to consider.
Whale Watching Safety 101
Accidents while whale watching are rare, but there are definitely some best practices to keep you and your fellow whale watchers out of harm’s way. If you are watching from land, you should be relatively safe. Make sure to watch your footing and don’t tumble into the water. Otherwise, you should be far from possible harm.
If you are heading out on a whale-watching vessel, then there are some specific practices to follow. First of all, standard ship safety rules will always apply. To read more about this, read our full blog about boating safety
Keep Your Distance
If you are in charge of the vessel, the best whale watching safety tip is to remain at a safe distance. Getting too close to the animal could spook it. A good rule is to stay at least 100 yards away. Be sure to check with local authorities before setting out, as some places require an even larger distance between boaters and whales. For example, some whales legally require a berth of 500 yards. To learn more, read some of the official guidelines from NOAA Fisheries for Marine Life Viewing
Remember, this is the whale’s natural home. Landlubbers like us are guests on the water. Give the whales plenty of space and don’t crowd them.
Keep the Whales Happy
While we’re respecting the whale’s personal space, try not to watch the whales for too long. Believe it or not, the whales are quite
aware of our presence. Most of the time, they are fine with the watchers. However, our company will put them in an alert state. This can disrupt their natural behaviors and rhythms.
To this end, always approach these creatures from the side. You see, whales can be seriously hurt if they are hit by a ship. By approaching from the side, you eliminate the risk of accidentally getting in the way of their swimming path.
Don’t Touch the Whales
Since we already covered keeping our distance, this next whale watching safety tip should be self-explanatory. Do not touch or try to swim with the whales. Remember, these are wild animals. They may not behave the way people expect.
Besides the risk of drowning danger to humans, it can also be quite harmful to the whales. Our hands can transmit germs and diseases. Besides that, the more comfortable a whale gets with humans and boats, the higher their risk of being struck becomes.
Above all, be sure to keep your whale-watching vessel slow, steady and distant. These gentle giants are easier to harm than many people realize. For the security of everyone, including our aquatic friends, treat whale watching safety seriously.