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Protect Your Boat and Crew this Right Whale Calving SeasonĀ 

Endangered and hard to spot, be aware of the right whale this calving season

Protect Your Boat and Crew this Right Whale Calving Season

With fewer than 350 left, right whales are one of the world's most endangered large whale species. Pictured is ‘Nauset’ and calf sighted approx. 13-nautical miles off Sapelo Island, GA on December 28, 2020. Nauset is 27-years-old and this is her 4th calf.

If you plan to boat or fish in the Atlantic Ocean this winter, be on the lookout for North Atlantic Right Whales who are calving in state and federal waters off Florida, Georgia and South Carolina from November through April. These endangered mammals are extremely hard to spot and collisions have caused costly damage to boats, put passengers and crew at risk, and injured and killed right whales. With fewer than 350 left, right whales are one of the world's most endangered large whale species.

boat strike dead right whale calf
Approximately 22-foot-long dead right whale calf. The one-month old, male calf beached on Anastasia State Park in St. Augustine, FL after sustaining injuries consistent with a vessel strike, including fresh propeller cuts on its back and head, broken ribs, and bruising.

Protect your boat and crew by doing the following:

  • Go slow, which could give you time to react.
  • Post a lookout! Watch for black objects, whitewater and splashes.
  • Avoid boating in the dark, when visibility is poor, or in rough seas.
  • Use the Whale Alert app to know if whales have recently been sighted or reported in your area.
  • Check for signage at your local boat ramp or marina as a reminder of what to look for and how to identify and report right whale sightings.
  • If a whale is spotted, slow down, operate at slow speed or put your engine in neutral if possible. Assess the scene and slowly leave the area while keeping watch. Never pursue or follow a whale and keep at least 500 yards from right whales (it's the law).
  • Report whale sightings and collisions immediately to the U.S. Coast Guard on marine VHF Ch. 16 or call 1-877-WHALE-HELP (942-5343).

Learn more about what you can do to prevent right whale collisions at MyFWC.com/Research by clicking “Wildlife.”

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