Watch Out For Spouts



When you're out boating, sailing, or even kayaking, you may be closer than you think to the largest animals on Earth. So, here's what you need to know to respect their space and keep them safe in their home.

First: See a spout, watch out.
If you see a spout of water, a tail, or a breaching whale, slow down and post a lookout. More than one could be in the area.

Second: Head on is wrong.
Don't head towards an approaching whale, don't alter its path of travel, and maintain a safe distance. This may be 100 feet or up to 1,500 feet depending on the species and region. Some guidelines are voluntary and some are enforced by law, make sure you know what they are before you leave the dock.

Third: Lots of boats, then talk to folks! 
If there are other boats watching whales near you, use your radio to coordinate your turn viewing.

Fourth: Avoid trouble, steer clear of bubbles.
Humpback whales sometimes feed by creating bubble clouds around their prey. So if you see light green, foamy patches on the surface, avoid them -- a hungry whale is about to surface.

And last: Don't chase, give the whales space.
Approaching a whale may cause it to move away from its food source, disturb a mother with her calf, or change other important behaviors. If a whale moves away, don't chase it.

The See a Spout, Watch Out program has additional information on responsible boating and whale watching. Let's keep them safe. Seeing whales in the open ocean is an amazing experience and one that you will never forget.