Monday, May 25, 2015

Beware of the whales...

Whales in our waters? Imagine that.

It seems that more and more these denizens of the deep are showing up locally. But while lovers of the natural world can take heart that the environment seems to be improving, caution is in order for boaters.

The recent sighting of three beluga whales in nearby Long Island Sound is s welcome sign that waters are cleaning up. But while boaters might be tempted to approach for a close-up view, they should keep their distance.

Besides the whales, our waters harbor  a variety of sea life, including turtles, dolphins and seals. These creatures are susceptible to injuries from collision with boats and need their space for safety.

Propellers can cause serious wounds, but even personal watercraft, with no prop and jet drives, can cause blunt force injuries. It works two ways, and collision with a large sea creature can damage the boat.

If you find yourself close to one of these large marine animals, put your engine in neutral until the animal swims away. Take a picture if you can, but from a distance. Don’t follow the animal, or try to feed it. The sea creatures are protected by federal law and interfering with one, even if unintentional, can bring a fine.

Do report your sighting to the Coast Guard or other authorities.

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