by: Darren Pai
KHNL) - Ten thousand humpback whales could be swimming through Hawaiian waters over the next six months.
"It's a great opportunity to go out there and watch these wild animals in their habitat," said Edward Lyman of the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sancturary.
"But you have to do it responsibly," Lyman said. "You cannot encroach on these animals too closely. You have to give them their space."
During the last whale season, six collisons between whales and boats were officially confirmed. Those confrontations are dangerous for both the whales and the boaters.
"You do not want to run into a 45 foot animal, 40 ton animal," Lyman said. "That's going to cause serious injury to the people in that boat as well, maybe even fatalities," Lyman said.
One thing boaters can do is simply slow down. Experts said that one safety precaution can make a world of difference out on the ocean.
"There's some research out there that says you can around 13 knots, that's a good speed," Lyman said "That'll have less affect to the animal if you did have a collision."
Experts also recommend maintaining a constant watch and always keeping a hand on the helm. Protecting whales as they complete their annual journey to Hawaii, experts said, is everyone's business.