Whale Collision Warnings - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Whale Collision Warnings

By Walter Makaula

HONOLULU (KHNL) -- A collision between a boat and baby whale last weekend has prompted action.

That accident, along with another one a few weeks ago off the kona coast has officials warning boaters to stay out of the animal's way.

Jeffrey Walters of the Department of Land and Natural Resources said, "Always post a dedicated look out in addition to the captain, watch your speed, never leave the helm."

He said, the warnings can't come at a better time, as we are right in the middle of whale season.

"We have as many as ten thousand humpback whales coming to Hawaii over the winter whale season so it's especially important for all boaters," said Walters. "We've had already two reports of vessel whale collisions this year."

He also warns boaters to "take some time to understand your environment, understand the waters that you're working in and learn how to spot whales."

David Scholfield, a Marine Mammal Response Coordinator is the first person called when a boater hits a whale. One of his primary concerns is for the the calves.

He said, "slow down out there cause there's a lot of kid whales out there right now. Lot of keiki whales."

Federal law requires all water vessels keep at least one hundred yards away from whales. With a reminder of the guidelines in place its hoped, the five to seven whales harmed every year in hawaiian waters will come to a stop.

February is humpback whale awareness month.

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