Boat Caught On Tape Chasing Whales - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Boat Caught On Tape Chasing Whales

By Beth Hillyer

NANAKULI (KHNL)--How close is too close? We are in the peak of whale season and a K5 photographer captured what appears to be a fishing boat violating federal guidelines meant to protect humpback whales.

A pod of whales swim just off the leeward coast. And a boat captain appears to be pursuing them.

"The recommended distance is 100 yards to stay away from whales. You want to avoid following the animals if you follow them you have the chance to alter their behavior which is against the law," said NOAA's David Schofield.

Officials with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration investigate boating violations and whale mishaps. Already this year boats have collided with whales three times.

"These laws are in place because of the fact boats can cause injury to whales and also these are 40-ton animals and a 40-ton animal hitting your small boat can do real damage and cause a safety problem for you as well as your passengers on board," said Schofield.

In this video, once the boat captain caught up to the pod, he seems to sit idle as the whales surround the boat.

In this home video, whales swim under a whale watching boat that has the propeller running.

"The animals are popping up and you can't always predict where they are coming up. You have a lot of cases mother whales with baby whales the babies are maybe a few weeks to a few months, very uncoordinated and like kids they sometimes aren't where they should be and they can get into harms way."

In recent years, people on board whale watching boats have been seriously injured and one child died.

So the 100-yard rule is meant to protect the marine mammals and humans alike.

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