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Keep clear of calving whales

10 Jul 2014

Following the arrival of a whale and calf near Port Lincoln, boat owners are reminded to keep clear of these large mammals.
 
Over the first weekend of July, a whale and her calf sought refuge in the calm waters of Proper Bay, to the south of Port Lincoln.
 
The local senior marine safety officer, Hank Swalue, received a number of calls from concerned onlookers.
 
“It seems some people might have got a little carried away by the presence of the whales in Proper Bay,” he said.
 
“You not only risk your safety if you get close to these massive mammals, but also a court appearance and fine.”
 
“It’s great to have these creatures so close to shore, but we must give them some space if we want them to return.”
 
Following the phone calls, Hank patrolled the area and although not seeing anyone breaching the 300 metre zone, reminded those in the vicinity of the distance requirement.
 
Owners of boats reported by onlookers were also called.
 
Whale watching guidelines (South Australian Whale Centre)
 
• Personal watercraft (such as jet skis) must keep a distance of 300 metres from any marine mammal (whales, dolphins, seals etc) in all coastal waters and are prohibited from launching and must not operate a PWC within the Victor Harbor Restriction Zone during whale season.
 
• Vessels within the Encounter Bay Restricted Area must not get within 300 metres of a whale.
 
• Boats outside the Encounter Bay Restriction Area must keep a distance of 100 metres from a whale and 50 metres from other marine mammals (dolphins, seals etc).
 
• If a whale is showing signs of distress or has a calf, vessels must not get closer than 300 metres.
 
• If a person unexpectedly finds themselves too close to a whale they should either cut their motor or move away from the whale at a slow 'no wake' speed.

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