8 July 2013
Recent encounters with whales are a reminder for swimmers and boaties to keep their distance.
In early July (7 July 2013) a surfer was knocked unconscious and suffered shoulder and head injuries when he was hit by the tail of a whale that was ‘the size of a bus’.
Closer to home an incident involving a kite surfer is being investigated. The kite surfer may have deliberately ventured too close to a whale at Basham Beach, near Port Elliot.
Whales usually make the trip to South Australian waters during the breeding season, which runs from May to October every year.
The dangers of getting too close to these massive creatures are considerable. Approaching the mammals is also against the law.
Following are some of the ‘whale approach guidelines’ from the Marine Mammal Regulations 2010:
• personal watercraft (such as jet skis) must keep a distance of 300m from any marine mammal
• boats must keep a distance of 100m from a whale
• boats must keep a distance of 50 metres from a marine mammal
• if a whale is showing signs of distress or has a calf, vessels must not get closer than 300 metres.
A pictogram showing required distances is available online. For more information about whale watching visit: www.sawhalecentre.com