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  • Writer's pictureThe Beagle

Marine Rescue NSW urges boaters to be careful during whale migration

Boaters on the Illawarra, Batemans and Eden Coasts are being advised to not to get too close to whales as they make their annual trip north to warmer waters.

Multiple pods of humpbacks have been spotted off the NSW South Coast from Eden to Stanwell Park in recent days.

Marine Rescue NSW Inspector Stuart Massey said boaters need to be aware of the marine mammals.

“The distance a vessel must stay off whales is 100 metres, if there is a calf present the distance increases to 300 metres.

“Always go slow when you are within 300 metres of whales,” he said.

Mr Massey is also reminding skippers not to approach whales from behind or to wait in front of their path.

“If approaching whales, start at an angle of at least 30 degrees to the direction of their travel while swimmers must not enter the water within 100 metres of whales.

“If a whale approaches your vessel slow down to minimal wash speed, move away or disengage your vessel’s gears.

“Make no sudden movements and minimise noise and remember there has been some serious damage inflicted on vessels and people when getting too close to whales,” he said.

Mr Massey is reminding boaters that no more than three vessels at a time should approach whales and skippers should wait their turn.

“There will be plenty of time to enjoy these magnificent creatures during the migration season.

“Boaters are also encouraged to Log On with Marine Rescue NSW every time they go out via VHF Channel 16 or the free Marine Rescue NSW app.

“When you Log On, you provide us with details of your trip and if you don’t return as planned we’ll start searching for you,” Mr Massey said.

Marine Rescue NSW is a volunteer based not-for-profit professional organisation dedicated to keeping boaters safe on the water and supporting local communities.

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