Whales a ‘common problem’ for boaties
WHALES can be a “common problem” for skippers in winter during migration season.
SunReef and Whale One owner Dan Hart said there was lots of whale activity around the Coast this season, with about 33,000 whales expected – an increase of about 10 per cent.
The whale season goes from June to the end of October, and Mr Hart said this year whales had been spotted on the Coast earlier than previous years.
“The population is increasing so it’s taking them longer to travel up the coast,” he said.
He said the increase in population meant more whales travelling together.
“Pod sizes vary ... mothers will often have young with them, and sometimes a male escort.
“You’ll often see pods as large as seven or eight whales.”
Mr Hart said whales were a concern for skippers, as they were known to sink yachts.
“Whales have always been a big concern, I’ve hit two or three whales in my lifetime,” he said.
“They weigh as much as your boat, especially if they’re coming at you from the opposite direction.
“Racing yachts are particularly prone if they do hit a whale – structurally they’re not designed to do it.
“They have a very deep keel … not very strong if they hit something under the water.”
David Cook, from the Department of Wildlife and Science, said skippers should be extremely cautious, but it was almost impossible to avoid a whale at night.
WHALING AROUND: The migration season is in full swing on the Coast, with sighted pod sizes as large as seven or eight whales. Boaties are being urged to be on the lookout for the mammals.
Rod Smallman’s yacht has a 1.75m crack after being hit by a whale.