The Right Of Way, Right?

Coast Guard Boat

When you think of whales, the Northeast doesn’t come to mind like it did in the days of the Nantucket and Sag Harbor whalers. But conservation has had an effect and the right whales (they were the “right ones” to hunt) are coming back, so we must be careful. This column is about that.

Reducing ‘Ship Strikes’

NOAA recently sent out a reminder on the “Ship Strike Compliance Rule” on what lat/long all ships in excess of 65 feet must comply with in order to reduce running into right whales — slow to 10 knots or less.

Well, with the calving areas now being up and down the east coast, shouldn’t all mariners be careful? Obviously, yes.

Vessels may operate at a speed greater than 10 knots only if necessary to maintain a safe maneuvering speed in an area where conditions severely restrict vessel maneuverability as determined by the pilot or master.

If a deviation from the 10-knot speed restriction is necessary, the captain must record all the relevant information and enter it into the logbook.

Calving Grounds

Yes, big whales making baby whales — right along the Eastern Seaboard and then heading north to their feeding areas off Cape Cod and related areas. That migration period runs from November 1 to April 30.

Note that two major blocks of water are right here in our greater New York area:

• Block Island Sound waters bounded by:

40º51’53.7” N 070º36’44.9” W

41º20’14.1” N 070º49’44.1” W

41º04’16.7” N 071º51’21.0” W

40º35’56.5” N 071º38’25.1” W

then back to starting point.

• Ports of New York/New Jersey:

40º29’42.2”N 073º55’57.6”W

So, watch out for God’s great leviathans as we collectively restore them to their “right”ful place in their maritime domains. Right whales have the right of way, right?

BTW, if you are interested in being part of USCG Forces, email me at [email protected] or go direct to the D1SR Human Resources department. The folks there will help you “get in this thing…”

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