NOAA Reminds Boaters to Report Whale Entanglements

Dave Morin and Scott Landry from Center for Coastal Studies (with cutting pole) aboard Maine Marine Patrol vessel in the process of disentangling a humpback whale off Mount Desert Island, Maine. (Credit: Maine Marine Patrol/NOAA MMHSRP Permit #932-1905)

HYANNIS – Recreational boaters are still enjoying nice fall days in the region and NOAA Fisheries is reminding the public what to do when coming across a whale entangled in rope.

The first move should be to immediately call NOAA’s Atlantic Large Whale Disentanglement Network or contact the U.S. Coast Guard by radioing Channel 16.

The network, which is made up of 20 authorized and specially trained public and private organizations, including state and federal agencies, responds to entanglements along the East Coast.

Network members have extensive training in how to safely disentangle whales and increase their odds of surviving.

The hotline for the network operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week and can be reached by calling 866-755-6622.

Boaters should never attempt to disentangle a whale as they are large, powerful, wild animals who are often in pain. The whales are unpredictable and can harm bystanders trying to help.

Boaters should also take pictures and video of the entanglement and record the location of the sighting and remain on scene if possible until rescuers arrive.

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