'Whales ho!' Sailors, conservationists help keep whales safe

July 9, 2017 by William J. Kole

Competitive sailors have teamed up with conservationists on new guidelines aimed at keeping sailboats and whales from colliding during races.

It's a collaboration between US Sailing, the sport's national governing body, and several nonprofits working to protect endangered North Atlantic right whales and other species.

Experts say vessel strikes are a leading cause of death for whales. Most are caused by and freighters, but fast-moving sailboats racing in the also pose a danger to the majestic mammals.

Sailors are being given tips to navigate safely around whales, including course maps overlaid with any nearby whale habitat.

They're also given emergency contact information in case they see a whale that's entangled or otherwise in distress.

Explore further: Scientists alarmed by six right whales deaths in Canada

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