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Coast Guard launches boat alert system in Seattle to keep whales safe

The U.S. Coast Guard has launched a pilot program to alert ships to whale sightings in Washington state's Salish Sea. The goal of the agency's “cetacean desk” is to keep the marine mammals safe from boat strikes and reduce noise in the highly transited inland seawaters by collecting sightings from civilians and mariners.
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VIDEO BY AP
The U.S. Coast Guard is embarking on one of its most unique missions yet in Puget Sound: a pilot program to alert vessels of whale sightings. The program is an effort to keep the giant marine mammals safe from boat strikes and noise in the highly used inland waters of Washington state.
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MATT MCDONALD VIA AP

In this photo provided by Matt McDonald, the Washington state ferry Wenatchee collides with a humpback whale, bottom center, on May 28, 2019, just off Seattle. The whale was presumed dead after the collision. The U.S. Coast Guard is launching a whale alert program in Washington’s Salish Sea to help commercial and transit ships steer clear of the marine mammals. Using sighting reports from mariners and civilians and hydrophone monitoring, the so-called "cetacean desk” launches at time when more humpback whales and orcas visit the inland waters of the Salish Sea.
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ELAINE THOMPSON

An orca swims past a recreational boat sailing just offshore in the Salish Sea in the San Juan Islands, Wash., July 31, 2015. The U.S. Coast Guard is embarking on one of its most unique missions yet in the Puget Sound: a pilot program to alert vessels of whale sightings. The program is an effort to keep the giant marine mammals safe from boat strikes and noise in the highly used inland waters of Washington state.
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KERSTI MUUL VIA AP

In this photo provided by Kersti Muul, a pod of Bigg’s orcas, including one known as Chainsaw for his jagged dorsal fin, swim in Seattle’s Elliott Bay as a state ferry sails behind them in May 2022, near Seattle. The U.S. Coast Guard is launching a whale alert program in Washington’s Salish Sea to help commercial and transit ships steer clear of the marine mammals. Using sighting reports from mariners and civilians and hydrophone monitoring, the so-called "cetacean desk” launches at time when more humpback whales and orcas visit the inland waters of the Salish Sea.
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BRITTANY PHILBIN/SALISH WILDLIFE WATCH AND PNW OPS PHOTOGRAPHY VIA AP

In this April 20, 2022, photo provided by Brittany Philbin taken from Alki Beach, in Seattle shows orcas swimming in Seattle's Elliott Bay.
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BRITTANY PHILBIN/SALISH WILDLIFE WATCH AND PNW OPS PHOTOGRAPHY VIA AP

In this Aug. 3, 2021, photo provided by Brittany Philbin taken from Discovery Park West Point Lighthouse in Seattle shows an orca.
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BRITTANY PHILBIN/SALISH WILDLIFE WATCH AND PNW OPS PHOTOGRAPHY VIA AP

In this May 24, 2021, photo provided by Brittany Philbin taken from Me Kwa Mooks in Seattle shows an orca swimming in Puget Sound.
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BRITTANY PHILBIN/SALISH WILDLIFE WATCH AND PNW OPS PHOTOGRAPHY VIA AP

In this Aug. 3, 2021, photo provided by Brittany Philbin taken from Discovery Park West Point Lighthouse in Seattle shows an orca.
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ASSOCIATED PRESS

U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., left, stands next to Lt. Cmdr. Margaret Woodbridge at a press conference in Seattle, Wednesday, Feb. 21. The U.S. Coast Guard is launching a whale alert program, which Woodbridge is managing, in Washington's Salish Sea to help commercial and transit ships steer clear of the marine mammals.
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ASSOCIATED PRESS

U.S. Coast Guard Lt. Cmdr. Margaret Woodbridge stands next to a picture of a humpback whale during a press conference in Seattle, Wednesday, Feb. 21. The U.S. Coast Guard is launching a whale alert program, which Woodbridge is managing, in Washington's Salish Sea to help commercial and transit ships steer clear of the marine mammals.
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ASSOCIATED PRESS

U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., speaks at a press conference while U.S. Coast Guard Captain Mark McDonnell, Sector Puget Sound Commander, looks on in Seattle, Wednesday, Feb. 21. The U.S. Coast Guard is launching a whale alert program, which Woodbridge is managing, in Washington's Salish Sea to help commercial and transit ships steer clear of the marine mammals.
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ASSOCIATED PRESS

U.S. Coast Guard Capt. Mark McDonnell, Sector Puget Sound Commander, speaks at a press conference in Seattle, Wednesday, Feb. 21. The U.S. Coast Guard is launching a whale alert program in Washington's Salish Sea to help commercial and transit ships steer clear of the marine mammals.

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