Website launches whale collision survey

Cruising website has joined forces with marine environmental group MEER to launch a worldwide survey of collisions and near misses between cetaceans (whales and dolphins) and sailing yachts.

Collisions between ships and cetaceans are increasing around the world and several whale populations are under massive threat owing to a high collision risk in some areas such as the US East Coast, the Mediterranean and around the Canary Islands. There were for example a spate of whale collisions in the recent Transat Race. However, information on collisions involving sailing vessels is scarce.

Marine biologist Fabian Ritter, working for the non-profit organisation MEER is investigating reports of collisions and near miss events between sailing vessels and cetaceans. As part of this research and MEER are inviting all sailors around the world to provide information on any whale/dolphin collisions or near misses during their sailing careers.

All reports can be logged on noonsite with the objective of gathering statistical information on actual collisions and near misses, to help understand the reasons for the collisions and to help reduce the risk both for sailors and for cetaceans.

Noonsite Manager, Sue Richards, commented: “Whales and dolphins are held in special affection by all sailors around the world. We know from the feedback from our site visitors – all of whom are cruising sailors – that concern for the marine environment is a high priority for them. We welcome this opportunity to help focus research through the global sailing community, for the benefit of both sailors and the marine mammals, and I urge all sailors to look back though their logs and help build up some significant research data.”

The MEER research project will run until the end of 2008. To log a report see