iOS app warns mariners of whale proximity in real time
It's a whale of an app! WhaleALERT (free) provides a way to warn mariners in and around the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary at the mouth of Massachusetts Bay of the proximity of North Atlantic right whales.
The whales live and breed in the coastal waters between the Gulf of Maine and Florida, an area crisscrossed with busy shipping lanes. The purpose of the WhaleALERT app is to give mariners indications of seasonal- and dynamic-management areas and recommended routes to avoid collisions with the whales. As there are only an estimated 350 to 550 right whales in existence at this time and ship collisions are a leading cause of death, the app can help protect one of the world's largest rare animals.
Although the app includes full coastal water charts for the entire Eastern seaboard of the US, the area encompassing the sanctuary is of particular interest as there are right whale listening buoys scattered hither and yon. Thanks to those buoys, the app can detect the location of right whales and generate a voluntary speed-reduction alert, hopefully reducing the number of ship/whale collisions. The screenshot below shows a live alert from today -- note that the time is listed in MDT as that is the time zone in which the screenshot was taken.
The app may also be of interest to whale-watchers, particularly in the Massachusetts Bay area.
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