Canadian and US authorities stipulate that commercial operators must not approach closer than 200 metres from Bigg’s killer whales in Canadian waters (200 yards in US waters) and 100 metres from baleen whales in Canadian waters (100 yards in US waters). Since 2020, operators in Canadian waters are prohibited from approaching endangered southern resident killer whales.
If whales approach a vessel, that vessel is expected to make every effort to get out of the way, if safe to do so. If a whale surprises a vessel with a close surfacing, the vessel must shut down its engines or remain in neutral until it is outside of the legal minimum distance requirement.
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