How to Report an Entangled Whale

Whether you’re sailing, kayaking, whale watching, fishing or just standing on the coast, you can have a direct impact in saving an entangled whale’s life. Remember, it's highly illegal and incredibly dangerous to approach a whale, so it's imperative that you maintain a distance of at least 100 yards, and leave all disentanglement and close evaluation efforts to our highly trained and authorized team. Failure to do so may result in hefty fines, jail time, injury and potential death.

Orange and yellow buoys trailing behind a humpback whale

Reporting an entangled whale:

A photo of the left lateral dorsal fin can help us identify the whale

  1. Take note of the nature of the entanglement. Note the location of the entanglement on the whale's body, a description of what the entangled material looks like (i.e. "a thick blue line across the top of the whale's body near the blowhole"), if there are any buoys, line or other gear trailing behind the whale, and approximately how far behind the gear trails.
  2. Immediately, call (877) SOS-WHALE (877–767–9425), or hail the U.S. Coast Guard on VHF CH-16. Don't wait until you're back in port.
  3. Relay the whale's exact location in latitude and longitude. Be sure to indicate which format of lat/long you are relaying (if you're unsure, read it exactly as it is shown). Learn How
  4. If at all possible, please stay with the whale until a member of our team arrives.
  5. If you're able to, while maintaining 100 yards' distance from the whale, take high-resolution photographs of the whale's left lateral dorsal fin, right lateral dorsal fin, the underside of the flukes (you'll only see it if the whale is capable of a deep dive, and raises its flukes vertically above the water), the entanglement position on the whale's body, and any trailing gear or buoys.

Approaching a marine mammal is illegal under the Marine Mammal Protection Act—punishable by hefty fines and potential imprisonment—and can lead to injury and death. Please maintain a distance of at least 100 yards, and leave all disentanglement and close evaluation efforts to authorized responders. Human safety is top priority.