Whale Watching in the San Juan Islands.
Whale watching in the San Juan Islands has become a $10 million industry in recent years. The Whale Museum estimates that annually more than 500,000 people go whale watching on commercial whale-watch boats in the transboundary waters of Washington and British Columbia. Another 3,000-8,000 watch whales each year from private boats.
Whale watching provides people with an opportunity to learn about and appreciate marine wildlife. As more people become aware of the importance of the marine ecosystems on this planet, increasing numbers of them will work to help preserve it.
However, it is extremely important that the large numbers of humans who watch whales and other marine animals in the wild don't disrupt the animals' environment and ability to live normal, healthy lives.
The Whale Museum created the Soundwatch Boater Education Program in 1993 to educate pleasure boaters on the least intrusive ways to watch whales in the wild. On the water every day each summer, Soundwatch crews and volunteers monitor boater activity near whales.
When they see boat activity that could potentially disrupt or harm the whales, Soundwatch approaches boaters, courteously explains the rules and hands them the Be Whale Wise Guidelines brochure. The guidelines were created in conjunction with many partners, including the U.S. and Canadian federal governments and the international Pacific Whale Watch Association to assist boaters in viewing marine wildlife with minimal impact to the animals.
Soundwatch also monitors regional marine protected areas and opportunistically collects data on vessel & whale behavior.
Soundwatch is primarily an educational program and has no enforcement power. However, repeat or flagrant violations of the guidelines may be reported by anyone to the U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service or to the Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans, which may impose substantial fines.
A component of the Soundwatch Boater Education Program is the Kayak Education and Leadership Program (KELP). KELP. educators teach commercial and private kayakers about marine stewardship and promote the Responsible Kayaker Code, helping to reduce disturbances to marine wildlife by irresponsible boating practices.
Funding for Soundwatch comes out of The Whale Museum's general operating budget, through federal & state contracts/grants, and private contributions. You can help support our efforts by making a donation, adopting an orca or becoming a museum member.
The Soundwatch Boater Education Program seeks interns to assist with the successful and internationally acclaimed education and monitoring program working to reduce vessel disturbance to killer whales and other marine wildlife in the Haro Strait region of Washington State and British Columbia, Canada. Soundwatch needs assistants to help conduct seasonal vessel patrols to educate boaters on regional guidelines and regulations and to collect data while monitoring vessel activities around whales. Data from this important program characterizes vessel activity trends around marine wildlife and is used to promote better boater compliance and to inform marine mammal management strategies such as state and federal vessel laws and guidelines.
Download more information. Internship is unpaid. Shared housing at reasonable cost is likely available.