Washington State Ferries has made protecting orcas a priority with its recently adopted whale alert app — a web-based system to provide ferry captains more accurate and updated location information for southern resident orcas and other whales throughout Puget Sound.
“Because we operate our 22 ferries on Puget Sound and manage 20 terminals on its shores, we have an obligation to ensure WSF is doing everything we can to protect our environment, including marine life,” said WSF assistant secretary Amy Scarton.
The Ocean Wise’s Whale Report Alert System — which is designed solely for commercial maritime operators such as ferries, ships, and tugs — relies on real-time sightings reported by members of the public via Ocean Wise’s WhaleReport smartphone application for iPhone or Android.
Each alert also supplies other pertinent details such as the species observed, the direction of whale travel, the time of the report, and the number of whales in the group. This desktop interface allows watch standers at WSF’s operations centers to monitor the location of whale sightings relative to fleet vessel positions and relay whale presence information to captains.