SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — A close call between a sailboat and a humpback whale near the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco was caught on camera by a nearby whale watching tour.
A crowd aboard a San Francisco Whale Tours boat gasped as they watched the sailboat’s crew veer sharply to avoid colliding into the whale just as it was surfacing.
“Oh my god,” several people screamed.
The whale appeared to be uninjured, but Saturday’s incident highlighted an ongoing problem in the San Francisco Bay, marine mammal experts told KRON4.
The sailboat displayed negligence by getting too close, said Naturalist Sydney Minges.
Minges, who works for San Francisco Whale Tours, said the sailboat navigated directly toward the humpback while it was feeding on anchovies.
“If they are within 100 yards of you, you should be floating or moving in the opposite direction. One hundreds yards, or 300 feet, is the law. This sailboat was clearly not following those rules,” Minges said.
Earlier this month, another humpback whale was feeding near the Bay Bridge when it was fatally struck by a cargo ship.
Most whale vs. boat collisions this year have involved large cargo ships hitting gray whales, however, even small sailboats can cause major injuries to a whale’s back.
San Francisco’s humpback season lasts until mid-November.