Winter is returning and right whale migration is beginning as the 36 to 59 foot long adults travel south to the coastal waters of South Carolina, Georgia, and northeast Florida.
The endangered whales will migrating more than 1,000 miles away from their feeding grounds off Canada and New England to our warm coastal waters.
As only some 400 of the whales are believed to exist in the North Atlantic, NOAA officials are urging boaters to be cautious when out during the calving season that lasts through April, "Mariners should keep a sharp lookout for right whales along the entire East Coast, especially during right whale calving (birthing) season from November through April. This calving area is their only known – and likely only – calving area."
Law requires that boaters stay 500 yards from the whales.
In January 2011, a badly injured whale was spotted some 15 miles from the St. Helena Sound.
Below you can watch a short video about the whale strikes and migration routes, and a fact sheet is available here on the whales and how to spot them.