If you’re concerned about taking a cruise because of its threat to marine life, well, you’re not alone.
But the good news is the industry is trying to find ways to improve its safety record.
Here’s the problem: whales and other marine life are often too small and move too slowly to be picked up by cruise-ship sensors.
That issue was highlighted most recently when a whale was found pinned to a Princess cruise ship.
Cruise ships and other vessels rely on reported sightings in order to alter their course. And this navigation isn’t easy!
A few years ago, Holland America implemented a comprehensive “Avoiding Whale Strikes” program. The program instructs crews on how to identify whale types and spot surface characteristics like blow patterns in order to avoid a strike.
Now, Costa Cruises is working with the World Wildlife Fund to develop a pilot program on one of its ships, the Costa Pacifica. The program uses a global satellite network so if there’s a whale sighting, the information will show up on a dedicated screen on all other vessels enabled with the same technology.
As for busy shipping routes that see major whale migrations, the Coast Guard is working to put out warnings during periods of high traffic, and is making efforts to restrict boat speeds so that whales can get out of the way of the boats.
To learn how to make your travels more eco-friendly, visit our Eco-Travel section.
Or find out what you need to know about setting sail in our Cruise Travel section.
And check out the rest of our Daily Travel Tips here.