A mobile application is now available on the iPad and iPhone to help boaters avoid collisions with whales at sea. The Whale Alert, a free app created in 2012, was originally designed to help protect endangered right whales on the East Coast. The app was recently updated with features on whale movements and conservation initiatives for mariners in the Pacific Ocean, according to the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, which has a San Simeon office.
The app uses a variety of technologies to report whale sightings to databases that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and whale biologists use to map whale habitats and migration patterns. In 2007, four blue whales were confirmed or believed killed in ship strikes in and around the Santa Barbara channel. In 2010, five whales were killed by confirmed or suspected ship strikes in the San Francisco area and along the north-central California coast.