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Watch: Breaching Humpback Whale Smashes Fishing Boat

Luckily the boaters were in the stern, or they likely would have been crushed
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Whale smashes fishing boat.

A humpback whale breaches on a fishing boat. Leo Engasser

Two people in a fishing boat anchored off Plymouth, Massachusetts, had a close encounter with a large humpback that gave tourists and photographers a whale of a show. Camera shutters clicked as the whale breached far above the water’s surface and landed on the bow of the boat amid a cluster of eight other boats.

Onlookers captured photos and video of the incident, and the scene has been spread widely over social media.

The photos and video show the tremendous impact from the massive mammal as it landed on the bow of the boat, lifting the stern and large outboard motor well above the water’s surface. The whale then rolled off the bow and back into the water, and the estimated 30-40 foot cuddy-cabin style boat righted itself and slammed back down on the surface.

Remarkably, the boat remained afloat with both passengers still on board. Fortunately, the occupants were at the stern during impact. Otherwise they could have been crushed. The whale smashed into most of the bow, including a stainless steel bow railing, according to Boston’s WCBV-5.

A harbormaster for the area checked on the boaters and reported no injuries or serious damage to the boat. It also seems that the whale was fine after the collision.

Humpback whales can weigh up to 80,000 pounds and grow to nearly 60 feet long. They commonly surge upward as they herd and chase food, often breaching to corral the krill and other small fish they eat.

Whale Safety

Close calls with whales seem to be happening more often these days. One week ago, a paddleboarder had a close encounter with a whale off Manomet beach in Massachusetts.

A paddleboader snaps photos of a breaching whale.

While whales rarely cause problems for fishing boats, and vice versa, Monica Pepe of the Whale and Dolphin Conservation group does have advice for tourists and locals as whale watching becomes more and more popular.

“We love the enthusiasm that local residents are showing for these whales off our coast and want people to enjoy them while they are here, but it’s important that they do it safely,” Pepe told reporters. “The whales are moving sporadically while trying to catch fish, so boat operators in the area should be proactive and make sure they are at least five boat lengths away.”