Spout Spotters: Boater Safety Around Whales

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Welcome to Spout Spotters: Boater Safety Around Whales!

Thank you for taking this extra step to ensure the safety of yourself, your passengers, and whales while at sea. Accidental collisions with whales can be dangerous for everyone involved and result in costly repairs to your boat. In this short, voluntary course, you’ll learn key steps to take before heading out on the water that will help you avoid dangerous situations, get yourself out of a dangerous situation if you are suddenly in one, and take an active role in supporting marine life conservation efforts.

By the end of the course you will be able to:

  • Access and use available resources to prepare for a trip at sea
  • Identify common whale species along the US Atlantic coast and recognize many of their behaviors
  • Put safe whale watching guidelines to practice while at sea
  • Keep a safe distance between your boat and whales
  • Know what to document and who to call if you encounter a whale in distress
  • Share what you’ve learned with other boaters

This course should take you between 30-60 minutes to complete. It can be viewed on any device, including PCs, tablets, and mobile devices. It is divided into four lessons with a short series of topics covered in each lesson. Quick assessments along the way will verify what you’ve learned so far.

The first 300 participants to complete this course will receive a free pair of polarized sunglasses, complements of Whale and Dolphin Conservation and made possible by the generosity of the Sheehan Family Companies. Instructions for claiming your sunglasses are included at the end of the course.

Sunglasses claimed


This course is brought to you by the team at See A Spout? Watch Out!, a collaborative program between Whale and Dolphin Conservation, NOAA’s Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office, Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary, Audubon Society of Rhode Island, and New Bedford Whaling Museum.

Key features that will help you throughout this course:

  • Go at your own pace! You can leave and sign back into the course at any point via https://seeaspout.org/login/
  • Track your progress: A progress bar across the top of the screen will allow you to see how much of the course remains. There is also a course outline along the left sidebar.
  • Use the “Mark Complete” button at the bottom of each page to continue to the next topic.
  • You’ll be able to download and share a certificate of completion once you’ve finished.

You’ll find the course outline below. Select the first lesson to get started!


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