No fine yet for closing on Puget Sound orcas

Aug 16, 2012

A boater who was caught by the Coast Guard too close to Puget Sound killer whales won't be penalized, but next  summer violators could be fined thousands of dollars.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration spokesman Brian Gorman in Seattle says the agency is working with the Coast Guard and the Washington Fish and Wildlife Department to educate boaters about a 2011 requirement to stay at least 200 yards away from orcas. Previously it was just a guideline.

Gorman says they'll make a decision before next summer's boating season on issuing fines.

On Wednesday a Coast Guard cutter from Port Angeles witnessed a 25-foot pleasure boat remaining within 200 yards of whales near Orcas Island. The boaters were told they were too close.