VIDEO: Onlookers outraged after man paddles to whales
ONLOOKERS said they were outraged after a man paddled out to playing whales off the shore of Rifle Range Beach, Bargara.
Community members said the swimmer, who appeared to be using a kayak, spooked the giants who then swam away.
The man was captured on video, which was then posted on to the Bargara Facebookers site.
According to the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection, approach distances are in place to reduce the risk of disturbing whales or dolphins.
They apply to boats, prohibited vessels (including jet skis and hovercraft), aircraft (including helicopters) and people who are in the water.
For a whale, a no-approach zone surrounds the animal for 100m and extends 300m from the head and tail of the animal.
Wide Bay Capricorn lifesaving development officer Jamie Findlay said whales should always be kept at a safe distance.
"We recommend anyone who is lucky enough to observe this show put on by Mother Nature to abide by Commonwealth and state regulations and laws when approaching a whale in the water," he said.
"These regulations and laws are not only in place to protect the whales, but also to protect swimmers and boaties as well - a fully grown whale can weigh up to 45 tonnes so it is probably best to give them plenty of room."
The Department of Environment and Heritage Protection said there were general rules to follow to protect marine mammals:
- Never restrict the path of a marine mammal or cause it to change direction.
- Never drive a boat into a pod or herd of marine mammals causing it to divide into smaller groups.
- Do not deposit rubbish near, make a loud or sudden noise near, or attempt to touch or feed a marine mammal, unless it is part of an authorised dolphin feeding program.
The whale sighting follows several across the Bundaberg region in recent weeks.