State/National/WorldNews Briefs

New Research Warns Against Spectator Boats at Sailboat Races

Observing sailboat races presents challenges due to distant viewing and misleading angles. While short courses near docks are manageable, spectating full races on boats often prioritizes socializing over watching the race closely. Major events like the America’s Cup or SailGP aim to attract viewership, but a recent study suggests a hidden cost. Conducted by Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, Scotland, the study reveals that noise from large groups of spectator boats can have lasting effects on marine life. The research, published in the Marine Pollution Bulletin, measured acoustic recordings during the 36th America’s Cup in New Zealand’s Hauraki Gulf as approximately 10,468 vessels attended the races between December 2020 and March 2021. The study highlights potential impacts on marine mammals, fish and invertebrates, which rely on their sensitive hearing for crucial activities like foraging, communication and avoiding predators.


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