Cape May Whale Watcher INC and Spirit of Cape May LLC, located in Cape May, NJ, are both partners in the Whale Sense Program since 2013. However, since the inception of the Northeast Whale Watching Guidelines and our first whale watching trips in 1990, Captain Jeff Stewart and his son Captain Jeff Stewart Jr have followed responsible whale watching practices.
We are staunch advocates of safety when operating around Marine Mammals. When viewing marine mammals around Cape May, Wildwood, Wildwood Crest, Stone Harbor, Sea Isle and Ocean City, New Jersey, Captain Stewart utilizes techniques beyond those mandated by the Federal Laws and requirements. For instance, all our vessels are multi-engine vessels. Three and Four main engines are not required when manuevering around Humpback Whales and Atlantic Bottlenosed Dolphins. In most circumstances, Captain Jeff Stewart shuts down most of the main engines to the minimum of two engines required to manuever around. This reduces the amount of noise pollution the vessel emits into the water. Humpback Whales, Fin Whales, Atlantic Bottlenose Dolphins, and Harbor Porpoise are all very acoustic animals. Noise pollution reduction is a major goal of the Cape May Whale Watcher and the Spirit of Cape May.
We have gone so far to reduce noise pollution from our vessels that we have been in an ongoing repower project to reduce NOX, Noise and Fuel Consumption. This program, funded by Captain Jeff Stewart and his son Captain Jeff Stewart Jr. has been highly succcessful. The noise eminated from our boats, the Cape May Whale Watcher and the Miss Chris has been reduced by 50%. Nox levels are also greatly reduced, thanks to Tier I and Tier III EPA Standards being met. Fuel Consumption is down by 40%. All these factors coupled together create vessels that are more freindly to the air, the ocean and the whales and dolphins. By having the highest capacity boats, like the Cape May Whale Watcher which seats up to 405 passengers, we also have vessels with the smallest carbon foot print.
Whale SENSE is cooperative program, volunatary program among whale watching companies on the Atlantic Coast and Alaska. The program is sponsored by NOAA FIsheries and the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society.