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Quiet Sound Program helps local orcas find peace and quiet

The program asks vessels to voluntarily reduce speeds and shut off ultrasonic mechanisms.

A Southern resident killer whale breaches in the Puget Sound with two other orcas nearby and a cruise ship in the background

Photo by Dick Martin via Quiet Sound

Shhhh — everyone keep it down. The annual Quiet Sound Program is softly launching again, aiming to get big boats in the Puget Sound area to be considerate of orcas.

Since launching in 2021, Quiet Sound — a collaborative effort by local maritime groups — aims to gather more info on how human-generated noise can affect Southern Resident killer whales’ hunt for food and to reduce those impacts.

The program created vessel guidelines that encourage boats to reduce their speeds and turn off ultrasonic mechanisms when near the whales.

Quiet Sound kicks in when orcas begin passing through the area in October (hey there, friends) and remains in place through mid-January. Last year, 70% of vessels participated in the program and helped reduce underwater noise intensity by 45%.

You can still keep an eye out for whales on the Sound — just maybe use your indoor voices.