With summer whale watching season fast approaching, conservation advocates and government agencies who want to protect whales say a mobile app designed to help mariners steer clear of the animals is helping keep them alive.

Mark Olsen

The Whale Alert app provides a real-time display of the ocean and the position of the mariner's ship, along with information about where whales have been seen or heard recently. It also provides information on speed restrictions and restricted areas.

Collisions with high speed ships are one of the leading causes of death for some species of whales.

The International Fund for Animal Welfare collaborated with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on the app, which first came out four years ago. Recent changes — such as giving civilians the ability to report whale sightings — have made it more popular.