Not so silent spectators: How spectator vessels at international sailing regattas alter marine soundscapes

Matthew K. Pine, Emily Hague, Anna Kebke, Lauren McWhinnie, Charlotte R. Findlay

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Abstract

International sailing regattas are major sporting events often held within coastal marine environments which overlap with the habitats of marine species. Although races are confined to courses, the popularity of these events can attract large spectator flotillas, sometimes composed of hundreds of motorized vessels. Underwater noise from these flotillas can potentially alter soundscapes experienced by marine species. To understand how these flotillas may alter soundscapes, acoustic recordings were taken around racecourses during the 36th America's Cup in the Hauraki Gulf, New Zealand in 2021. Sustained increases in broadband underwater sound levels during the regatta (up to 17 dB re 1 μPa rms; 0.01–24 kHz) that extended beyond racecourse boundaries (>8.5 km) and racing hours were observed; very likely attributable to the increase in regatta-related vessel activity. Underwater noise pollution from spectator flotillas attending larger regattas should be considered during event planning stages, particularly when events occur in ecologically significance areas.
Original languageEnglish
Article number116309
JournalMarine Pollution Bulletin
Volume202
Early online date1 Apr 2024
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2024

Keywords

  • America's cup
  • Marine life
  • Regatta
  • Sailing
  • Soundscapes
  • Underwater noise
  • Vessels

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