- Associated Press - Saturday, December 19, 2015

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) - The Maine Department of Marine Resources says it will buy an inflatable boat that can maneuver more safely when the Maine Marine Patrol responds to entangled whales.

The Maine Outdoor Heritage Fund is giving the department $20,000 to buy the soft-bottomed inflatable boat.

Department scientist Erin Summers says responders often have to pull alongside an entangled whale that might surface underneath the boat. The soft bottom will move and form to the body of the whale, making injuries less likely.

The boat is 17 feet long and will be purchased in consultation with the National Marine Fisheries Service. Maine is one of five states on the East Coast that has the authority to respond to large whale entanglements. The whales sometimes become entangled in fishing gear.

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