Radiated noise from commercial ships in the Gulf of Maine: implications for whale/vessel collisions

J Acoust Soc Am. 2012 Sep;132(3):EL229-35. doi: 10.1121/1.4739251.


To understand mysticete acoustic-based detection of ships, radiated noise from high-speed craft, cruise ships, catamarans and fishing vessels was recorded June-September 2009. Calibrated acoustic data (<2500 Hz) from a vertical hydrophone array was combined with ship passage information. A cruise ship had the highest broadband source level, while a fishing vessel had the lowest. Ship noise radiated asymmetrically and varied with depth. Bow null-effect acoustic shadow zones were observed for all ship classes and were correlated with ship-length-to-draft-ratios. These shadow zones may reduce ship detection by near-surface mysticetes.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Acoustics / instrumentation
  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal*
  • Ecosystem
  • Motion
  • Noise, Transportation*
  • Oceans and Seas
  • Ships*
  • Sound
  • Sound Localization*
  • Sound Spectrography
  • Transducers
  • Water
  • Whales / psychology*


  • Water