You’ve heard the saying that there are plenty of fish in the sea. While this statement may carry some weight as a metaphor for dating, it’s not as accurate in areas where sea lions have to compete with fisherman for food. Unfortunately, heavily fished areas within sea lion habitats have led to a decrease in the population of this lovable animal. Maybe that’s why some sea lions are looking to other methods of getting their food. This particular sea lion, for example, is swimming behind a fishing boat in an effort to get on board and snag a recently caught fish. The fishermen are happy to accommodate the animal’s desire for food when they see it swimming behind the boat at a remarkable speed.
How Fast Can They Swim?
To minimize resistance and gain speed, sea lions actually glide on top of the water. In contrast to seals, who propel themselves with their hind flippers, sea lions use their large front flippers to swim and their hind flippers for steering. Because of the unique way they swim, sea lions are able to easily surf in front of waves. A sea lion can cruise at a speed of around 11 miles per hour, but can reach speeds of as fast as 25 mph in short bursts. This is about 7 mph faster than the top speed of a seal, and about 20 mph faster than the fastest human swimmer.
How Fast Is a Fishing Boat?
A fishing boat’s top speed obviously depends on the motor its equipped with along with its size, material, and design. A fishing boat with just one small motor may be able to hit a top speed of 10 or 20 mph, which means a sea lion could outrun it. Most offshore fishing boats are equipped with 2 engines. With twin 150-horsepower engines, you’re probably looking at a top speed of close to 30 mph. Go up to twin 350-hp motors and you could likely go as fast as 45 mph. This boat is probably somewhere in that neighborhood and would have a cruising speed of around 25 or 30 mph. Considering the boat appears to be equipped with 2 powerful motors, it’s pretty impressive that the sea lion can keep up with it at its cruising speed.
A Sea Lion-Friendly Fishing Boat
A couple of features of this particular fishing boat make it easier for the sea lion to come aboard. First of all, sterndrive motors make trailing the boat much less dangerous. Advantages of sterndrive motor compared to an outboard motor are:
• No protruding powerhead
• Combines inboard power in an outboard drive
• More horsepower per engine
• No cutouts for outboard installation
There’s also a rear dive door that the fishermen will open to let the sea lion in. Without a dive door, it would be impossible for the sea lion to enter the boat. With these 2 key features, you could say that this boat definitely has a sea lion-friendly design.
Seavee 430FA Inboard Fishing Boat
A similar boat with the sea lion-friendly features described above is the Seavee 430FA Inboard. This boat has the following key features:
• Rear transom dive door
• 2 inboard motors
• 1,100 max horsepower
• Dual 45-gallon live wells
• Single level cockpit floor
• 288-quart insulated fishbox
• 100-gallon freshwater capacity
• Saltwater system
• Sleeping capacity for 4 adults
• Running gear access
• Optional fighting chair
• Optional swivel rod holders
The Sea Lions of Cabo San Lucas
If you go fishing in Cabo San Lucas, there’s a good chance you will see a see lion—and possibly up close and personal like these fishermen did. These mammals are drawn to the area due to the low current and warm coasts. Sea lions of Cabo San Lucas have grown accustomed to humans and are generally friendlier than those found elsewhere, which is why this one has no problem with coming aboard to get a fish. (Either that or it’s just really hungry.) The natural rock formation here called the arch at Land’s End is home to large colonies of both sea lions and seals. While it’s generally recommended to stay at least 20 to 30 feet away from a sea lion, you’ll see that these fishermen have nothing to worry about from this particularly friendly and hungry mammal.