SAVANNAH, Ga. (CBSMiami/AP) — South Florida boaters and fisherman, along with others along the southern Atlantic coast, are being asked by federal officials to keep an eye out for endangered right whales, which are heading south for their calving season.

Pregnant right whales typically start arriving off the coasts of South Carolina, Georgia and Florida in mid-November to give birth in the warmer southern waters and stay through mid-April. Researchers estimate as few as 360 of the federally protected whales still exist.

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Barb Zoodsma, right whale recovery program coordinator for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, warns that the whales can be tough to spot and tend to swim just below the surface. That puts the whales at risk of potentially fatal collisions with boats.

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She says boaters should report any right whale sightings and keep at least a 500-yard distance.

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