Are you confused about the real dangers of hitting things at sea?
Reading the media, it would not be unreasonable to conclude that the ocean is littered with containers and whales just waiting to be hit by you as you sail along. Is this the case?
There is usually a difference between what we talk about and what statistically is likely to happen. It is true that a few boats have hit whales and containers have fallen off container ships and occasionally been an obstacle that got in the way of a yacht.
But let us look at what is most likely to happen.
The highest incident of things boats hit is by far land itself; everything from submerged rocks to long sandy beaches.
While camping on the shores of Baja California, Mexico, I awoke one morning to see a fishing boat firmly aground on the beach, being hammered by the surf. No excuses, they were local fishermen, knew the beach was there and managed to run aground, as I too have done on a number of occasions.
The next most statistically likely thing to hit is another boat, not in the empty expanses of the ocean on a dark night (not many boats there to hit) but on a Saturday afternoon in a busy harbor or while leaving the marina. My most memorable case being when I was skippering a small ferry, with no one else on board, I hit a moored boat as I left the wheel unattended for a moment and went in search of an annoying rattle.
After that the chances of hitting any thing become very remote in deed. The only time a whale and I were at risk was while in the sheltered waters of Baja California. A mother and baby Grey whale were very slowly moving through the water and we were becalmed, not moving at all. It seemed that mother was asleep, as she very quickly woke up and took avoiding action when I made a loud noise by bashing the side of the hull. Whales are very keen to stay out of your way and can be counted on to cooperate if awake.
In conclusion, I invite you to pay close attention to the risks close to land amongst other humans and take your chances with containers and whales as all these dangers pale into insignificance compared with the dangers of hitting a car on the freeway.