Watching Whales And Dolphins
To see whales and dolphins in their natural environment is a powerful, moving experience and one that underlines the importance of protecting these remarkable creatures.
However, if we don’t take care when watching these beautiful animals from boats, we can put them at risk. Whales and dolphins are highly intelligent animals, sensitive to disturbance and can be hit by vessels, including their propellers.
What to do if you encounter whales and dolphins at sea
If they approach the boat or bow-ride, maintain a steady speed and course until clear. Whales and dolphins should never be chased or harassed in an attempt to make them bow-ride. When watching dolphins, always let them decide what happens.
There are simple guidelines that you can follow if you encounter whales and dolphins at sea to help ensure their safety.
- KEEP your distance. Never go closer than 100m (200m if another boat is present)
- NEVER drive head on to, or move between, scatter or separate dolphins. If unsure of their movements, simply stop and put the engine into neutral.
- PLEASE spend no longer than 15 minutes near the animals
- SPECIAL care must be taken with mothers and young
- MAINTAIN a steady direction and slow ‘no wake’ speed
- NEVER try to swim with whales and dolphins for your safety and theirs
- DO NOT dispose of any rubbish, litter or contaminants at sea
How to choose a responsible whale or dolphin watching trip
At least 10 million people go whale watching every year - the best trips encourage and aid conservation - the worst put whales at risk. You can help protect whales and dolphins by selecting a high quality, responsible whale-watching trip, that takes care not to harm the animals. Click here for guidelines on how to find a good whale watch operator.
To learn more about sailing with whales and dolphins click here.
Please remember to sign our Global Petition for Marine Protected Areas.