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Marine and Coastal Activities

Whale and Dolphin Watching

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Boat-Based Excursions

Whales and Dolphins (and other species) can be best viewed from a boat at the water's surface. This allows passengers to get close to the animals without actually being in the water with them.
In their own environment these animals are fascinating to watch, and often will approach and interact with the vessel and people on board. Most countries require boat operators offering such trips to be in possession of a Permit to allow them to approach these animals. Boat trips usually also encounter a host of other species that would not normally be seen from land.
With all boat-based whale and dolphin watching, care must be taken not to harm or frighten the animals. It is also not a good idea (and may be illegal) to get into the water with these animals - remember they are wild, and should be treated with respect.

Please note: In most countries of the world, a Permit is required for anyone or any vessel (boat, aircraft, helicopter etc.) to approach whales and dolphins (Cetacea) closer than about 300 metres. There is also encouragement for Operators working under the Permit conditions to have adopted a Best Practice for their business, where they will practice at all times taking first consideration of the animals and environment, in order to minimize the impact on the animals of their presence.

Operators with the following icons show their status in this regard:

best practice This indicates they conform to Best Practice principles. Should you experience or observe something that is contrary to this practice, please e-mail us a Complaint with as much detail as possible (date, time, vessel name, location and names of any operator on the vessel) to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

permit holderThis indicates the operator has the required Permit to conduct Whale & Dolphin Watching Tours and can approach the species closer than the limits imposed on the public, and within the distances specified by the Permit conditions.

Please note that a copy of the Permit and Permit Conditions should be displayed on the tour vessel at all times.

Boat excursions are governed by Laws and Regulations applicable to the species as well as marine laws for operating coastal vessels - please abide by both.


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