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Guidelines for whale watching from boat

All whale species are referred to as ‘whale’ in these guidelines. By whale, we mean both groups of whales, individual whales and dolphins.

All vessels (motorboats, fishing boats, yachts, sailing boats, kayaks and canoes) are covered by these guidelines. Vessels like jet skis, parasailers, and remote controlled boats should not be used for whale watching and should have a distance of 1000 metres from the whale.

Allowing whales to interact with people

The guidelines presented here refer to situations where people actively approach whales. The guidelines give distance recommendations for not disturbing the whales. In some cases, the whales get curious and approach the boats on their own initiative. These situations are not in conflict with the guidelines. To make the close encounters a success, it is important to keep a steady course with a low speed, or even let the motor stay in neutral gear.

Signs of disturbance in whales

If a whale shows signs of disturbance, it is to be left undisturbed. Also inform other whale watching operators in the area of the situation.

Signs of disturbance in whales:

In general

Searching for whales in the search area, 1000 m, 15 knots

Approaching whales in the waiting zone, 1000 – 100 m, reduce the speed to 5 knots

Watching whales in the observation zone, 50-100 m, < 5 knots

Leaving the area

Boats are to follow the same procedures as mentioned above when leaving the whales. 

Touching and feeding whales