swimming with dolphins: a code of conduct
Excerpted from Dolphins by Chris Catton St. Martin's Press, New York, 1995 [Reprinted with permission of the publisher]


The following code of conduct has been drawn up by International Dolphin Watch, a non-profit organization supporting dolphin conservation.

Boat Users

Do not chase dolphins or drive a boat directly towards them. Whenever possible, let them approach you. Do not make sudden bursts of speed or violent changes of direction; dolphins may be out of sight under your boat. Do not stop or slow down suddenly. is can confuse and alarm dolphins as much as sudden acceleration. Users of twin screw boats, do not manoeuvre using the screws in opposition, as this creates violent and confusing water movements.

Do ensure that no more than one boat is within 328ft (100m) or three boats within 0.6 miles (1km) of dolphins at any one time.


Until a close relationship has been established, it is important that swimmers do not attempt to touch the dolphins. Let.them take the initiative.

Wear a buoyancy aid and do not wear or carry sharp objects that could damage a dolphin's skin.

Do not harass a dolphin when it is feeding.

Do not attempt to feed wild dolphins. This is illegal in many countries, attracts sharks, can poison the dolphins, and can encourage the dolphins to take fishing bait which can result in serious injury.

Do not try to manipulate the dolphins - they are not there to perform.

Do not stray too far from the boat or land.

Do not go into the water in large numbers and crowd the dolphins.

Never, Ever chase a dolphin. Let them approach you.

Do not touch a dolphin on the head, especially around the animal's blowhole or in the area around its eyes and ears.


Do not cast lines or leave them set when there are dolphins close by.


Do take care of the environment as well as the dolphins. Remove all rubbish to appropriate disposal sites.

Do not collect or buy plants taken from the wild, coral-or other wildlife souvenirs.

Do treat local people ivith respect, especially when visiting dolphins in the majority world. Facilities may be basic and things will almost certainly not happen how, or when you expect them to. Remember that if dolphin-watching is a positive evperiencefor the local community, this is the best protection the dolphins can have. Be tolerant.

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