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“Watch Out, Whales About”

National Dolphin and Whale Watching Guidelines

Dolphins and whales are protected under the Australian Government’s Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act 1999. see more information

Sea of whale tails

Sea of whale tails

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National Dolphin and Whale Watching Guidelines

Dolphins and whales are protected under the Australian Government’s. Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act 1999.

When travelling on a vessel, do not approach closer than 100m to any whale or 50m to any dolphin. The caution zone for vessels is 300m to a whale and 150m to a dolphin. No more than three vessels are permitted within the caution zone at any one time and vessels should operate at no wake speeds within this zone.

 It is suggested to approach whales and dolphins from parallel to and slightly to the rear - not from directly behind or head-on.

• When leaving whales or dolphins, move off at a slow (no wake) speed to the outer limit of the caution zone (300m) from the closest animal before gradually increasing speed.

• Keep a lookout for and avoid disturbance to mothers or cows with calves. Cow/calf pairs will be close together and the calves are sometimes difficult to see.

Note; Minimum approach distance to a cow/calf pair in NSW State waters is 300 metres.

• If there is a sudden change in whale or dolphin behaviour, move away immediately at a slow steady pace.

• Whales and dolphins sometimes form social groupings and may approach your vessel - if this happens place the engine in neutral and let the animal(s) come to you; or slow down and continue on course; or steer a straight course away from them.

Bow Riding
• Do not deliberately encourage bow riding.
• When animals are bow riding - do not change course or speed suddenly.
• If there is a need to stop - reduce speed gradually.
For more information, www.environment.gov.au