Sunshine and zodiac tours watching transient Orcas - what a perfect start to this Sunday!
Pacific Whale Watch Association Guidelines for Responsible Whale Watching
- Be Cautious and Courteous: Approach areas of known or suspected marine mammal activity with extreme caution. Look in all directions before planning your approach or departure. If a vessel operator is unaware of the whales' location he must maintain a vigilant watch for whales at all times. Mere observation of whale watching vessels in the distance does not fulfill this responsibility as individual whales may be encountered anywhere and at any time. Maintaining a vigilant watch often includes significant speed reductions.
- Slow Down: Reduce speed to less than 7 knots when within 400 metres/yards of the nearest whale. Avoid abrupt course changes.
- A vessel approaching the vicinity of whales - within ½ mile (880 yards) of a whale - is considered to be in the slow-down zone and must gradually reduce speed such that vessel speed is no more than 7 knots. This speed transition shall also be observed when disengaging the vicinity of whales.
- Avoid Approaching Closer Than 100 metres/yards to Any Whale. As the vessel approaches, the distribution of whales and the positioning of other viewing vessels should be assessed. Communication with other member vessels is strongly encouraged at this point (on the designated marine radio frequency or cell phone).
- If your vessel is unexpectedly within 100 metres/yards of a whale, disengage engines Immediately and allow the whales to pass.
- Avoid approaching whales from the front or from behind. Always approach and depart whales from the side, moving in a direction parallel to the direction of the whales. A vessel approaching the vicinity of whales from ahead must apply the Stop & Wait Viewing Sequence once inside ½ mile (880 yards) of the nearest whale or within ¼ mile (440 yards) of a vessel maintaining its priority sequence and waiting for the whales to arrive.
- A vessel approaching the vicinity of whales from behind or the side must apply the Parallel Viewing Sequence once inside ½ mile (880 yards) of the nearest whale or within ¼ mile (440 yards) of a vessel maintaining its priority paralleling sequence. A vessel may disengage the area to reposition at any time. (See Parallel Viewing Sequence). A vessel shall not approach a resting whale from behind, leaving a minimum clearance of 1/8th mile (220 yards).
- Keep Clear of the whales' path. Avoid positioning your vessel within the 400 metre/yard area in the path of the whales. If engaging in Stop and Wait sequence, do so at least 400 metre/yards ahead of the whales.
- When whales are moving in a predictable direction, do not park or maneuver between the whales and the nearest shoreline (if they are within 1 mile of a shoreline).
- Resting Whales: A vessel in the vicinity of a resting whale shall always employ the Parallel Viewing Sequence. The Stop & Wait Viewing Sequence shall not be utilized at anytime when whales are resting in the vicinity, unless the vessel is maneuvered in such a manner that the nearest whale passes the vessel a minimum of 100 metres
- Whenever a vessel is upwind of and in the vicinity of a whale, engine exhaust emissions are to be minimized, either by shutting down one or more main and auxiliary engines.
- All sonar, depth sounders, fish finders and other underwater transducers should be shut off whenever a vessel is in the vicinity of whales. Ongoing acoustical research is inconclusive, however sound reduction measures are addressed as a precaution to insure optimum acoustic environment.