How You Should Responsibly Whale Watch
Pacific Whale Watching Association Guidelines
We strongly recommend that all vessels traversing the Salish Sea and beyond read and abide by the PWWA Guidelines.
Whale Protection Safe Viewing Zones
Maintain a 200 yard radius around any orca whale as a “No-Go” zone, in which no vessel may approach.
Go-Slow Quiet Zone
Recommended 880 yard (1/2 mile) radius around any orca whale as a “Go Slow” Quiet Zone, in which no vessel may exceed 7 knots.
Whale Watching Tips and Guidance
Stay 200 Yards Away
Avoid approaching closer than 200 yards to any whale. Keep an eye out for whale warning flags and actively communicate via radio with professional whale watching vessels on location or in the surrounding area.
Whale Warning Flag
When whales have been spotted, professional whale watching vessels will fly the whale watching warning flag.
Allow the whales to pass if your vessel is unexpectedly within 100 yards.
Make sure you reduce speed to less than seven knots when within 880 yards of the nearest whale. Avoid abrupt course changes.
Stay away of the whales’ path and avoid positioning within the 880 yard area in the path of the whales.
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 depature.
Stay on the Offshore Side
When the whales are traveling close to shore, stay on the offshore side. Remain at least 200 yards offshore at all times.
Limit Viewing Time
The recommened viewing time for whales is a maximum of 30 minutes.
Do Not Swim
Do not swim with or feed the whales.