Alcaidesa Marina

How to behave with your boat if you spot dolphins or whales when out sailing and wish to observe them

12 July 2018 - News - Alcaidesa Marina

As part of our commitment to environmental protection and environmental education, Alcaidesa Marina would like to notify you about a code of environmental conduct so that you know how to behave with your boat if you spot dolphins or whales when out sailing and wish to observe them.

Spanish Royal Decree 1727/2007 sets out how sailors should behave if they want to observe dolphins or whales in the so-called mobile cetacean protection zone.

If you spot dolphins or whales while out sailing and you would like to approach them, please obey the following rules:

  • Reduce your speed to below 4 knots and keep it constant. Approach them in parallel. NEVER approach from behind or front-on.  DO NOT FOLLOW THEM.
  • Keep a minimum distance of 60 metres. Anything less than this distance is a so-called exclusion zone, so it is forbidden to approach a cetacean (dolphin or whale). Once beside the animals, turn off your engine.
  • Between 60 and 300 metres from the animals is the so-called restricted observation zone, and only two boats may be there at the same time. You may only stay in this zone for a maximum of 20 minutes. After this time, you should move away at no wake speed and in constant coordination with other boats which may have been watching the animals or are waiting to enter the zone.
  • If dolphins or whales approach your boat, they will most definitely be using you as an easy means of transport, because the pressure created by your bow pushes them forward. In this case, reduce your speed and keep your course constant. Turn off your engine if possible.

Dolphins and whales may suffer cuts from the propeller and stress from engine noise. What's more, the bay is a breeding area for the common dolphin, so please take extra precaution.

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