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News and events

Dolphin Distances

Protect our dolphins by maintaining safe distances while Dolphin Watching

A boat stopped to take photos of a dolphin in the river. Photo by Sue Harper

Whilst we love when dolphins pop up and surprise us with a close encounter, WA state government legislation is very clear about maintaining safe distances from dolphins. These include:

❌NEVER pursue, chase or follow dolphins regardless of the type of vessel you are on (this applies for boats, kayaks, paddleboards etc).
🐬Enjoy watching dolphins from a distance – you must maintain a distance of 100m if you’re on a vessel, or 50m if you are swimming in the water.
🛶If a dolphin surfaces near you or approaches your vessel, put your engine in neutral or stop paddling and when safe to do so, slowly move away from the dolphin until there’s a 100m gap.
🚤If a dolphin bow rides, do not change your course or speed suddenly. Instead, reduce your speed gradually and move away from the dolphins when safe to do so.
🐟❌Never attempt to feed or try to lure dolphins with food. It is illegal and harmful.

A paddleboarder stopping to enjoy the surprise visit by a resident dolphin. Photo by Sue Harper

Please remember that chasing, pursuing and/or circling dolphins to force an interaction is detrimental to the dolphin’s health. You may be disrupting their foraging which can result in a failed feeding attempt, and they will need to spend time and energy searching for food elsewhere. You could also be disrupting an important lesson- we have 6 calves in the Riverpark, all of which depend on mum to teach them important life skills.

Please never offer dolphins food. Feeding dolphins is illegal under the Biodiversity Conservation Regulations (2018) and has harmful effects on dolphin’s health. Feeding dolphins can result in disease, higher mortality, decrease reproductive success and increases the risk of boat strikes and fishing line entanglements. If you see an injured or entangled dolphin, please call WILDCARE Helpline immediately on 9474 9055.