Whale and Dolphin Watching Guidelines

The waters of Greece still harbour a remarkable diversity of cetaceans compared to other parts of the Mediterranean. While today’s abundance of whales and dolphins is likely only a fragment of what it was a century ago, important populations still live and reproduce in the Ionian Sea.

In recent years, the number of recreational boaters sailing across the beautiful waters of this part of the Mediterranean has increased exponentially. This increase in boat traffic and the potential disturbance it generates pose a threat to cetacean populations causing unnecessary stress by disrupting their natural behaviours. Such threats can be minimised by applying a basic code of conduct when coming across whales and dolphins.

Please, BE CETACEAN SMART and demonstrate your support for whale and dolphin conservation.

Stay back 100 metres from cetaceans

Move away cautiously if the animals show signs of disturbance (sudden change in behaviour)

Always put your engine in neutral when cetaceans are near

Refrain from feeding, touching, or swimming with wild dolphins or whales

Teach others to be CETACEAN SMART

Dolphin & Whale Watching Guidelines by ACCOBAMS infographic

Guidelines by ACCOBAMS

Additional considerations

Do not approach closer than 100m to any dolphin or whale.

The caution zone for vessels is the area within 300m of a cetacean. No more than three vessels should stay within the caution zone at any one time and vessels should move cautiously at no wake speeds within this zone.

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.

Watch out for offspring presence! Avoid disturbance to mothers and their calves.

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

Whales and dolphins 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.