Dolphin watching tours are a great alternative to viewing these majestic creatures under inhumane conditions in dolphinariums and marine parks. When responsibly handled, dolphin eco-tours could serve as catalysts in inspiring people to love, cherish, and protect wild dolphins.
The benefits of responsible marine life ecotourism extend from having a better appreciation of ocean life to supporting local economies where a dolphin sightseeing tour is more appreciated than hunting or keeping dolphins in captivity. Plus, keeping a distance allows us to be safer and less intrusive when viewing these animals in their natural habitat.
How Do Dolphins Interact With Their Environment?
The ocean is a wild environment rich with life. Being mere visitors, we must respect those who live in it. While it’s obvious that people watch wildlife during dolphin watching tours, it’s also a fact that these creatures also watch people.
Are dolphins friendly? — Although it may seem like a heartwarming moment when we make eye contact with dolphins during a close interaction, keep in mind that dolphins are still wild animals.
Dolphins play a significant role in maintaining balance in their environment. While they eat other animals like fish and squid, they, too, become a source of food for some sharks and other marine creatures. Without dolphins, their prey would increase in number. This causes a disruption in the food chain and ecosystem balance.
Due to illegal fishing methods, dolphins have fewer fish to eat. In some cases, they also get accidentally caught in fishing gear, causing deaths to more than 300,000 dolphins, whales, and porpoises annually.
Choosing to protect dolphins by keeping a safe distance or reporting any harmful acts towards them allows us to look after our oceans, keep wildlife safe, and inspire billions of people who depend on the sea to value marine life.
How to Have a Responsible Dolphin Watching Tour?
It is crucial to find a responsible tour operator who applies responsible ecotourism to mitigate harmful impacts on dolphins and whales. In return, this allows you to have the best encounter with the animals. Below are some tips to stay safe while having the best wildlife encounters on a dolphin sightseeing tour:
1. Find a responsible tour operator for your trip.
Before anything else, you should ask every operator if they abide by local and federal guidelines. Doing so prevents unwanted disruptions towards sensitive species. A tour should never guarantee or promote any physical contact with dolphins. Otherwise, this translates into harassment and may also cause unforeseen risks on the part of the tourist’s safety.
2. Have an expert tour guide aboard.
Do your research and see if an expert guide will also be on board. Look for a tour operator who has an in-depth understanding of the wild nature of the creatures and who would stress how human presence should not alter that. They should also possess a good background and scientific knowledge of the species as well as their respective behaviors.
3. Follow safety rules.
Choose a tour that focuses on education instead of sensation. A responsible company will have a detailed guide on their website, along with their reviews and length of experience. They should also have a dolphin watching policy for the entire span of their tour.
A responsible dolphin watching tour operator provides rules of conduct when it comes to encountering wild dolphins. As part of this tour, you should live by these rules and avoid close contact with these wild animals to prevent unwanted interference.
4. Avoid any form of interaction.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration strictly prohibits any attempt to interact with dolphins, whales, and other ocean life. This includes swimming with, pursuing, overcrowding, and feeding dolphins. Given that dolphins have sensitive skin, you should also avoid touching them. To remain safe while onboard, it’s best to simply watch them from where you stand.
5. Keep it natural.
It’s important not to force any interaction and let the dolphins have their own space. They are more likely to approach out of their own curiosity and when they are at ease.
Make sure that you allow the dolphin to control the length and direction of the encounter. Remember that you are a visitor to their territory, so maintain a quiet observation in their habitat and avoid harassing or chasing them.
Pay attention to any signs of distress; if you think the animal has started to become frustrated or disturbed, leave the area slowly.
Choose Sunshine Scenic Tours for a Responsible Dolphin Sightseeing Experience
A responsible operator guarantees a smooth-sailing and exciting trip.
At Sunshine Scenic Tours, we have the best operators to make your dolphin watching tour a safe and memorable trip with the friendly creatures of the sea. Our dolphin cruise in St. Pete Beach, FL, guarantees a fun-filled adventure that promotes a safe and responsible tour with your loved ones. To avail of our most affordable tour packages, contact us today!