Don’t know how to act when sighting cetaceans with your boat? Alcaidesa Marina, continuing its commitment to environmental awareness since its inception and coinciding with the sport fishing season, wants to remind marina users of the importance of behaving appropriately when navigating near cetaceans.
Spanish legislation, included in Decree 1727/2007, outlines how to observe cetaceans in an area called the Mobile Cetacean Protection Zone.
Safe cetacean sighting:
If you spot dolphins while boating and want to approach them, follow these rules:
- Reduce your speed to below 4 knots and maintain a steady speed. Approach them parallelly. NEVER approach from behind or in front. DO NOT CHASE THEM.
- Maintain a minimum distance of 60 meters. Approaching a cetacean (dolphin or whale) within this distance is prohibited and is known as the exclusion zone. Turn off your engine when you reach this distance.
- Between 60 and 300 meters from the animals (restricted staying zone), two boats may be present simultaneously. The maximum time allowed to stay in this zone is 20 minutes. After this time, the boat should gradually move away while coordinating with other boats observing or waiting to enter this area.
- If dolphins approach your boat while you’re sailing, they are likely using it as a means of transportation to travel more efficiently due to the pressure created by your bow pushing them forward. In this case, reduce your speed and maintain a steady course. Turn off your engine if possible.
- Dolphins are susceptible to propeller cuts and stress caused by engine noise. Moreover, the bay is a breeding area for the common dolphin, so you should exercise extra caution.
Additionally, we find it important to share this protocol due to the interactions between orcas and boats that have been occurring in Spanish coasts since 2020.
We also want to introduce the collaboration between Alcaidesa Marina and the project www.orcas.pt.
The project we present, orca.pt, aims to inform sailors about potential locations where orcas can be found, enabling them to avoid more serious accidents.
It is a non-profit project, and to achieve the goal of informing sailors, they have created a website (www.orca.pt) and have a community of sailors, biologists, etc., both national and international, with nearly 1200 members who communicate and share information about orcas along the Portuguese and Spanish coasts. They also provide updated maps of orca locations on the website to assist with navigation.
We invite you to visit the website.