Whale watching tours have increased exponentially over the past decade and there is a huge amount of companies operating across the globe. Each one offers a variety of different services, but some are more focused than others on animal welfare and responsible whale watching practices. You may become overwhelmed by the quantity of businesses offering whale watching tours, it is important to choose one who’s top priority is the safety and welfare of the animal.
You must be conscious of your actions and be responsible while on your trip, you are a guest in their world and you should act appropriately, this means handling your vessel safely and not getting too close to the whales. You have come to observe them in their natural habitat so it is vitally important that you do not get to close all for the sake of a photograph or video. Many tourists come regularly take tours to see the whales and the whale watching company should inform them about their responsibilities, they should try not to disturb the animals as this can affect their natural behaviour, if you respect them, you will be able to spend more time with these magnificent creatures.
Whale Watching Regulations
Whale watching regulations are different across the globe depending on where you decide to take a tour, some country’s strict government policies, while others are follow little if any protocol. If you are touring in an area where the application of the law surrounding whale watching is lackadaisical consider hiring a company with their own strict code of conduct. Avoid a tour company who allow customers to harass the animals and are only focused on the business end of the industry.
A lot of irresponsible companies will annoy the whales by coming too close so clients can get pictures, if you feel like their actions are inappropriate you should speak up and let the captain know. Explain to the tour operator than you are aware of safety regulations and you are annoyed by their behaviour. Australia has strict regulations pertaining to whale watching tours, if you go whale watching in Sydney you will have no issues finding a company who believes in safe, responsible whale watching practices.
Acceptable Safety Measures
Before climbing on board your chosen vessel, you should ensure your boat has all the necessary equipment to safely take you out on your whale watching trip. The captain of the boat should be an experienced skipper who has the necessary skills to accommodate a group on a whale watching tour, he should also be complimented by a first-class crew.
The boat should include:
- Experienced captain & crew
- Food & water reserves
- Life jackets
- Emergency flares
- First aid kits
- Safety rafts
These are just a few of the items you should find onboard, the company should also carry out safety checks and a safety briefing session for passenger prior to departure.
There are numerous responsible whale watching companies who can provide you and the family with an experience you will never forget.