The waters of Greece still harbour a remarkable diversity of cetacean fauna compared to other parts of the Mediterranean. While today’s abundance of dolphins is likely only a fragment of what it was a century ago, important populations still live and reproduce in the Greek seas.
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 by causing unnecessary stress by disrupting their natural behaviors. Such threats can be minimised by applying a basic code of conduct when coming across a group of dolphins or whales. Please, BE DOLPHIN SMART and demonstrate your support for dolphin conservation.
- Stay back 50 metres from dolphins (100m from whales)
- Move away cautiously if dolphins/whales show signs of disturbance (sudden change in behaviour)
- Always put your engine in neutral when dolphins/whales are near
- Refrain from feeding, touching, or swimming with wild dolphins
- Teach others to be DOLPHIN SMART
When in a vessel, do not approach closer than 100m to any whale or 50m to any dolphin.
The caution zone for vessels is the area within 300m of a whale and 150m of a dolphin. 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 mother whales or dolphins and their calves. Mother and calf will be close together and the calves are sometimes difficult to see.
If there is a sudden change in whale or dolphin behaviour, move away immediately at a slow steady pace.
Whales and dolphins sometimes form social groupings and 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.