Have a good look but keep your distance
Dolphin watching is a major tourist attraction worldwide, in Mauritius such attraction helps to diversify our tourist product and create business opportunities for the local community. However, it has been noted that the activities are carried out in an unsustainable manner thus tainting the image of our destination as a caring one.
Present practice of dolphin watching cannot be continued. With a view to protecting the dolphins, these guidelines shall be strictly adhered to. Any harassment of the dolphins and breach of these guidelines will entail the suspension, revocation or cancellation of the skipper or pleasure craft licence by the Tourism Authority.
How to approach Dolphins – The Approach Zone
The following operational procedures are intended to avoid harassment and possible injury to dolphins commonly seen by crafts engaged in Dolphin watching. The following guidelines can help protect you and the dolphins you wish to watch:
There shall be an approach zone as follows:
When in sight of dolphins
(a) From 200 mts to 50 mts approach from dolphins
(i) Moving craft shall be kept at no wake speed.
(ii) Avoid sudden changes in speed and direction.
(iii) Craft shall stay on the side of the dolphins and follow a parallel course.
(iv) Intentional noise to attract dolphin shall be prohibited.
(v) Never cross infront of dolphins or drive into or over a pod.
(vi) The engine or any other propeller devise shall be kept in neutral gear during the viewing period.
(b) No Approach Zone: 50 mts from dolphins
• Do not approach within 50 metres of Dolphins.
(c) Departure Procedure
• All crafts shall leave the dolphins following the same speed and distance procedures described above.
• In order for vessels to be clear of dolphins before dark, crafts shall cease dolphin watching an hour before sunset.
Dolphins within 50 metres of the craft
In case a dolphin approaches within 50 metres of your craft, put engines in neutral and do not re-engage propulsion until dolphins are observed clear of harm’s way from your craft.
Any action to solicit or encourage dolphin to bow-ride is prohibited.
In case dolphins choose to bow ride, crafts shall maintain their course or speed.
Never feed dolphins
Do not dispose any rubbish, litter or contaminants at sea.
Operators shall inform their clients about the habitat and behaviours of dolphins and the content of these guidelines.
No skipper shall operate a pleasure craft for dolphin activity unless he has been certified to do so.
No pleasure craft shall be engaged in the dolphin activity without the prior written authorization of the Tourism Authority.
Any reports of and activity that appears to be an intentional or negligent action leading to collision and harassment incident shall be reported to the Tourism Authority on phone number 213 1740 or National Coast Guard Posts.
Ministry of Tourism
(18 May 2006)