Boating Atlantic 2020

Watching Whales and other Wildlife in 2019

Please enjoy our wonderful wildlife:

Well-intentioned watchers may unknowingly disturb marine mammals. You can avoid being disruptive or threatening by using binoculars to watch safely and responsibly. If a whale approaches you in the water, we ask that you move away and keep your distance.

While watching marine mammals, you should never:
• feed them
• swim, dive, or interact with them
• move, encircle them, or entice them to move
• change directions quickly or park your boat in their path
• approach them when they’re resting: the whale will look like it’s not moving and will be floating
at the surface or near the surface
• separate a mammal from its group or go between it and a calf
• trap a marine mammal or a group either between a vessel and the shore, or between a vessel and
other vessels
• approach them if there are already several boats present
• approach head on or from behind, as this will cut off their movements
• tag or mark them
• touch, feed, or disturb an animal, even if it comes up to a wharf or the shoreline
• approach using aircraft
• Porpoises and dolphins: If dolphins or porpoises ride the bow wave of your boat, avoid sudden
course changes. Hold course and speed or reduce speed gradually. Do not drive through groups
of porpoises or dolphins.

When you encounter seals:
• reduce boat speed, minimize wake, wash and noise, and then slowly pass without stopping,
(‘wake’ is the disturbed water caused by the motion of a boat’s hull passing through the
water, ‘wash’ is the disturbed water caused by the propeller or jet drive)
• avoid sudden changes of speed or direction
• move away slowly at the first sign of disturbance or agitation. If the animal starts to stare, fidget,
or dive into the water, you are too close

Be cautious and quiet near haul-outs, especially during breeding and pupping seasons (generally
May to September). Pupping season is when seals give birth.

If you see a young seal that seems to be alone and in distress, keep your distance and your pets leashed,
as its mother is probably nearby. Seals normally spend long hours out of the water resting and
shouldn’t be disturbed.

General minimum approach distance of 100 metres from certain species of marine mammals. Vessels
that are in transit are exempt from this requirement.

200-metre minimum approach distance for whale, dolphin and porpoise species with calves or in
resting position in all Canadian fisheries waters.

You can also help track these aquatic animals to ensure their safety by reporting a sighting.

Identify Marine Mammal species here