Hawaii Nautical is Hawaii's first DOLPHIN SMART recognized operator for proper viewing of dolphins, in accordance with federal guidelines that include "Do not swim with wild spinner dolphins." Dolphin Smart is sponsored by NOAA, the National Marine Sanctuaries, the Dolphin Ecology Project and the Whale & Dolphin Conservation Society. They educate guests about dolphin conservation and harassment and advise not to seek activities that pursue close interactions with wild dolphins.
No "Swim with Dolphins"
Looking for "swim with dolphins" in the wild? See them instead in a sustainable, eco-conscious way aboard near Ko Olina catamaran sailing. Federal NOAA guidelines say "Do not swim with wild spinner dolphins." Hawaii's first DOLPHIN SMART recognized operator for proper viewing of dolphins, a program sponsored by NOAA & the National Marine Sanctuaries to educate about dolphin conservation & harassment & advise not to seek activities that pursue close wild dolphin interactions.
There are clear guidelines and research about what's best for marine wildlife. By participating in Hawaii Nautical's eco-conscious activities, you are demonstrating your support for dolphin conservation.
Federal guidelines from NOAA strictly advise "Do not swim with wild spinner dolphins." NOAA states: "When people swim with resting wild spinner dolphins, the dolphins may be drawn out of their resting state to investigate the swimmers. This may be a change in behavior which may constitute "harassment" under the Federal law that protects them and other marine mammals - the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA). Any act of pursuit, torment, or annoyance that has the potential to disrupt a marine mammal's behavior is “harassment" under this Act and is, therefore, AGAINST THE LAW."
Report Wildlife Harassment
Call NOAA's Office of Law Enforcement 24-hour hotline: (800) 853-1964.
Here is more information from NOAA Fisheries' Office of Protected Resources. All text is directly from their web site at http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/education/protectdolphins.htm
"It is against the law to feed or harass wild dolphins. For the dolphins' sake, and for your safety, please DON'T FEED, SWIM WITH, OR HARASS WILD DOLPHINS. We encourage you to observe them from a distance of at least 50 yards.
Dolphins have a reputation for being friendly. However, they are really wild animals who should be treated with caution and respect. Interactions with people change the behavior of dolphins for the worse. They lose their natural wariness which makes them easy targets for vandalism and shark attack.
Dolphins are hunters, not beggars, but when people offer them food, dolphins, like most animals, take the easy way out. They learn to beg for a living, lose their fear of humans, and do dangerous things.
They swim too close to churning boat propellers and can be severely injured. They learn to associate people with food and get entangled with fishing hooks and lines and die. They get sick from eating bait and people food like beer, pretzels, candy and hot dogs.
Dolphin scientists have proof of injuries. Feeding wild dolphin disrupts their social groups which threatens their ability to survive in the wild. Young dolphins do not survive if their mothers compete with them for hand-outs and don't teach them to forage.
Dozens of bites have been reported, and people have been pulled under the water. A woman who fed a pair of dolphins and then jumped in the water to swim with them was bitten. "I literally ripped my left leg out of its mouth," she said during her week stay in the hospital.
Dolphins are not water toys or pets--the "Flipper myth" of a friendly wild dolphin has given us the wrong idea. Flipper was actually a trained, captive dolphin who did not bite the hand that fed him. However, truly wild dolphins will bite when they are angry, frustrated or afraid. When people try to swim with wild dolphins, the dolphins are disturbed. Dolphins who have become career moochers can get pushy, aggressive and threatening when they don't get the hand-out they expect.
Let the wild ones stay wild.
The Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) prohibits the "taking"
of marine mammals. The maximum fine for violating the MMPA is $20,000
and one year in jail.
Protect Dolphins Brochure [pdf] [1.4 MB]
Report to Congress on Results of Feeding Wild Dolphins 1989-1994 [pdf] [4.5 MB]
Interactions Between the Public and Wild Dolphins in the United States: Biological Concerns and the Marine Mammal Protection Act [pdf]
NMFS Reminds Public of the Dangers of Feeding and Harassing Wild Dolphins [pdf] Judge Fines Panama City Boast Company and Operator $4,500 for Illegally Feeding Dolphins
NOAA News Release: Dolphin Feeding and Harassment is Harmful and Illegal, Federal Agency Reminds Public and Boaters
Dolphins and Other Cetaceans
Office of Law Enforcement
How You Can Help
Responsible Wildlife Viewing
Report a Beached Marine Mammal
Report a Stranded Sea Turtle
Report Wildlife Harassment
Call NOAA's Office of Law Enforcement 24-hour hotline: (800) 853-1964
Learn More about Protecting Wildlife