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How to interacting with marine mammals

It is important that you know the rules and regulations to follow when boating in waters with marine mammals. At Akaroa Dolphins we aim to educate people on how to interact with dolphins, whales, and seals.


Dolphins, seals, and whales


  • When approaching a pod of whales or dolphins, avoid the area in front of them, approach from a direction that is parallel or slightly from the side. Do not obstruct their path or cut through any groups.

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A mother & calf Hector's dolphin
A New Zealand fur seal nursery pod
A Humpback whale
  • Within 300 m keep the speed down so there is “no wake”.

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Our Akaroa Dolphins boat keeps the speed down to 5 knots when watching dolphins.
  • What many recreational boats are not aware of is that there is not allowed more than 3 vessels within 300 metres of a pod. It happens regularly in the busy summer seasons that we experience too many boats around a pod. If we happen to see this, you will hear our skipper make a comment over the microphone to politely inform the unaware, before withdrawing from the scene.

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Our skippers on our catamarans 'Akaroa Dolphin'  and 'Into the Blue' keeping within the 3 vessel rule.
  • When heading away from a pod of dolphins, idle slowly, do not exceed 10 knots until more than 300 metres away. 

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An example of Akaroa Dolphins catamaran leaving from a pod of Hector's dolphins.


  • Companies that offer swimming with dolphins (which we don’t) are not allowed to put people in the water if the pod contains juveniles, and never when there are whales or Orca around either. 

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A nursery pod of 6 mothers and 6 calves. This is a prime example of when you would not be allowed to swim with dolphins.


A Department of Conservation poster showing the simple rules on how to interacting with marine mammals


To download simples rules for interacting with marine mammals poster from DOC CLICK HERE!


You can read more about our brand-new catamaran which was purpose-built to view the Hector's dolphins by CLICKING HERE!


And here you can read about our sustainability commitments by CLICKING HERE!



Written by Emma Perrin

Photos by Chalita Aommy Klumjui 


 To learn more you can book on our cruise by CLICKING HERE!

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