Swimming with dolphins is an exciting and thrilling experience that thousands of people look forward to each year, yet it must always be remembered that these wild creatures must be treated with kindness and consideration.
Jumping into the water loudly may scare them away; therefore, enter quietly and calmly. Remember, you are entering their home, so show respect!
Listen to your guide
Before every swim or dolphin interaction, guests will take part in a briefing led by our Dolphin Expert that covers topics such as dolphin anatomy, social behavior, echolocation and human/dolphin interactions.
At each encounter with dolphins, attempt to follow their lead and adapt your behavior according to what the dolphin suggests through body language and communication. If they move away or attempt to approach, do not pursue or try to close in as this may disrupt normal behaviors and interrupt essential tasks such as feeding, courtship or nursing activities.
Never touch or approach wild dolphins, even if they approach you. Dolphins rarely tolerate human physical contact and any attempt at grasping them could send them fleeing in fear.
Don’t get too close
When swimming with dolphins in California, it’s important to remember they are wild animals and should be treated accordingly. Although they may appear friendly at first glance, their daily survival needs must still be fulfilled and too close could cause them to feel threatened and try to move away from your boat or leave altogether.
Dolphins depend less on sight than sound to communicate; water transmits sounds faster than air does. Therefore, when in their vicinity it is crucial that engines stay at constant speeds instead of abruptly increasing in speed.
Aiming at keeping dolphins calm will ensure a more enjoyable experience for all involved! To avoid getting too close, listen carefully and enter the water calmly as instructed by your guide; touch them only when instructed, avoiding their blowhole, snout and eyes in any way.
Don’t try to pet them
Dolphins are wild animals and do not enjoy physical contact with humans. Unfortunately, there have been multiple instances of people being bitten and pulled underwater during encounters at marine parks or aquariums offering swim-with-dolphin programs. As these animals interact with thousands of visitors daily, this creates an opportunity for accidents to happen.
Instead of trying to pet dolphins directly, consider playing with them and getting their attention in other ways. For example, grabbing their fins and twisting or spinning in the water may do the trick, then when they come near you brushing gently can also be fun!
Dolphins have delicate skin, so avoid wearing sunscreen, oils or perfumes when entering the water to ensure an enjoyable experience for you and the dolphins! Also keep in mind that captive dolphins live unhappy lives that should not be kept there.
Make eye contact
Experience swimming with dolphins (for free!) is truly remarkable, but for dolphins held captive around the world it can be an uncomfortable and unnatural life; many eventually perish early.
If you want to experience swimming with dolphins ethically, make sure you research and find a responsible operator. There are countless operators around the world offering safe and peaceful encounters not just for you but for dolphins as well.
Be mindful that dolphins are wild animals and should never come into physical contact with humans, such as touching or grabbing one directly. Doing this will only serve to scare it off; for an enjoyable interaction between you and dolphins use your imagination by creating sounds underwater or diving to attract their interest – diving, twisting and spiraling all work great methods of getting their attention!