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The National Marine Fisheries Service is the federal agency responsible for protecting marine mammals under the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 and the Endangered Species Act of 1973. In order to protect the whales from harassment and to promote a better understanding of the need to avoid harassment, the following are guidelines for safe, non-disruptive whale watching.

  1. Vessels should not be operated at speeds faster than a whale or group of whales while paralleling them within 100 yards.

  2. Vessels should be operated at a constant speed while paralleling or following whales within 100 yards.

  3. Vessels should do nothing to cause the whale to change directions.

  4. Aircraft should not fly lower than 1,000 feet while within a horizontal distance of 100 yards from a whale.

In general, the normal behavior should not be interrupted. To interrupt whales' normal activities constitutes harassment and is against the law.

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