Anna Maria Island – Atlantic Bottle Nose Dolphins may be one of our nicest finned friends, but they are still wild animals protected under law by the Marina Mammal Protection Act. Here are some do’s and don’ts for interacting with them.
Stay at least 50 yards away from dolphins when viewing from a vessel or watercraft.
Limit time spent observing marine mammals to 30 minutes or less.
Avoid making loud or sudden noises near these aquatic mammals.
Move away slowly if a dolphin’s behavior indicates the animal is stressed or disturbed.
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Put your vessel’s engine in neutral if in the close vicinity of dolphins.
Pursue, swim with, pet or touch wild dolphins, even if they approach you.
Encircle or entrap dolphins with vessels.
Operate or maneuver vessels in a manner that may cause dolphins to change their current behaviors. Specifically, do not direct a vessel or accelerate toward dolphins with the intent of creating a wake.
Separate mother and calf pairs.
Drive watercraft through or over groups of dolphins.
If you see a dolphin in distress call Mote Marine’s Stranding Investigations Program at 941-988-0212.