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Whale Watch regulations
Only vessels licensed by the Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources may whale watch in the National Marine Mammal Sanctuary of the Dominican Republic. Any vessel without a license, found whale watching, will be automatically impounded by the authority of the Dominican Navy.
How you can help!
1. All vessels with permits will have a white flag with the logo of the ministry of the environment and a permit number.
(1 to 43)
This permit number will also appear on the hull of the vessel.
2. Ask to see the permit issued by the Ministry of the Environment that will include the name of the vessel, the owner and it’s number.
3. Be familiar with and ask your captain and tour guide, to comply with the Samana Bay whale Watch regulations.
4. If you need assistance, are not sure about your vessel or want to report a violation of the regulations,
call Peter Sanchez, Sanctuary Director, 1-809-467-3411.
Whale Watch regulations,
Samana Bay, Dominican Republic
1. Only three vessels are allowed to watch any whale or group of whales in the observation area, at one time.
2. Whale watch vessels waiting to watch the same whale or group of whales must remain 250 meters behind the observing vessels in the designated waiting area.
3. If there are vessels in the waiting area, observations will be limited to 30 minutes with a whale or group of whales.
* Vessels in the waiting area, enter the observation area, in order of their arrival.
4. Vessels may approach to within 80 meters (270 feet) of a mother and calf and 50 meters (165 feet) to all other groups of whales.
5. Vessels navigating in the whale watch area should not be travelling at more than thirteen knots.
* The approach speed, from 250 meters, should be less than 3 knots (idle speed).
6. Once the observation distance has been reached the engine should be placed in neutral. It is prohibited to turn a vessels engine off while observing whales.
7. No vessel will allow passengers to enter the water with whales. It is prohibited to swim or dive with whales in Samana.
8. It is prohibited to watch whales from aircraft or helicopters.
* Aircraft must remain at altitudes greater than 1000 meters with a horizontal distance of 1000 meters. It is prohibited to fly directly over any species of whale or dolphin.
* Never cross in front of a whale, this may change its direction of navigation.
* Never stop, accelerate or rev the engine of your vessel brusquely, as the resulting sound may startle whales and change their behavior.
* Always maintain a position slightly behind and parallel to whales moving at the same speed in the same direction.