New York’s ocean waters are home to various kinds of marine life, including large whales and dolphins.
Whales and dolphins are protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act, and boaters must remain at a distance from marine life for everyone’s safety.
Boaters must remain 50 yards from dolphins and porpoises; 100 yards from all whales (except North Atlantic right whales, see below); and 500 yards from North Atlantic right whales.
If a marine mammal approaches you, remember to idle your engine and not re-engage power until the whale has cleared your path. Attempting to leave the area may interrupt natural behaviors such as feeding, nursing, resting, and traveling, or could result in a vessel strike causing harm to the whale and/or boat.
Report all sightings of marine mammals or sea turtles to DEC by using the Flipper Files digital survey. If you suspect a marine mammal or sea turtle is sick or injured, call the New York Stranding Hotline at (631) 369-9829 to report the animal.
Learn more about the different types of Marine Mammals in New York and for more information on marine wildlife viewing safety visit NOAA’s Marine Life Viewing Guidelines.
Photo of blue whale courtesy DEC.
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