United States Regulations | Canadian Regulations

United States Regulations

In 2011, NOAA Fisheries Service adopted new regulations under the Marine Mammal Protection Act and Endangered Species Act to protect all killer whales in inland waters of Washington. Be Whale Wise. It’s easy as 1, 2, 3…

  1. The ONE place not to be is in the path of whales. Don’t position your vessel in the path of oncoming whales within 400 yards of a whale.
  2. Stay at least TWO hundred yards away from any killer whale (200 yards = the distance of two football fields or about 200 meters).
  3. Remember these THREE ways to Be Whale Wise: follow the guidelines for viewing all wildlife, check for local protected areas and restrictions, and always be safe.

Follow the law, it's as easy as 1, 2, 3...

Download the Be Whale Wise Regulations Poster

Download the Be Whale Wise Regulations Brochure

Killer Whale

In 2018, the Governor Inslee of Washington State signed an executive order establishing an Orca Recovery Task Force. This Task Force was made up of representatives from governmental agencies, tribes, non-profits, commercial whale watchers, fishermen, and other stake holders. The goal was to come up with short term goals to protect the Southern Residents within a year, and establish long term goals to help recover this declining population.

Throughout the year the Task Force meet with scientists, managers, and the public to come up with recommendations to be sent to the Governor. In December of 2018, these recommendations we approved by the Governor and sent into the State Legislator for deliberation and action. As of now there are no new laws of regulations, but by the end of the legislative session in April expect there to be many changes to vessel guidelines. We will update you with all you need to know as soon as this happens.

Some of the vessel recommendations sent onto the legislator include:

  1. Expanding the viewing limit to 400 and 800 yards of whales.
  2. Establishing a “Slow Zone” within a half mile of whales where vessel must be under 7 knots.
  3. Creating vessel “No Go Zones” throughout the inland waters to protect critical habitat and foraging grounds.
  4. Suspend all whale watching for 3-5 years to help the whales recovery.

To learn more, visit https://www.governor.wa.gov/issues/issues/energy-environment/southern-resident-orca-recovery and check back here soon.

Canadian Regulations

The Marine Education & Research Society (MERS) of Canada has created a similar campaign to Be Whale Whales, called See A Blow? Go Slow! This reminds you that when you’re out on the water and you see a blow from a marine mammal, you should slow down and stay extra vigilant to see what direction the animals are traveling and how you can best position your vessel to maintain a safe distance from the whales and still enjoy the view. To find out more, visit