Gulf Shores & Orange Beach

Save the Dolphins

Dolphin SMART Teaches about Dolphin Viewing Etiquette & Negative Effects of Human Contact with Wild Dolphins

Dolphin SMART is an educational program that encourages responsible viewing of wild dolphins. Created in Key West, Florida, the program seeks to minimize the risk of disrupting dolphin’s natural behaviors. Local organizations have partnered to encourage the proper management and stewardship of these vital natural resources and our underwater neighbors through the Nature Tourism Initiative.

Human Contact with Wild Dolphins

Dolphin SMART encourages dolphin watching from a safe distance. While many people want to swim with our water-loving friends, it’s important to realize that only trained dolphins can be safely handled. Contact with wild dolphins can be a traumatic experience for the dolphins and is not recommended.

Do You Have Dolphin Etiquette?

The acronym "SMART" is a reminder of the basic principles of dolphin viewing etiquette:

  • Stay at least 50 yards from dolphins
  • Move away slowly if the dolphins show signs of disturbance
  • Always put your vessel engine in neutral when dolphins are near
  • Refrain from feeding, touching or swimming with wild dolphins
  • Teach others to be Dolphin SMART

How to Become Dolphin SMART?

In order to become Dolphin SMART, businesses complete a rigorous training program and onsite evaluation. Recognized businesses are then permitted to display the Dolphin SMART flag or decals on their vessel. Charters are evaluated yearly to ensure they are continuing to meet program standards.

For more information, visit the Dolphin SMART program page or call the local program coordinator at 727-824-5327.

The Nature Tourism Initiative is funded by Auburn University Marine Extension and Research Center, Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Extension and the Alabama Gulf Coast Convention and Visitors Bureau. For more information on this program, call 251-974-4634.

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