Federal Regulations Prohibit approaching Orca Closer than 200 Yards

Orca Relief urges every boater to follow strictly the Federal Regulations which “prohibit vessels from approaching killer whales within 200 yards (182.9 m) and from parking in the path of whales when in inland waters of Washington State.” (Federal Register 76(72):20870)” In addition, Be Whale Wise guidelines recommend that boaters slow to 7 knots when within 400 yards of any single killer whale; even slower is better.

Please note that these regulations also apply to kayaks, sailboats, and row boats. The Kayak Education Leadership Program (KELP) has developed viewing guidelines specifically for kayakers. The Kayaker’s Code of Conduct provides information on responsible kayaking near whales and other wildlife.


If you see boats that are are not staying farther than 200 yards away from the Orca, or are parking in the path of the whales as they travel, please report the violation to National Marine Fisheries Service directly: online at http://www.bewhalewise.org/or by calling directly the Office for Law Enforcement at 1-800-853-1964 (in Canada, call 1-800-465-4336, Fisheries and Oceans Canada).

Your report to National Marine Fisheries Service can really have an impact. For your report it is essential to give the hull numbers from boat(s) that you have seen harassing the whales. With this information, a warning can been issued against a whale watch company or individual boaters. If you have a camera or a video camera, please document the harassment. It will help the report have even more impact.

Please also let us know about your report at: harassment@orcarelief.org. Thanks.