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dolphin smart

Key West's Safari Charters became the first business recognized under a new program seeking to reduce the impact of tourism on wild dolphins. The Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary staff, NOAA Fisheries Service, and local partners developed Dolphin SMART after tour operators approached the Sanctuary Advisory Council with concerns that increases in the number of charters could potentially harass dolphins.

How To Be
Dolphin SMART:

Stay at least 50 yards from dolphins

Move away cautiously if dolphins show signs of disturbance

Always put your engine in neutral when dolphins are near

Refrain from swimming-with, touching, or feeding wild dolphins

Teach others to be Dolphin SMART

To participate, charter operators must meet criteria that promote responsible viewing and prevent harassment of wild dolphins. A particular focus is to eliminate customer expectations of swimming with, feeding or touching dolphins. Other criteria address safe vessel operations around dolphins.

Upon acceptance into the program, Dolphin SMART charters receive flags and stickers and permission to use the program's logo in their advertising. Each year, participants receive a "secret shopper" visit to ensure they are continuing to meet program standards. By looking for the current year on flags and logos and checking the updated participant list, visitors to the Florida Keys seeking the thrill of seeing dolphins in the wild can ensure the tour operator they select is Dolphin SMART. Click here for the Dolphin SMART program.

dolphin smart

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Revised September 12, 2023 by Sanctuaries Web Team | Contact Us | Web Site Owner: National Ocean Service
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