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Humpback Whale Breaching

Responsible Reef Practices - Tip #5 'Whales and Dolphins' 3:29pm, Wed 06 Dec 2017

Cumberland Charter Yachts are dedicated to Eco-tourism, and have been a certified Eco-tourism operator since 2015, promoting sustainable travel that benefits local communities, culture and heritage to minimise impacts on the environment. We believe it is our responsibility to educate all our charter guests on environmental sustainability.

On your charter, you'll enjoy the many different activities and experiences the Great Barrier Reef and Whitsunday islands offer and it's important to enjoy them in a responsible and environmentally 'reef friendly' way. Cumberland Charter Yachts have written our own Responsible Reef Practice's guide with a copy provided on each charter yacht. Here we'll share with you the many ways that you can help us keep the Great Barrier Reef and Whitsundays pristine for years to come and enjoy your charter holiday in a sustainable way.

Read about Responsible Reef Practices Tip #1 - Anchoring and Mooring
Read about Responsible Reef Practices Tip #2 - Diving and Snorkelling
Read about Responsible Reef Practices Tip #3 - Waste (including sewage) and Litter
Read about Responsible Reef Practices Tip #4 - Around Turtles

Around Whales and Dolphins



Few wildlife experiences could compare to the sight of a massive whale majestically rising out of the water and flopping backwards, or a pod of dolphins playfully showing off their acrobatic skills. By following these responsible practices when you're in the vicinity of whales and dolphins, you're not only playing a big part in their conservation but you're also providing a safe environment to watch them.

Report sick, injured, stranded or dead whales or dolphins and report if your vessel accidentally strikes a whale.

When Boating Around Whales


  • Be alert and watch out for whales at all times, particularly during whale migration season (May to September)
  • Post a look out to keep an eye out for whales if they are suspected in the vicinity
  • Do not approach or disturb mothers and calves - never place a boat between them
  • Always move in a parallel direction to the whale or dolphin
  • Do not use engine sound or speed to attempt to influence the behaviour of a whale
  • When you're leaving an area where whales were present, turn the motor on, post a look out, and move off    
         slowly
  • Slow down to minimise the risk of collision where whales have been sighted
  • Report any boat strikes and reassure your passengers that the relevant authorities have been contacted to
         assist the whale


  • When Boating Around Dolphins


  • Do not intentionally drive through a pod of dolphins to try to get them to
         bow-ride - some dolphins don't bow ride and can become disturbed near boats
  • If you do come across dolphins bow riding, maintain a constant speed and direction.


  • When Viewing Whales and Dolphins


  • Never try to overtake whales or dolphins
  • Avoid making sudden noise, speed or direction changes
  • Be quiet when you are near a whale or dolphin
  • Let the whale or dolphin control the situation - do not try to round up or herd
  • Move away immediately if the whales or dolphins suddenly change behaviour and appear agitated.

  • Behaviours that indicate that boats should move away include:
  • Bumping the vessel
  • Rapid changes in swimming direction or speed
  • Erratic behaviour
  • Escape behaviour such as prolonged deep dives
  • Tail slapping or swishing


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