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Watching Whales, Dolphins and Seals in the Northeast

Marine mammal viewing guidelines are intended to keep animals and people safe, and help viewers avoid accidentally violating the Marine Mammal Protection Act & Endangered Species Act. Specific guidelines and regulations vary by region. Please see the requirements below for Greater Atlantic protection measures.

It is illegal to approach North Atlantic right whales closer than 500 yards (1500 feet).

Never approach other whales closer than 100 feet. 

Never approach seals closer than 50 yards (150 feet).

Never interrupt natural behaviors of marine mammals.

Never feed or attempt to feed marine mammals.

Click on the tabs above for more information on specific viewing guidelines by species.


Responsible Viewing Programs

To find a responsible whale watching tour, or to join a growing number of whale watches committed to protecting whales visit 

For additional guidelines for recreationally viewing whales, visit

Featured Responsible Whale Watching Videos