Skip to Main Content

Protect our Marine Mammals



Recreational boaters are reminded to stay at least 400 meters away (equal to about four football fields) from the endangered Southern Resident Killer Whales, among other measures to ensure their survival.

Additional whale safety regulations:

  • Stay 200m away from all killer whales, except when in southern BC coastal waters between Campbell River and just north of Ucluelet (orange areas).
  • Stay 200m away from all whales, dolphins and porpoises when in resting position or with a calf
  • Stay 100m away from all other whales, dolphins and porpoises

Voluntary measures:

  • Voluntary fishing avoidance zone: Stop fishing (do not haul gear) within 1000m of killer whales
  • Reduce speed to less than 7 knots when within 1000m of the nearest marine mammal
  • Turn off echo sounders and fish finders when safe to do so and not in use
  • Place engine in neutral idle and allow animals to pass if your vessel is not in compliance with the approach distance regulations

The latest federal regulations may be viewed here. A summary is here.


Fortunately, the number of Humpback Whales off our coast has increased. However, the size and unpredictability of large whales like Humpbacks significantly increases the risk of collision and injury to both whales and boaters. Humpbacks also have entanglement risks.

Key Points for whale and boater safety from “See a Blow? Go Slow!” campaign:

  • Always be on the lookout for blows and other indicators of whale presence such as aggregations of birds (meaning more feed available and thereby an enhanced chance of whale presence).
  • Watch for vessels flying the "Whale Warning Flag" signalling that whales are near.
  • Slow down. Speed should not be more than 7 knots when within 200 to 400 meters of the whale(s). 
  • Give the whale(s) space. Do not approach large whales within 200 metres.
  • If whales surface within 200 metres of your vessel, place engine in neutral (or shut off the engine) until  whales are beyond 200  meters.
  • If kayaking, raft up. 
  • The law requires reporting any collision or other incident, such as entanglement or disturbance to:  DFO Incident Reporting Line at 1-800-465-4336
    (if out of cell range, report to Coast Guard on VHF 16).
  • For the safety of yourself and the whale, DO NOT attempt to disentangle the whale
  • For further detail, please see How to Save a Whale”.