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Personal watercraft (such as jet skis) must keep a distance of 300 metres from any marine mammal (whales, dolphins, seals etc) in all coastal waters and are prohibited from launching and must not operate a PWC within the Victor Harbor Restriction Zone during whale season.
Vessels within the Encounter Bay Restricted Area must not get within 300 metres of a whale.
Boats outside the Encounter Bay Restriction Area must keep a distance of 100 metres from a whale and 50 metres from other marine mammals (dolphins, seals etc).
If a whale is showing signs of distress or has a calf, vessels must not get closer than 300 metres.
If a person unexpectedly finds themselves too close to a whale they should either cut their motor or move away from the whale at a slow 'no wake' speed.
For current regulations, please refer to ...
National Parks and Wildlife (Protected Animals— Marine Mammals) Regulations 2010 Act (PDF 370 KB)
Australian National Guidelines for Whale Watching (PDF 842 KB)
For more information on regulations contact the National Parks & Wildlife SA Victor Harbor office 08 8552 3677.
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is reminding the general public to keep a safe distance when observing whales this season.
DENR animal welfare manager, Deborah Kelly, describes whale watching as a popular pastime and offers safety tips on how to best enjoy this special time of year.
To make sure you minimise your impact when watching whales from land, follow the Environmental Code for Whale Watchers:
The long-term consequences of disturbing whales are not yet well understood, but could be significant. Potential problems are:
Southern Right whales have returned to this coast following years of exploitation and appear to be recovering. The protection of calving and winter aggregation areas is critical for the species.
Your assistance in this protection is important, and following these codes and regulations will contribute to the well being of these magnificent whales. Both state and federal laws protect whales, dolphins and porpoises.
Southern Right whales are an endangered species and you may be heavily fined if you breach the laws.
National Parks & Wildlife SA Victor Harbor Office 8552 3677.