Dolphin and whale watching – usually consisting of boat trips to see a range of marine life – makes an important contribution to numerous economies and it’s an industrial sector taking off in many other countries.

The income that it brings represents an economic opportunity for many communities around the world. However, the rapid increase of whale watching organisations and the size of used vessels are known to affect the behaviour of cetaceans, migratory patterns and breathing cycles.

Our standard helps operators assess threats, promote best practices and support a responsible and sustainable industry.

The Standard

Friend of the Sea Dolphin and Whale Watching standard seeks to minimise unintentional disturbance through key principles of conduct.

Friend of the Sea criteria for Sustainable Dolphin and Whale Watching require:

  • maximum number of vessels in Watching Zone;
  • approach distance;
  • training programmes for operators and crew;
  • scientific data collection;
  • no swim with;
  • no mono-use plastic onboard.

Your opinion matters! 

Did you take part in a dolphin and whale watching tour with one of our certified operators? Give us your opinion! Write to and share with us on Facebook and Instagram photo and video of the tour by tagging #friendofthesea


Would you like to receive a quotation for Friend of the Sea audit and royalties to use our logo?
Please fill out the online Preliminary Information Form (PIF) and send back to :

  • All the information will be kept strictly confidential and implies NO commitment on your company’s part.
  • The Friend of the Sea certification is voluntary and NOT mandatory to gain access to markets.
  • The application process is NOT discriminatory on size, scale, management and minimum number of operators.
  • Friend of the Sea is a NGO and it strives to make participation in the audits affordable for all companies.