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 can affect negatively the behaviour of cetaceans and their migratory patterns.

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 your photos and videos with us on Facebook and Instagram by tagging #friendofthesea

Find a sustainable operator 

Are you looking for a Friend of the Sea sustainable operator? Find here the list!

Find a sustainable scientific group 

Friend of the Sea collaborates with remarkable scientific research groups. Do you want to know more? Have a look below!

The “Associazione Me.Ri.S. Mediterraneo Ricerca e Sviluppo” is a no-profit organisation for the protection of marine mammals and their environment. It is engaged in research activities in the Sicily Channel (Mediterranean Sea), carrying out studies aimed at protecting cetaceans and at quantifying and reducing anthropogenic impacts. It promotes educational activities and scientific training through research expeditions, training courses, internships and university theses. 

Dr. Jessica Alessi, Founder and Director: “The collaboration with Friend of the Sea is an added value for the activities carried out by Me.Ri.S., together we have created a certification specifically thought for the Scientific Research on cetaceans, conducted in a responsible and sustainable way. We at Me.Ri.S., believe that the well-being of dolphins comes first, with the sustainability standard of FOS we can prove it to the participants to our activities.


Worldrise is an ONLUS created by young people for young people. It develops projects to conserve and safeguard the marine environment, which are based on awareness-raising, creativity and education.

Friend of the Sea collaborates with Worldrise in the project “The Gulf of Dolphins”, which promotes the spread of sustainable tourism culture in Golfo Aranci (Sardinia), through training, education and divulgation activities.

Mariasole Bianco, Founder and Director of Worldrise: “The collaboration with FOS represents the added value of this project. Together we have created a certification for responsible and sustainable dolphin sighting and the possibility for hundreds of tourists to make the best choice by identifying operators that guarantee quality, education and respect for the environment and its resources.”


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.