Manta rays are cartilaginous fish and are related to sharks. They have existed for around 5 million years and they’re totally harmless, being without teeth and poisonous spines.

The origin of their name is related to a legend. It says that centuries ago Spanish fishermen were frightened by a huge fish whose aspect resembled a large cloak (manta in Spanish). They feared that if they fell into the sea, the creature would wrap them up and drown them.

Swimming with manta rays have increased significantly, and wrong behaviour can stress and be negative for these enchanting marine animals.

For this reason, we have created rules of conduct that aim to protect manta rays. The standard is applicable to all tour operators who want to do responsible tourism and protect manta rays.

Many manta rays swimming together in the ocean

The Standard

Friend of the Sea Sustainable Manta Ray Watching standard seeks to minimise unintentional disturbance through key principles of conduct.

Friend of the Sea criteria for Sustainable Manta Ray Watching require:

  • don’t touch manta rays;
  • minimum distance from manta rays;
  • how to swim with manta rays;
  • training programmes for operators and crew;
  • scientific data collection;
  • no single-use plastic onboard.


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Please fill out the online Preliminary Information Form (PIF) and send back to


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