Sea turtles are among the cutest animals populating our seas. It doesn’t come as a surprise that both divers and snorkelers are always very happy to spot them and swim with them.

These reptiles (like crocodiles and snakes) have existed for over 150 million years. That’s long enough to have seen the rise and demise of dinosaurs.

As you’ve probably already guessed, sea turtles have adapted their bodies to live in the oceans. In fact, they spend about 96% of their lives at sea. There are seven species of sea turtle:

  • Leatherback sea turtle (Dermochelys coriacea)
  • Loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta)
  • Green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas)
  • Hawksbill sea turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata)
  • Olive Ridley sea turtle (Lepidochelys olivacea)
  • Flatback sea turtle (Natator depressus)
  • Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle (Lepidochelys kempii)​
baby sea turtles fos certification big

We can interact with sea turtle by swimming, by watching females laying their eggs at the beach or when they born, and being observers we must respect them.

For this reason, in collaboration with Kristina Loosen from Olive Ridley Project and Brad Nahill from SEE Turtles, we have created rules of conduct that aim to protect sea turtles. The standard is applicable to all tour operators who want to do responsible tourism and protect sea turtles.

The Standard

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

Friend of the Sea criteria for Sustainable Sea Turtle Watching require:

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

Apply for Sea turtle watching operator certification

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 from your company.
  • 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.
  • Please, contact us for more information on Government funding which might be available in your Country for sustainability certifications: