- View from a distance. Use binoculars or your camera’s zoom for a close up.
- Do no disturb sea turtles or monk seals sleeping on the beach.
- Never touch, chase, or feed. Animals are wild, unpredictable, and protected.
- Limit viewing time to a few minutes.
- Never swim with spinner dolphins—they rest and nurture their young during the day.
- View dolphins and whales from a boat or from shore.
- Recommended viewing distance: At least 10 feet (3 meters) away—on land and in water.
Hawaiian Monk Seals
- Recommended viewing distance: At least 50 feet (15 meters) away—on land and in water.
- View mother seals and their pups from at least 150 feet (about 45 meters) away
- Stay behind any signs or barriers.
- Use the "rule of thumb" to determine a safe distance (if no signs or barriers are present)
- Make a "thumbs up" gesture and extend your arm straight in front of you.
- Turn your thumb parallel to the ground in your line of sight of the seal.
- If your thumb covers the entire seal, you are likely far enough away (about 50 feet or 15 meters)
Dolphins and Small Whales
- Recommended viewing distance for all dolphins and small whales: At least 50 yards (45 meters) away.
- Spinner dolphins: Federal law prohibits swimming with, approaching, or remaining within 50 yards of spinner dolphins in Hawai‘i.
- Required viewing distance: At least 100 yards away. Federal law prohibits approach within 100 yards, including by boat, kayak, drone, when swimming, or by any other vessel or means.
If you see a sick, injured, stranded, or dead marine mammal (seals/dolphins/whales) or sea turtle, immediately contact the closest stranding network. In Hawai'i, call the statewide NOAA Marine Wildlife Hotline: 1-888-256-9840.
Report illegal or suspicious activity to 1-800-853-1964, (808) 643-DLNR (3567), or the DLNRTip App. Email detailed photos and videos to RespectWildlife@noaa.gov.