Why Can’t We Swim with Dolphins in Hawaii?
Swimming with Dolphins as it was
Hawaii is a world famous travel destination that attracts millions of tourists every year. Ocean and wildlife activities are among the most popular things to do for visitors and locals alike. Dolphin swimming tours remained at the top of the attraction list for many years until recent regulations brought many of these tours to a halt.
NOAA implements Swimming with Dolphin Regulations
As of December 2021, the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration, also known as NOAA, implemented a statewide ban prohibiting anyone from swimming with dolphins within 2 nautical miles of the shore. These regulations are a response to the decline in population that has been recorded for the Hawaiian Spinner Dolphins.
An increased number of dolphin tours began operating in recent years along with an increased number of unregulated shore divers. NOAA became cornered that the amount of close proximity encounters was overwhelming the dolphins and disrupting their sleeping patterns. In an effort to combat the population decline, they decided to enhance protection measures in the designated areas.
With the new rules you must remain at least 50 yards away from all dolphins when you are within 2 nautical miles of the shore.
Dolphin Watching Transition
Many businesses have now transitioned to dolphin watching tours. Upon sighting the dolphins, captains will keep a 50 meter distance between the vessel and the dolphins. They will shift the boat into neutral to reduce the amount of noise and movement in the water. Guests are then invited to view and photograph the dolphins from the boat.
Dolphins and You Solution
Dolphins and You was among the first dolphin swimming tours from the West side of Oahu. We were challenged with adjusting operations that we spent over 3 decades perfecting. Despite our long history as a dolphin swimming tour, we embraced the changes and used it as an opportunity to expand our tour in other directions.
We partnered with a local naturalist to gain a deeper understanding of the wildlife and surrounding environment. We share this with our guests, along with information about sustainability efforts, Hawaiian history, and Hawaiian culture. Enriching the informational aspect of our tour has been appreciated by the guests and fulfilling to us as well.
After spending time with the dolphins, guests are invited to dive into the tropical water to snorkel with turtles and hawaiian reef fish. There are various water toys such as a 20ft water slide, 2 paddle boards, and 2 kayaks. The water safety trained crew is happy to help guests of all ages and experience levels.
Additional features of the tour include a hula performance, E Ho Mai ceremony, and sightseeing as they cruise along the coast.
We appreciate our guests understanding the changes to our tour and for supporting us in the transition. We look forward to continued growth and to sharing this incredible experience with our future guests.