About the Dolphin SMART Program

Although we are not officially part of the program or view dolphins from a motor boat but from a kayak when we do get lucky enough for seeing the wildlife, we do practice in part Dolphin SMART style viewing. We do try to keep our distance, not to disturb them when feeding in the creek but being a creek it is challenging sometimes with the narrow waterways of a tidal creek. We do not ever want to chase or approach the dolphins to closely where they may feel uncomfortable, but let them come to you kind of like an unfamiliar dog. This way it is on their terms and comfortability as they pass us or check us out as curiosity. Unfortunately, we have seen signs on dolphins of people who do not practice any responsibility who have scar marks or even missing dorsal fins.

Some outfits use to in old days and tourist who rent boats always would like to see dolphins, especially up close. They would bait them in with fresh fish (fish on old tours, probably decades ago now, where tourist may use what they have for a snack or lunch for them selves on the boat) and then eventually what ever they had on the boat. Processed food is not great for us let alone a dolphin. Also they tend to be fed around the back side of the boat since the lowest part of the boat wall to the water but also brings the dolphin close to the motors. Even when I, Mark, sometimes have been out on the personal boat with family or friends. We have seen dolphins and they will approach the back of the boat sometimes, this is generally a trained behavior like a dog at the dinner table. So, even though it should not be done, people are still doing this because they either do not know better or care for the well being what some may say is our closes relation in the water as they just want to see and maybe touch like the images seen at certain water parks with more of a trained, domesticated dolphin in a controlled environment.


For more information about the practice, click link to NOAA about Dolphin SMART and intro below.


To promote responsible stewardship of wild dolphins in coastal waterways.

Dolphin SMART Program Purpose:

  • Minimize the potential of wild dolphin harassment caused by commercial viewing activities.
  • Reduce expectations of close interaction with wild dolphins in a manner that may cause harassment.
  • Eliminate advertising that creates expectations of engaging in activities that may cause harassment.
  • Promote stewardship of local coastal waterways.

Dolphin SMART acronym spelled out: Stay back 50 years from dolphins, Move away cautiously if dolphins show signw of disturbance, Always put your engin in neutral when dolphins are near, Refain from feeding, touching or swimming with wild dolphins, Teach otheres to be dolphin smart

Again, you can find out more about the program at,