How to Behave When You Spot a Dolphin

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Basic etiquette to respect our wildlife.

When sailing the Croatian coast, every once in a while you can spot dolphins swimming and peeking out of the clear blue waters of the Adriatic sea. Recently, there have been many frequent dolphin sightings, especially near the islands of Lošinj, Cres and Silba, which we have reported about here and here.

Blue World Institute Facebook

This is why we bring you a short guide of how to behave when you see a dolphin:

  1. Firstly, do not chase them or sail straight at them. If you wish to come near them, do it very slowly by sailing parallel to them, and give them a chance to come closer on their own.
  2. The motor of your vessel should be idling (in coasting driving mode) or, better yet, turned off. Sudden changes of movement and speed of your vessel, as well as the noise of the engine, can upset and disorient the dolphins.
  3. Do not get close to the dolphins who are swimming along with their young ones.
  4. For their and your safety, avoid diving and swimming with dolphins.
  5. Do not feed them or try to touch them.
  6. When you wish to move away from the dolphins, please do so slowly by speeding up when you’re around 30 metres from them.
  7. Do not, under any circumstances, take them out of the water, as was seen recently when tourists in Spain killed a baby dolphin by picking it up to take selfies (tragic).

What to do if you see a stranded dolphin?

If you notice a stranded dolphin or a whale, whether it’s dead, alive or injured, you can contact the following organisations at any time of day:

  • The Adriatic Dolphin Project (Jadranski projekt dupin) – Blue World Institute, prof. Draško Holzer and associates, Veli Lošinj
  • Croatia – Save the Last Dolphins Project, run by the Association of Environmental Protection „Val“ and Faculty of Veterinary Medicine in Zagreb – prof. Hrvoje Gomerčić and Martina Đuras
    • Phone number: +385 (0)1 2390 250 or +385 (0)1 4658 105
    • Mobile phone number:  +385 (0)91 5319 702 or +385 (0)91 5208 709
    • Email: [email protected]
  • Association of Environmental Protection „Val“

You can also notify the organisations of the dolphin sighting via CROdolphin database at

In case nobody answers your call, you can try, as carefully as you can, to bring the live dolphin back into the water, and make sure you regularly pour water over it, especially if it’s exposed directly to the sun.


Blue World Institute Facebook

But, most of all, when you spot a dolphin swimming near you, enjoy the wonderful sight and remember to keep the sea clean so these magnificent sea creatures can continue to thrive and, maybe one day your children will gasp in awe at these intelligent, happy squeaky animals!



Source of information: Peljar by Radovan Marčić


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