tips for swimming with dolphins hawaii

Top 10 Swimming with Dolphins Tips:

Swimming with dolphins can be an exhilarating experience, but it’s important to do so responsibly and safely. By following these tips, you can enjoy a memorable and respectful experience swimming with dolphins while contributing to their conservation and well-being. Here are some hot tips to enhance your experience:

Are YOU ready to swim with wild dolphins?

  • Remember, RESPECT is the key to any interaction. Allow dolphins to approach you if they choose. Observing their natural behaviors from a distance can be just as rewarding.
  • BE AWARE of the dolphin’s position and behaviors from the time we first see them. Be ready to enter the water quickly and also exit the water quickly when guided to do so. Know where to turn your eyes, timing is often critical. Being in small group tours lends nicely to this.
  • Take your cues from the dolphin behavior and movements. Swimming with dolphins requires reading their body language, and respecting distance. Think smart when swimming with or near them. When honoring both your own limits and theirs, your experience of swimming with them will be optimized.
  • LOOK under the water and scan the water column once the dolphins are near enough. Look below and down to the left and right behind you. The dolphins may swim right underneath or beside you. You will miss this if you are looking above the water. Check in and keep an ear above the water to listen for your guide.
  • Be responsible for your actions and stay within your own limits. Parallel the pod, staying in “your lane”, not diving down at them. This way you aren’t ‘chasing’ (changing the dolphins speed or course) or disturbing important activities such as feeding, courtship or nursing. Simply share space and observe as a “fly on the wall”.
  • If a dolphin comes near enough to do so, do not reach out to touch. Wild dolphins have a very acute sense of touch, and grabbing at a dolphin is guaranteed to push them away. Stay calm, move slowly, and avoid loud noises to prevent startling them. Take nothing but pictures, touch nothing but hearts, leave nothing but bubbles.
  • LISTEN to your Naturalist. Listen carefully to the instructions provided by your guide or tour operator. They are experienced in ensuring safe and respectful interactions swimming with wild dolphins. HOWEVER if they ask you to do something beyond your comfort level (for example you are tired and don’t want to get in the water, etc.), respect your own boundaries. You are ultimately responsible for your actions.
  • The main message? Look, listen and blend with the pod.
  • REMEMBER We are visitors to the dolphins ocean home and should not abuse their welcome. Educate yourself about dolphin behavior and conservation. Understanding more about these intelligent creatures can enhance your appreciation of the experience.

The best odds of swimming with spotted dolphins, bottlenose dolphins, and pilot whales are on small group private or shared boat tours. Having lots of experience with these dolphins and whales is also critical to attaining bucket list swimming with dolphins. Our Oahu biologist/naturalist crew has been facilitating safe personalized encounters for over 25 years.

If you are not a good swimmer, have fears or other limitations, please let us know and we can work with you to either remain onboard where you will still have a great view and experience, we will help as much as possible to raise your snorkeling comfort level.

Please review the complete page before your tour. We reserve the right to not facilitate in-water OR above water dolphin tour encounters which may compromise wildlife or human safety.

Do dolphins want to swim with people?

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