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National Whale and Dolphin Watch 2019: a national effort to protect whales, dolphins and porpoises with citizen science

Logo: Sea Watch Foundation
Volunteer Sea-watchers at Eyemouth Fort on 5 Aug 2018  Photo credit: Eyemouth Voluntary Marine Reserve
Volunteer Sea-watchers at Eyemouth Fort on 5 Aug 2018 Photo credit: Eyemouth Voluntary Marine Reserve

Every year for nine days in late July (July 27th – August 4th), Sea Watch Foundation look for wildlife enthusiasts and around the UK to support National Whale and Dolphin Watch, a citizen science project organized by the Sea Watch Foundation now in its 17th year, hoping to catch a glimpse of whales, dolphins and porpoises visiting the seas around the British Isles.

National Whale and Dolphin Watch is about involving people and allowing them to experience something they never thought they could be part of, it is about collecting vital data for the protection and conservation of local cetacean species, and it is about sharing this magical event with people from all other the country and have fun all together.

Humpback whale photographed at RSPB Bempton  Cliffs reserve, Yorkshire, on July 30th, 2018.  Photo credit: Jo Symon
Humpback whale photographed at RSPB Bempton Cliffs reserve, Yorkshire, on July 30th, 2018. Photo credit: Jo Symon

No previous experience is needed, anyone who wants to and who is in the UK during the event can help. All that people need to bring is patience, a lot of enthusiasm, binoculars, and sightings forms and a cetacean identification guide (downloadable from the Sea Watch website). The Sea Watch staff is suggesting for people to conduct their land watches for a minimum of one hour and to work in groups to take turns during data collection. If you are an experienced watcher, you can easily identify species and fill in our website forms. If it is the first time for you, there are manned sites around the country where experienced watchers will be available to assist first-timers.

Volunteer Sea-Watchers dolphin watching off Newquay,  Cornwall on 3 August 2018.  Photo credit: Newquay Seasafaris and Fishing
Volunteer Sea-Watchers dolphin watching off Newquay, Cornwall on 3 August 2018. Photo credit: Newquay Seasafaris and Fishing

Accredited wildlife tour operators and other recommended dolphin watching companies around the UK are also taking part in the weekend. Please note that spaces on most boat trips need to be reserved first. Prices vary for these trips and you should contact the relevant
operator directly. All marine wildlife operators abide by a voluntary code of conduct.

To take part in this year’s National Whale and Dolphin Watch visit the Sea Watch Foundation website. If you want to know more about last year’s event, take a peek at the 2018 National Whale & Dolphin Watch Report. If you have a question, email the organizers at

nwdw@seawatchfoundation.org.uk

You can also follow the Sea Watch Foundation – on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.