Get up close & personal with British marine wildlife
Catching a glimpse of marine wildlife is one of the greatest thrills you can experience on our coast. From seals, sharks and sea otters to dolphins, whales and stunning sea birds, they are all out there if you know when and where to look.
No sighting is ever guaranteed, but with a fairwind, patience and some local knowledge you might just get lucky. And if you do, it could well be an experience of a lifetime to cement your love affair with the coast.
Finding marine wildlife
One of the best ways to experience the wonderful marine wildlife on our shores is to join an organised trip, or visit a nature reserve – always check details before visiting. Many are run by conservation organisations with adoption or volunteer programmes so you can help their valuable work. The Wildife Trusts, RSPB and National Trust are great places to start.
Creatures to discover include:
Always be wary if you discover a seal or other marine creature washed up on the shore. There’s some strict things to do and things not to, and best thing to do is call the RSPCA or another wildife organisation for help. If there’s a stranded whale or dolphin then you’ll usually find British Marine Life Divers Rescue at the scene. This amazing registered charity is made up of trained volunteers on call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
A boat trip is often a great way to see a whole host of amazing species. There are usually codes of conduct for operators to follow, but if in doubt check with a conservation charity or tourist board. WiSe is an example of an accreditation scheme for operators.
Every summer the Wildife Trusts run National Marine Week to raise awareness of the our glorious coast, seaside and water. It’s a great chance to join organised events and activities up and down the country.
Stay safe on the coast
Remember always to stay safe at the coast. Follow official signs and guidance, keep an eye on the tides and weather, don’t go too close to cliff edges or stray too near to the foot of cliffs. Always use your common sense, be prepared, and if in doubt seek official advice from the RNLI, Maritime and Coastguard Agency or local council websites.
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