Whale Watching Regulations: NOM-131-SEMARNAT-2010

There are three basic rules for whale watching:

  1. Cause the minimum impact over the whales.
  2. Be patient.
  3. Only go whale watching with boats or companies that have a whale watching permit.


However, as a conscious ecotourist you should know that:

  • The minimum distance that should be kept from whales is 800 ft for boats without a whale watching permit.  
  • Only a maximum number of 4 (four) boats can remain around the same whale or a group of whales.
  • For authorized boats, the minimum observation distance between any boat and a whale, or group of whales, is 60 meters for small boats (less than 10 meters in length) and 80 meters for medium and larger boats (more than 10 meters length).
  • When whale watching, it is very important to try to keep a constant cruising speed with a maximum of 9 km/hr (5 mph, 5 knots), in all cases cruising speed should be slower than the slowest whale in the group. Fast acceleration and deceleration should be avoided.
  • Avoid drastic changes in speed and direction within 300 mt. (990 ft.) to the closest whale, because this scares them and can cause a colision.
  • If whales avoid you, change direction, breathing rhythm or modify their activity don’t approach them or move away slowly.
  • The correct way to approach a whale is from its side and slightly from the back, never from the front, or encircling them because this could be threatening to them.
  • Mothers with calves are very sensitive, so it is very important to be extremely careful when approaching them.
  • It´s forbidden to cause the dispersion of a group or to interrupt its activities.
  • Don´t throw anything into the water, especially plastic, cigarrettes or synthetic material that can cause problems to the animals if they accidentally swallow them.
  • Neither commercial or sport fishing should be conducted in an area where a group of whales have been identified.
  • Activities such as swimming, snorkeling, sea kayaking, jet skiing, parachuting,or scuba diving shouldn’t be done in the area where whales are found.  It could be dangerous and can also affect and change the natural behavior of the whales.
  • It is forbidden to tow dinguis or any type of object, nor to drag ropes, lines, nets, ropes, hooks or any other similar accessory during whale watching to avoid accidents.
  • For your own safety always wear a lifevest while in a motorboat


If you want you can download and print this format with the mexican whale watching regulations so you can keep it handy on your boat

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