Dolphins are wild and are therefore unpredictable. This post describes a few ways that people really should interact around dolphins in the wild. Most harmful actions are due to lack of information on the dolphin-viewers’ part.
So, here are some things to keep in mind when you encounter dolphins in the wild:
DON’T feed dolphins or any other marine mammals. Dolphins who are fed become reliant on humans for their meals. They may begin to associate humans with food and approach boats for handouts.
DON’T follow a dolphin that chooses to leave. If you come upon a dolphin in the wild and it chooses to investigate you or your boat, enjoy the encounter but respect the dolphin’s desire to leave. When a dolphin leaves the area do not follow it.
DON’T separate a group of dolphins. Dolphins tend to travel in pods and will cooperatively hunt for food. They may be working together to herd fish, caring for their young, resting, or mating. Remain a respectful distance away.
DON’T disturb dolphins that are resting. Resting dolphins are generally categorized by little to no movement either at the surface or just under it. Dolphins do not sleep the way humans do. They really cannot afford to. They must break the surface to breathe and are constantly on the lookout for predators. By disturbing resting dolphins you may be endangering their lives.