Momma whales, Monica, and mountains – oh my!

When I started as an intern at Whale and Dolphin Conservation, the Whale SENSE program was just being launched. I’m proud to say that Whale SENSE is turning 10 years old this year! I was chatting with our Whale SENSE partners in the NOAA offices both in Massachusetts and Alaska and we were brainstorming the … Continue reading Momma whales, Monica, and mountains – oh my!

A Floating Office With Cetacean Co-Workers

“You must love your job!” is an exclamation many of us in the ecotourism career field hear quite frequently.  My response?  “WHALE YEAH!”  A floating office, cetaceans as co-workers, and the unexpected nature of each trip are things that many of us thrive upon.  As a naturalist with the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center, … Continue reading A Floating Office With Cetacean Co-Workers


Whale SENSE Beach Clean Up 2019!

On Saturday, many of the Whale SENSE companies in both Alaska and the Atlantic completed their annual stewardship project  in a coordinated beach clean up in an effort to care for the local marine life and give back to their local communities! Whale SENSE companies in Juneau, Alaska had 58 people from 7 companies on … Continue reading Whale SENSE Beach Clean Up 2019!

Bridging the gap: Whale SENSE Alaska goes to the far east coast (of the United States)

By Ali Schuler – Whale SENSE Alaska What could whale watching in the Atlantic have in common with Alaska? Suzie Teerlink and myself had never been whale watching off the east coast, but had heard the stories! Having started our careers working with marine mammals as whale watch naturalists in Alaska, we frequently had passengers … Continue reading Bridging the gap: Whale SENSE Alaska goes to the far east coast (of the United States)

2018 Whale SENSE Photo Contest

FACEBOOK PHOTO CONTEST RULES How to Enter Submit your photos via message to the Whale SENSE Facebook page or to whalesenseww@gmail.com by FRIDAY NOVEMBER 2nd. You can enter up to one photo per category.  With each photo include your name, the name of the whale watch company with which you were on board, date it … Continue reading 2018 Whale SENSE Photo Contest

The Naturalist

Dolphin Fleet naturalist Dennis Minsky authored this great piece about the important role a whale watch naturalist has in inspiring passengers. The Naturalist I am not here to talk of whales, but of people.  I could talk about the passengers, but another time; I would dwell on the crew, each of which has a story: … Continue reading The Naturalist

2018 Whale SENSE Alaska Marine Conservation Leader Award

For the second year, outstanding captains and naturalists in Alaska were nominated for their leadership in marine conservation and stewardship. With both the whale watching industry and scope of Whale SENSE growing rapidly in Alaska, there are truly countless individuals that are working to emphasize the need for conservation and preservation of local whale populations. … Continue reading 2018 Whale SENSE Alaska Marine Conservation Leader Award

Celebrating World Oceans Day and the East Coast Whale Watching Season Kicks Off

June 7, 2018 As the world celebrates Ocean’s Day on June 8th , the whale watching season kicks off along the East Coast. Whale sightings are always thrilling to passengers, but those on a Whale SENSE whale watch will be even more thrilled to know that their whale watch company is supporting conservation of these … Continue reading Celebrating World Oceans Day and the East Coast Whale Watching Season Kicks Off

Photo Contest Winners Announced!

Congratulations to all of our winners!! All of the winning photos were taken in Virginia Beach and on board with either Rudee Flipper Dolphin and Whale Watching Tours or Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center. Coincidentally, their whale watching season is starting later this month. We encourage you to reach out to them and book a trip this … Continue reading Photo Contest Winners Announced!

Whale SENSE launches Facebook photo contest

FACEBOOK PHOTO CONTEST RULES How to Enter Submit your photos via message to the Whale SENSE Facebook page or to whalesenseww@gmail.com by FRIDAY NOVEMBER 3rd. You can enter up to one photo per category.  With each photo include your name, the name of your whale watch company, date it was taken and a caption/description. Categories … Continue reading Whale SENSE launches Facebook photo contest

Whale SENSE Heroes

By Mark Haver, NOAA Fisheries Communications Intern You’re the last boat on the water on a summer evening. The setting sun breathes a rich orange reflection over the water’s surface. A killer whale dorsal fin calmly breaks the orange sheet. It is not just the sighting that makes the experience so exciting– it is the … Continue reading Whale SENSE Heroes

Why More of Alaska’s Whale Watching Companies Are Recognized for Responsible Tourism

Jenna Schwerzmann Back in 2015, the Whale SENSE program welcomed six new companies from Juneau, Alaska.  Until that time, all participants were located on the Atlantic coast.  Now, in 2017, the number of Whale SENSE participants in Alaska has doubled! Tourists can now find Whale SENSE-approved companies in Juneau, Ketchikan, Valdez, and Seward. I was … Continue reading Why More of Alaska’s Whale Watching Companies Are Recognized for Responsible Tourism

A Day on Stellwagen Bank: Where Whale Watching Was Born.

Written by Jenna Schwerzmann On a partly-cloudy June morning, nearly three hundred passengers boarded the Hyannis Whale Watcher cruise. Prepped with backpacks, coolers, and extra layers for the chilly Cape Cod winds, the passengers seemed hopeful as they handed their tickets to none other than the naturalist, Jonathan Brink. Jon Brink has been with Hyannis … Continue reading A Day on Stellwagen Bank: Where Whale Watching Was Born.

Whaleboats Buy my Quesadillas

Written by Tamara Lang. All photos courtesy of Major Marine Tours. My dad tells people I work on a whaleboat. I’ve tried correcting him. It’s a whale-watching boat, dad, I try to say, with glaciers as a bonus. Whaleboats operate off of antique whaling ships, and I don’t work on those either. I can promise that … Continue reading Whaleboats Buy my Quesadillas

Whale watching “South of south” with Boston Harbor Cruises

It was a beautiful day out not on Stellwagen Bank but as we called it “south of south”. We headed out towards the south on board the Sanctuary for the 10am whale watch and after spotting a quartet of fin whales on the southwest corner of Stellwagen we headed around the tip of Cape Cod … Continue reading Whale watching “South of south” with Boston Harbor Cruises

Field Notes: Out Of the Fog

From Whale SENSE Atlantic participant Boston Harbor Cruises:  Laura L., Julia, and Chrissy May 1, 2017 trip We headed out into the thick fog surrounding Boston with hopes that sightings luck would continue to be on our side. While exiting the harbor the crew kept a sharp lookout for other boat traffic, but before too … Continue reading Field Notes: Out Of the Fog

The Common “Sense” Way to View Majestic Whales

February 17, 2017 NOAA Fisheries hopes you’ve enjoyed diving into all the whale science and stories we’ve featured this week. From coast to coast, you may be asking how you can get out and see whales for yourself. Captain John’s boat with humpback. Credit: WDC Going out with whale watching tours that follow responsible guidelines … Continue reading The Common “Sense” Way to View Majestic Whales

Whale SENSE Atlantic Has a Banner Year in 2016

Passengers on board a Whale SENSE accredited vessel getting a close look at a humpback whale. In 2016, the responsible whale watching program Whale SENSE Atlantic hit two records: the highest number of participants (16) and the most large whale entanglements documented by participants (13). The most recent entanglement was reported by American Princess Cruises … Continue reading Whale SENSE Atlantic Has a Banner Year in 2016

Field Notes: Longing For Silence

Submitted by Theresa Soley, naturalist for Gastineau Guiding 7/6/2016   Longing for silence   Late this afternoon on the west side of Admiralty Island, after rounding Point Retreat, a large group of boats was hugging the shoreline. A dozen boats were gliding south, following a group of humpback whales. Twelve boats in one small area … Continue reading Field Notes: Longing For Silence

Field Notes: Cape May Whale Watch & Research Center Wants to Know If YOU have Whale SENSE!

Reposted with permission from Cape May Whale Watch and Research Center. Original blog post can be found here. Do You Have Whale SENSE? June 25, 2016 Written by Cape May Whale Watch & Research Center   As the years progress, the use of the oceans for recreational purposes has increased dramatically, leading to a greater … Continue reading Field Notes: Cape May Whale Watch & Research Center Wants to Know If YOU have Whale SENSE!

Field Notes: Calves Galore in Juneau!

Contributed by Scott Ranger from Gastineau Guiding, Whale SENSE Alaska participating company since 2015 Our Juneau whales this season include at least three cows and calves, all of whom arrived early, either in late April or early May. 1447, Juneauite’s calf stuck close to mom for a month, then has gotten a bit frisky. First by … Continue reading Field Notes: Calves Galore in Juneau!

Whale SENSE Welcomes Virginia Participants!

Two Virginia Whale Watch Companies Join Whale SENSE Atlantic, Leading the Industry in a Responsible Direction Original article can be found here. Two Virginia Beach ocean tour operators, Rudee Tours and Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center, joined the voluntary responsible whale watching program, Whale SENSE, sponsored by NOAA Fisheries and Whale and Dolphin Conservation. … Continue reading Whale SENSE Welcomes Virginia Participants!

Newburyport Whale Watch Joins Whale SENSE Atlantic!

We would like to welcome Newburyport Whale Watch as the newest addition to the Whale SENSE Atlantic program!  On June 1, Newburyport Whale Watch crew were trained by Whale SENSE coordinators. “It makes SENSE!  Whales need a voice, any human being who uses the ocean for research, conservation, or just the pure  pleasure of its beauty … Continue reading Newburyport Whale Watch Joins Whale SENSE Atlantic!

Check Out Our New Look!

With the start of our 7th season and our expansion to new regions, we decided it was time for a new look.  Check out our new logo!  Let us know what you think! Don’t worry, for those of you attached to our bubble whale, it’s not gone for good!  As we develop new materials, our … Continue reading Check Out Our New Look!

Allen Marine– Helping Keep Alaska Shores Clean!

Allen Marine, one of our Juneau Whale SENSE Alaska pioneering participants, recently conducted a beach clean-up on Admiralty Island!  Using two boats, 22 members of their crew helped pick up trash on the beaches of Piling Point, Barlow Point, Green Cove and Oliver Inlet.  Even with bears in the area, the crew managed to gather quite a … Continue reading Allen Marine– Helping Keep Alaska Shores Clean!

Whale SENSE Launched in Alaska!

From:  http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/newsreleases/2015/whalesense042315.htm Voluntary program to promote responsible whale watching in Juneau area  For tourists visiting Juneau and Southeast Alaska, there is no sight more exhilarating than seeing humpback whales bubble feeding or breaching. Whale watching is a significant part of the local economy, and NOAA Fisheries wants to ensure that whale watching remains a viable and … Continue reading Whale SENSE Launched in Alaska!

Thank You, National Marine Sanctuary Foundation!

Whale SENSE Awarded Tourism Funding Whale SENSE was recently awarded funding from the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation to help us promote responsible whale watching in the Greater Atlantic Region!  Many thanks to the Foundation for their support!  Visit their website for more information on other great Foundation programs:  

Interview with Captain Blair Perkins of Shearwater Excursions

Meet our members!  We’ve been conducting interviews with some of our captains, naturalists, and owners of Whale SENSE companies, and will share them here on our website.  This week we talked to Captain Blair Perkins, the captain and naturalist of Shearwater Excursions, about his experiences whale watching. Growing up in Nantucket, Captain Blair knew from … Continue reading Interview with Captain Blair Perkins of Shearwater Excursions

Whale SENSE Participant to the Rescue!

Whale Watching Trip Turns into Successful International Whale Rescue! Original story can be viewed here. When nearly 200 people set sail on a whale watch from Bar Harbor, Maine, they never expected to be party to a whale rescue. Yet, that is exactly what happened on a sunny afternoon in early June. A vessel owned by Bar Harbor … Continue reading Whale SENSE Participant to the Rescue!

Responsible whale watch program continues to expand along U.S. east coast

Whale SENSE welcomes new company for the 2014 whale watching season! Original press release, courtesy of NOAA Fisheries Greater Atlantic Regional Office, click here. Shearwater Excursions from Nantucket, Massachusetts has joined NOAA, Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDC)  and 11 other commercial whale watching companies as a new Whale SENSE member. Through this collaborative educational effort, over 1 … Continue reading Responsible whale watch program continues to expand along U.S. east coast

Responsible whale watch program expands throughout the east coast

Five new members join WhaleSENSE Whale SENSE welcomes new participants Whale watching is an important industry for many coastal communities from Maine through Virginia. Five new whale watching companies have joined a growing list of companies participating in Whale SENSE. This program, which was initiated by NOAA Fisheries’  Northeast Region, Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary, … Continue reading Responsible whale watch program expands throughout the east coast

5 Years and 1 Million Passengers– Whale SENSE Milestones

Responsible Whale Watching Program Reaches Milestone For original article, click here. Whale Watching Companies Share Why Whale SENSE Also Makes Good Business Sense As the Whale SENSE Program enters its fifth year, an estimated 1 million people have been exposed to messages about responsible wildlife viewing.  However, this isn’t the only benefit of the program.  … Continue reading 5 Years and 1 Million Passengers– Whale SENSE Milestones

Whale SENSE Featured on Planet Whale

Planet Whale is a website designed to promote responsible whale watching around the world.  Passengers can rank their whale watch experiences based on responsible viewing criteria, and search for responsible whale watches globally.  When viewers of the Planet Whale website search for whale watches in the United States, the Whale SENSE logo reminds them to … Continue reading Whale SENSE Featured on Planet Whale

See a Spout, Watch Out!

The See a Spout, Watch Out! Program is an educational program for Northeast recreational boaters who wish to whale watch.  This program covers responsible and safe boating guidelines in short phrases that are easy to remember.  Visit the  See a Spout, Watch Out! Website for more details.

Whale SENSE- the smart way to whale watch

(Original post 2012:  http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/laws/mmpa/anniversary/whalesense.htm)  Whale SENSE- The smart way to whale watch    Look for the Whale SENSE logo to support program participants.  The Northeastern United States is one of the most impressive whale watching destinations in the world, drawing over a million whale watchers each year. Worldwide, whale watching is valued as a multi-billion … Continue reading Whale SENSE- the smart way to whale watch

Responsible Whale Watching Program Protects Whales, Encourages Stewardship

(Original Post June 16, 2011: http://www.nero.noaa.gov/nero/hotnews/NR1118/) As the third year of the WhaleSENSE program gets underway, three more whale watching companies have signed up to practice and promote responsible whale watching. WhaleSENSE is a joint initiative involving NOAA’s Fisheries Service, NOAA’s Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary and the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society in partnership … Continue reading Responsible Whale Watching Program Protects Whales, Encourages Stewardship

Dolphin SMART

Dolphin SMART fosters responsible dolphin watching in the Southeastern United States. Visit the Dolphin SMART Website for more details.