The Namibian Dolphin Project | MarWise

Education

MarWise, Responsible marine tourism

The Namibian Dolphin Project strongly supports responsible, environmentally friendly, marine tourism

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Whales, dolphins, sharks, turtles, seabirds… Namibia’s coastal waters are home to a fantastic variety of marine wildlife, whether visible from the shore or from a boat. However these wild animals are vulnerable to disturbance if not approached in a manner that respects their wild nature.

The MarWiSe (Marine Wildlife Safe) course is based on the WiSe Scheme (www.wisescheme.org) in the UK, which seeks to minimise such unintentional disturbance through providing training and accreditation to operators of registered passenger and charter vessels who wish to view marine wildlife. WiSe also liaises with key organisations to offer guidance for the public wishing to enjoy the marine environment.

As whale-watching tourism and marine leisure activities increase worldwide, we must ensure that these activities do not have a negative effect on the wildlife at sea. Studies in places such as New Zealand and Hawaii have shown that too many tour boats, or too much boat activity in particular areas used by marine animals, can place these animals under stress and may have impacts at a population level. The MarWise course is designed to ensure that boat operators have a solid understanding of how best to approach and interact with marine wildlife, and focuses on ways they can help minimise any unintentional disturbance from their activities on/in the water. In addition, all certified operators have agreed to abide by the Codes of Conduct for the wildlife that they seek to view. These codes have been developed to promote safe and sustainable watching of the amazing whales, dolphins, seals, turtles and seabirds which inhabit Namibian waters.

The MarWiSe course covers the following topics:

  • Biology and ecology of the focal marine species for tourism (cetaceans, seals, turtles, seabirds, sunfish)
  • Threats to marine wildlife
  • Understanding the behaviour of cetaceans
  • Responsible boat maneuvering in the presence of marine wildlife
  • Understanding the Namibian Code of Conduct

The MarWiSe certified skippers will be listed on this site. If you are a tourist in Namibia and want to make a responsible choice for your wildlife watching trip at sea, ask for a MarWiSe-certified skipper and guide. If your local operator is not MarWiSe accredited, please tell them about the scheme.

For more information on MarWiSe, contact Ruth Leeney – ruth.leeneyATgmail.com

Running the MarWise course in Namibia was made possible through support from the Rufford Small Grants Foundation to Ruth Leeney