Leaping dolphins in the surf are common scenes at Outer Banks beaches. Although many dolphins appear friendly and may even approach boats, they are offered federal protection from harm and disturbance to promote their conservation. – By Jessica Taylor
Leaping dolphins in the surf or traveling pods along the shoreline are common and delightful scenes at Outer Banks beaches during the summer. These marine mammals are frequent visitors of our shoreline. Like their human counterparts, some dolphins are seasonal residents, visiting the Outer Banks every year, while others seem to inhabit the area year-round. Although many dolphins appear friendly and may even approach boats, they are offered federal protection from harm and disturbance to promote their conservation. To contribute to the protection and conservation of these amazing animals, stick to these guidelines:
• Do not litter on the beach. Dispose of trash in designated receptacles.
• Never attempt to touch or feed wild dolphins. Even though they may seem curious, wild dolphins are not accustomed to human interactions.
• When observing dolphins from boats, be careful not to chase the dolphins, encircle them, or trap them between watercraft and the shore. Limit your viewing time to half an hour and distance to 50 yards.
• If dolphins approach your boat while fishing, withdraw your lines and move to another area to avoid entanglement.
Dolphins are important indicators of environmental health and their preservation promotes the health of our local marine environment. The Outer Banks Center for Dolphin Research (OBXCDR) tracks individual dolphins year-round to learn more about their biology and movement patterns in the Outer Banks.
The OBXCDR is a 501 c(3) non-profit organization whose mission to promote local dolphin conservation through research and education. For more information about the OBXCDR and how to contribute to local dolphin conservation, go to obxdolphins.org.