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Canoeing on the Sea

A Guide to Good Environmental Practice

Canoeing and kayaking on the sea offers a fantastic platform from which to watch seabirds and seals, and even whales and dolphins in their natural environment.  To experience the nature of the sea at such close quarters is an amazing privilege, but like all privileges it carries a responsibility.
In our enthusiasm to see wild animals we can accidentally cause disturbance without realising it, so a good way to minimize our impact on wildlife is to become more knowledgeable about it.  For instance, an awareness of the breeding seasons of birds and seals will help us avoid getting too close when they are most sensitive to our presence.

Minimising Disturbance

When encountering wildlife, whether on sea or on land, your aim should be to minimise any disturbance that you might cause to wild animals and the habitats in which they live.  In order to achieve this, the following basic principles should be adhered to:

•   Try not to startle or panic wild animals; never surround them, and don’t block them in from their escape routes.  You will enjoy the sightings much more if they are relaxed about your presence.  Sudden movements scare wildlife and give you away.

•   Be aware that the size of your group, the length of time you are there, and the frequency of human disturbance are all factors that could threaten their wellbeing.

•   Don’t linger for too long when you are close to wildlife.  By all means look, but then move on.

•   As well as avoiding disturbance to marine animals, also be aware of the need to avoid damaging plants and the habitats that the animals depend upon.

•   Remember, you are sharing the environment – leave it undisturbed for the wildlife and those who follow.

To read the Canoeing on the Sea document click here.