National Whale and Dolphin Watch 2018

Dolphins jumping out of water
Hannah Downey

The Sea Watch Foundation is a national charity based in New Quay, West Wales, working to improve the conservation and protection of whales, dolphins and porpoises in British and Irish waters. In a few weeks time their National Whale and Dolphin Watch (NWDW) will begin a 9 day event which aims to get a general “snapshot” of what is in UK coastal waters. The Sea Watch Foundation’s annual event has been running for 16 years and was created to increase public awareness of the diversity of cetaceans found in British waters.

Last year 6,590 individual animals of 11 different species were sighted along the UK coastline. During that week, more than 1,500 hours were spent looking out for cetaceans around the UK - 300 hours more than in 2016. The Sea Watch Foundation hopes to set a new record this year! This year’s event is taking place 28th July - 5th August.

2017 saw a pod of long-finned pilot whales in Moray Firth, striped dolphins near the Isles of Scilly, many sightings of killer whales in the north of Scotland, and humpback whales in the north-east of the UK and the Isle of Man.

NWDW is a unique opportunity for everyone in the UK; whether you live near the coast, are planning a trip to the seaside, taking a ferry crossing, or for anyone sailing or boating around the country during these 9 days. All you need is a pair of binoculars, a nice place to look out over the water, some patience and enthusiasm, and one of the Sea Watch Foundation’s observation packs which can be sent to you via post. You can do this on land or via boat, for as long as you want and as many times as you want during the event.

It is suggested that people conduct their land watches for a minimum of two hours and to work in groups to take turns during data collection. If this is your first time participating in NWDW, there are manned sites around the country where experienced watchers will be available to assist.

For more details, please visit the Sea Watch Foundation's website or send them an email.

You can also adopt a dolphin through the foundation here.