‘In the sea’ GUIDELINES
The seas around Cornwall offer spectacular opportunities for seeing marine and coastal wildlife for divers, snorkelers, surfers, swimmers and other recreational users. Experiences can vary widely – from seeing communities of vibrantly coloured, encrusting animals to encounters with giant basking sharks. As some activities may start out from a boat, please look at the ‘on the sea’ section above as well.
General advice to avoid disturbance IN THE SEA:
- Keep a good look out on the surface and underwater
- Let any wildlife encounter be on their terms
- Never feed wild marine animals
- Make sure your movements are steady and predictable and be prepared to move out of the animal’s way in good time
- Check if you have been spotted and move gently away at the first signs of disturbance (see Wildlife Encounters)
- If an animal in the water has chosen to make a close approach, be calm, move slowly and predictably, keeping hands to yourself. An example of interactive behaviour may be seals sniffing or ‘mouthing’ you or your gear.
- Generally there is greater potential for disturbance when more people are in the water so always leave wildlife a clear escape route
- If you handle animals, be careful and put them back where you found them
- Take care with your feet or fins as some species are very sensitive to physical damage
- When snorkeling or diving in sensitive areas, keep good control of your buoyancy to avoid touching the seabed or smothering it in clouds of sand or mud
- If you use flash for photos, limit the number of photos you take of the same animals. In the dark use the edge of a light beam rather than shining it directly at the animal
- Take all litter home
- Snorkeling, diving or swimming with large marine mammals and basking sharks is not recommended. If you decide to, or encounter them by chance, follow the guidance above where relevant and make sure you are prepared by following the guidance for species specific codes – Birds, Seals, Basking Sharks, Turtles, Dolphins, porpoises and whales. Choose to snorkel with basking sharks via accredited boat tour operators who closely follow the Basking Shark Code of Conduct.
MAIN PHOTO: copyright Cornwall Wildlife Trust