Know Before You Go!

When planning your trip

Understanding the behavior of marine animals and being able to identify different species will help to ensure you are able to navigate safely for your protection and theirs. Before you enter their ocean home, spend some time getting to know some of the most commonly seen species!

  • Understand the laws and guidelines of watching whales
  • Know how to spot whales when on the water

TIP: By taking the See a Spout? Watch Out! Spout Spotter Course, you can easily do all listed above!

Before you leave the house


  • ✅The weather forecast: Checking your regular weather forecast for the day,  changes can happen overnight, so be sure to check before you go. 
  • ✅The marine forecast: Check your local marine forecast to get an idea of wind and wave action. This can impact the comfort and safety of your trip, as well as ability to spot whales and other hazards.
  • ✅USCG Local Notice to Mariners: For other local notices affecting mariners


  • ✅Binoculars: Allow you to get a good look at whales while watching them from a responsible distance
  • ✅Polarized sunglasses: Making sure you have polarized lenses not only cuts the sun’s glare, but the color of the lens can also play a role during your whale watching trip too. Blue-colored lenses are great to have on sunnier days and can extend your field of vision.
  • ✅Field guide


  • Whale Alert App: See and report whale sightings and important management measures in place to protect whales. 
  • ✅Save phone numbers
    • 1-866- 755-6622: NOAA Hotline

To Report Injured, Dead or Entangled Marine Mammals and Sea Turtles in the Northeast US (Maine-Virginia), call NOAA’s hotline: 1-866- 755-6622. Other regions click here for hotline information. NOTE: sightings may always be reported to the US Coast Guard via VHF Ch. 16. Go here [Be Whale Prepared//Reporting] to learn more about what should be reported.

Scroll to Top