Code of Conduct for Responsible Whale Watching

We are proud to say that we follow the whale watching guidelines of IceWhale as we feel its very important to respect and protect the nature and its wildlife!

We have to remember that these are wild animals and to enjoy them for the future we need to show them patience and respect. We will try to get you close but how close we get is always on the animal’s terms as we aim to minimize disturbance.

This is a Code of Conduct we aim to abide by, however, there are many variables to consider when out at sea, such as the weather, number of whales, prey availability, if there are calves present, animal behavior and so on and so forth.

Searching Zone (3000m>)

Keep a dedicated lookout and stay in radio contact with other vessels (approaching and departing). Avoid making sudden or excessive noises and disturbances. Avoid sudden speed or course changes (approaching and departing). Continuously access cetacean behavior during interactions, and avoid repeated attempts to interact with animals that are showing signs of distress.

Approaching Zone (300m>)

Aim at maintaining a distance of 300m at the beginning of the encounter, and gradually get closer with time. Stop the propeller (max speed 5-6 mph). If the cetacean is travelling fast you can speed up a little (up to 8mph) but not directly towards the animal. Avoid following behind cetacean and never deliberately approach directly in front. Vessel movements should be parallel to them, approaching cautiously at an oblique angle (from behind). Don’t move closer if there is another boat in the approaching zone, unless the other boat gives way or signals that it is safe to approach. Take turns if there are more boats in the area, preferably each boat shouldn’t spend more than 20-30 minutes with the same cetacean. Never (deliberately) sail through pods of concentrated cetacean. Keep to a steady speed if dolphins approach the vessel and start bow-riding, or else come slowly to a stop and let them pass. Do not attempt to encourage dolphins to bow-ride. Ensure that the vessel does not disturb nesting or resting birds.

Caution Zone (50m>)

When possible, stop the propeller if any cetacean approach the vessel and do not re-engage propulsion until all cetacean are observed to be well clear of your vessel. Do not touch, swim with or feed cetaceans.


We encourage all our customers & visitors to Iceland to take a look at the whale friendly restaurants that are listed on IceWhale’s website – a joint effort between the whale watching companies, Ice Whale & IFAW.