Frequently asked questions

Can we touch the dolphins and how close will they come?

They come incredibly close. They often enjoy ‘surfing the bow’ of the boat where they sit in the pressure wave created by the movement of the boats hull through the water. To ensure that we do not harm the dolphins in anyway by transmitting skin diseases or damaging their protective skin layer we adhere to a strict ‘no touch policy’.

Can we feed the dolphins?

Definitely not! It’s terrible for their health and would ruin the unique friendship we have with which is based on a mutual curiosity and enjoyment of one another’s company, rather than food. Feeding wild dolphins (and most other species of wild animals) results in an increase in mortality rate and decrease in reproductive success.

Are we likely to see any sharks?

The chances of a shark encounter are very low, however, when you work in the ocean as often as we do there is unfortunately always a risk. To ensure the safest possible environment for our passengers and crew we use Shark Shields which generate an electric field that produces intolerable discomfort to the sharks sensory receptors known as Ampullae of Lorenzi (found on the snouts of all predatory sharks) forcing them to veer away and leave the immediate area.

Will we see any other marine life?

Some days- it depends on what the dolphins are up to. Some days when they are hunting you might see them chasing octopus, squid, local species of baitfish or tossing catfish through the air. We quite often see them hunting on the back of big stingrays and occasionally one of the local sea lions will join in on the fun.

Do you ever go out and not see any dolphins?

Occasionally it does happen – as with any operation that works with wild animals you can never guarantee that the animals will perform on cue every day of the year. We are very lucky in that the dolphins we visit are territorial so they are very consistent (we work on a better than 99% success rate) and it is highly unusual for us not to find someone who will interact with us.

Our commitment to you is to do our very best to provide every guest with the dolphin swim experience. Part of the reason why we don’t set a scheduled finish time for the tour is to ensure that we have plenty of time to stay on the water and keep searching if necessary. In the unlikely event that we are unable to swim with the dolphins we always offer passengers the opportunity to rebook another Swim with Wild Dolphins tour on another date. Sorry there are no refunds.

What’s the water temperature like?

It varies throughout the year between 18 in September through to 25 degrees Celsius during the Summer and Autumn Months. We have nice thick wetsuits and hoods to keep you warm.

Can we take photos and video?

For the amateur:

You are welcome to take photos or film for your own personal or non-commercial use – we just ask that you don’t use a flash as it startles the dolphins. Getting a great image of the dolphins can be a bit tricky, especially for a first timer so we recommend that you don’t try to look through your cameras little view finder (very hard to do while you are wearing a mask!) simply hold the camera out in front of you, point and shoot when the dolphin is 1 – 2 metres away.

For the professional:

If you are filming for commercial purposes we need to speak with you to fill out the appropriate paperwork prior to the tour. Please contact terry@dolphins.com.au to discuss your project.

What age do you need to be?

Swim with Wild Dolphins is not suitable for children 6 years or younger. We recommend this age limit because the child needs to be able to follow instructions. This is critical for safety and to ensure the child does not behave in such a way that may disrupt the experience for others.

If you are going to take the plunge with your child, we recommend that you spend some time getting your children comfortable with a mask and snorkel prior. This will definitely increase enjoyment for both child and parent. Wearing buoyancy aid devices are not recommended. They are designed to keep your child’s head above the water which is no good for enjoying the show as all the action takes place beneath the surface. We have wetsuits in small sizes for children that will help with their buoyancy- if you feel your child needs to wear a buoyancy aid then this cruise is definitely not suitable for them. Please be aware that it is the parents responsibility to supervise their children during the cruise. We don’t have staff available to supervise their children while you are in the water. On previous cruises, parents have shared supervision responsibilities by swimming at different times to ensure one parent is always available to supervise the child- we will not allow children to be left onboard the vessel unsupervised.

I am a not a strong swimmer/first time snorkeler! Can I still join the tour?

You don’t have to be an Olympic swimmer to join in and no previous snorkelling experience is required (although it is helpful)! Our crew conducts introductory snorkelling lessons and have an excellent track record of helping nervous/ less experienced swimmers through the experience. You will be wearing a 5mm, full length rubber wetsuit which not only keeps you warm but very buoyant as well. Your guide will be driving an aqua scooter- a yellow battery powered device with a propeller that takes all the hard work out of swimming. All you do is grab hold of the guide’s belt and they will use the scooter to tow you around in the water right amongst the action. We always keep you at the surface and allow the dolphins to come to us so you don’t need to worry about holding your breath or swimming below the surface.

Our top tip for nervous swimmers is to make sure that your guide is aware that you are not confident – we are quite skilled at reading peoples body language but some people are very good at covering up their anxiousness for fear of ‘looking silly’. If you tell us we can make sure that you are placed right behind the guide and that we do the extra preparation prior to entering the water to ensure you have the best experience possible.

For those who don’t want to enter the water, consider our spectator rate or our 90 minute Dolphin, Penguin & Sea Lion Adventure Cruise that takes visitors out to watch the dolphins before concluding on Penguin Island in time for the penguin feeding. It’s perfect for families and those who would prefer to enjoy the dolphins from the comfort of the boat.