B.T.F. (B.A.D.T.O.F.E.E.D.) Guidelines – Dos and Don’ts
Dos for Captains/Guides
1. Pre-departure expectations. Brief your customers on what they can and what they cannot do with wild dolphins and explain why. Minimize dolphin harassment by lowering guests’ expectations.
2. Acknowledge other Captains and be courteous
3. Slow down to idle speed whenever in an area with dolphin tours engaged in dolphin watch or swim.
4. If there are other boats waiting in line to put clients in the water, don’t cut them off. Wait for your turn. When letting clients in the water, stay at a reasonable distance from other boats or jet skis who have clients in the water and wait until their swimmers are back on board
5. Promote “sliding” in the water rather than jumping in (include this in your briefing)
6. Use common sense and work in a spirit of cooperation
7. Remember safety at all times
Don’ts for Captains/Guides
1. Do not feed the dolphins
2. Do not touch the dolphins
3. Do not tease the dolphins by waiving or throwing objects or buckets of water to attract them
4. Do not use your boat to coral dolphins
5. Do not jump on top of the dolphins
6. Do not get between a mother dolphin and her calf. In general, use extreme caution in the presence of mother and calf pairs.
7. Do not drive your boat or jet ski through areas with swimmers
8. Do not insist on letting customers in the water when dolphins show signs of discomfort (repeated changes in direction, avoidance, leaving sandbar for deeper water, long and deep dives)
9. As a jet ski tour guide, do not let go of your machine while you are in the water if other tours are present. Expect same from customers; it is dangerous for swimmers and it creates a hazard to navigation. As a jet ski tour guide, do not stay on top of dolphins with your tour for more time than it takes for your customers to get a good look at the dolphins. By keeping your tour on top of the dolphins, you are not only crowding and upsetting them but you are also keeping other tours from seeing the dolphins.
Action when confronted with non compliance of the guidelines
Take photos if possible.
Write down the name of the individual (if available), the registration number of his craft noting the time and place and the reckless behavior. Bring this information to your employer.
For business owners
In your advertizing, do not suggest to your customers things that might create unreasonable expectations, tempting your captains to harass dolphins to please them: Photos of dolphins being fed or touched.
Educate yourself and have your captains educated about wild dolphin behavior. They should at the very least be able to identify stress and avoidance behavior. Rely on scientific sources as educational materials.