Commercial passenger boat code prepared for harbours
operating within the Cardigan Bay Candidate SAC
This code has been produced by the owners and skippers
of commercial passenger boats operating out of New
Quay and Aberaeron, in conjunction with officers
from Ceredigion County Council. It has been prepared
with the best available advice/information on how
to avoid disturbance to wildlife. The guidance applies
to all licensed operators.
It is recognised that the Ceredigion Marine Heritage
Coast (MHC) and candidate Cardigan Bay Special Area
of Conservation (SAC) are important areas for marine
wildlife, and the following practices should therefore
be followed at all times within the area:
- Speed limit within the MHC of 8 knots.
- Speed limit of 8 knots within 300m from high
tide line along other stretches.
- Adhere to harbour speed limits.
- Outside these areas be aware of wildlife and
adopt suitable behaviour when coming into contact
- Approach coves as slowly as possible, that is
throttle back before the boat enters the field
of view. NB onshore winds make boats audible long
before they are in view.
- Manoeuvre the boat as little as possible when
close. Minimise the need to switch engines on/off
and anchor or lodge the boat in a stationary
position wherever possible. If conditions require
frequent manoeuvring, limit time spent at site.
- Explain appropriate behaviours to passengers
before moving in close: that is no sudden
movements, get camera ready before hand, keep
a low profile and keep voices low.
- Do not ground the boat on the upper beach on
the top of the tide. Keep a minimum of one boat
length from the tide line. Leave the area slowly
and with the minimum use of throttle.
- Keep a distance of 50m away from those haul
out sites indicated on map.
- Keep a distance of 50m away from those pupping
areas indicated on map from mid-august.
- Avoid pointing the bow of the boat at the seals
- Watch for submerged cows on approach as the
majority are on the bottom just a few metres offshore.
Do not position the boat between mother and pups
and avoid blocking beach access in narrow or shallow
- Watch the seals for signs of disturbance; that
is rapid swimming to and fro, looking wide-eyed
at the boat, sudden panic dives. If animals remain
nervous or alert, consider withdrawing. If animals
move back into the water, you have disturbed them,
make an immediate withdrawal quietly to prevent
an extended stampede.
- Keep a distance of 50m away from those auk colonies
indicated on map from March to mid July.
- Approach quietly and with caution. Be prepared
to back off quietly if there is any indication
of distress (bobbing of heads, erratic movements)
- Any individual should not be approached head
- Throttle back from 300m when approaching.
- Remain stationary or cruise by at 100m from
any individual or group - let them come to you.
- Do not circle around individuals or group.
- Avoid ‘bunching’ around animals.
- Avoid deviating from agreed routes to see animals.