Guidelines for Seal Encounters this Summer
Recently a number of human-seal interactions have come to
the attention of the Organization involving both open sea
swimmers and divers. The following is a set of guidelines we
offer to swimmers who may encounter seals while swimming
species of seals are found around the coasts of Ireland, the
Grey and the Common Seal. The Grey Seal is larger than the
Common Seal and despite their name, the Common Seal is not
as common as the Grey Seal. Male Grey Seals can grow to
about 8 feet long and weight up to 330Kgs.
Coast users will be familiar with seals
and as a general rule they are shy of humans, boats, jet skis etc.
However, we have noticed a greater interaction between seals and
humans in recent years in more populated areas. To our knowledge,
these interactions are purely of a friendly and curious nature.
Lets not forget there are two types of
- Those initiated
by humans: These are ill-advised, e.g. approaching, petting,
feeding seals etc.
- Those initiated
by seals. These are far more rare and of more concern to the
Open Sea Swimmer.
On record they are of just a playful or
curious nature. Bearing in mind the size and wildness of the animal,
and your vulnerability in the water, we offer the following
- DO NOT swim
- DO NOT panic,
as the seal is unlikely to be anything but curious.
- DO NOT encourage
physical contact with the seal, either friendly or threatening.
- DO NOT make
any assumptions as to what the seal may do. These interactions
are new behaviours.
- DO keep
the seal under observation.
- DO cease
energetic swimming. Thread the water or breaststroke.
- DO use
- DO splash
at the seal when it is above the surface.
- DO warn
other swimmers in the water.
Our Organization offers
these guidelines to avoid both accidents for swimmers and
seals. Please report any such unusual occurrences to Our
Organization to formulate best response to over friendly seals.
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