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Marine Sightings

Marine montage by Paul Naylor Have you seen dolphins while out yachting or spotted seals while walking on coastal footpaths? How about an unusual number of jellyfish washed up on the beach, or even something underwater that you have just never seen before? We need to know!

Marine wildlife

Dolphin by Joao Cardoso de JesusWe are interested in all marine wildlife sightings. All records should be submitted with a date, time, location and species name. If you’re not sure of the species of what you’ve seen, a description with as much detail as possible will help us to identify it. If you have any photos of the animal or plant please include these as well as they can provide important confirmation of the record. We have specific forms to use if you see a marine mammal or are reporting seagrass (see below), otherwise, please email us the information to

If you would like to get more involved in regular surveying and recording on the shore or as a SCUBA diver please visit our project pages Shoresearch and Seasearch. We are also interested in records of Seagrass which would contribute to our ongoing Solent Seagrass Project. Please submit your seagrass sightings here.

Marine mammal sightings

Harbour seals by Chas SpradberyMarine mammals including bottlenose dolphins, common seals and even the occasional whale have been seen in our waters but how unusual are they and which areas are important for them? We have joined forces with the South Coast Seal Project and Dorset Marine Mammal Research Programme to gather information on marine mammals from those lucky enough to see these fabulous animals in the wild.

Your marine mammal sightings

Please submit your marine mammal sightings here. The most important details are date, time and location of your sighting. Any extra information including sketches, photos or video footage would be extremely useful.

Please send email records to

All sightings will be entered into Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust database and submitted to all other relevant organisations. Your information will help us gain a better understanding of the marine mammals that use our waters and the threats they face. With this knowledge we can help protect them.

Spotting tips

Download our useful Marine Mammal spotting tips.

For help with identification please download our Marine Mammal Sighting Guide or request a paper or electronic (PDF) copy from Marine Officer Amy Marsden on This guide contains a boat users Code of Conduct which should be followed by all boat users to avoid disturbing the animals or causing distress.

What to do if you find a stranded marine mammal?

Please do not touch, as marine mammals both alive and dead may carry contagious diseases.

If you find a dead whale or dolphin you should call us at our head office 01489 774400 if it is on the mainland, or for an Isle of Wight stranding please call our regional office 01983 529199.

If you find a live whale or dolphin stranded call British Divers Marine Life Rescue on 01825 765546. Remember that a seal on the shore may be resting and not in need of help.