Marine Sightings & Strandings

Our seas are among the best in Europe for spotting whales, dolphins and seals. Seeing one is a once in a life time opportunity, and reporting a sighting (or stranding) can make a huge difference and inform conservation measures.

Would you like the chance to spot a wild marine mammal?

Click here to read about a fanastic offer from the Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust. 

Would like help identifying what you have seen?

You can download our Green Marine Wildlife Guide, produced in conjunction with the RYA Green Blue or go to the RYA Green Blue website for more information.

To explore the digital edition of the Green Marine Wildlife Guide, download the free ‘RYA Books’ app from iTunes and touch the ‘Catalogues & Brochures’ to find the publication.

Would you like to report a sighting?

If you are lucky enough to spot one of these animals, reporting it is really important as it can help to identify valuable areas that these species are using.

A number of groups collect marine sightings throughout the UK and are always interested to know what you have seen, please follow the links below to report your sighting:

Whales, dolphins and porpoises

Basking Sharks, Turtles, Jellyfish and Alien Species

If in Cornwall and the South West, please report to The Cornwall Seal Group
Elsewhere, please report to your local Wildlife Trust

What to do if you find a stranded animal

If you find a stranded whale, dolphin, porpoise, shark or turtle, please contact the relevant authorities:


England, Scotland & Wales (all species) British Divers Marine Life Rescue 08125 765546 or 07787 433412 (out of hours)
England & Wales (all species)  RSPCA 0300 1234999
Scotland (all species) SSPCA 0131 3390111
Northern Ireland (whales, dolphins or porpoises) Irish Whale and Dolphin Group   
Northern Ireland (sick/injured seals) Exploris Aquarium 028 427 28062, if no answer, call the NI Water Pollution Hotline on 0800 807 060
Isle of Man (all species)  MSPCA 01624 851672

If you find a live stranded marine mammal inform the British Divers Marine Life Rescue (see above). They will then advise you about the best action to take.

In the case of a seal, it might also be useful to inform the RSPCA/SSPCA (see above) who will be trained on how to deal with these animals.

Please do not attempt to catch or touch the animal until you have consulted the professionals; it could cause more harm than good to you and the animal.

Please do not try and return animals to the sea without calling for advice. Stranded sea turtles are often suffering from hypothermia and will require urgent medical attention.


England, Scotland & Wales (all species) Cetacean Strandings Investigation Programme 0800 652 0333
Scotland (all species) Scottish Marine Animal Strandings Scheme  07979 245893 (out of hours)
Isle of Man (all species)  Manx Wildlife Trust (Marine Officer)  07624 450879 or 01624 844432