Dolphin Swim Permit Conditions

Polperro Dolphin Swims is Parks Victoria (PV) Licensed Tour Operator and has a Dolphin Swim Permit from the Department of the Energy, Environment and Climate Action (DEECA). The Tour Operator license allows us to conduct tours on crown land and in marine national parks and the Dolphin Swim Permit allows us to conduct dolphin swims in Port Phillip Bay.

Polperro seeks to always undertake operations in accordance with the provisions of our PV license and DEECA permit and the Wildlife (Marine Mammals) Regulations 2019.

The conditions of our Dolphin Swim permit include

Approach distances

  • do not approach closer than 50 metres
  • withdraw to 100 metres if a calf is detected
  • do not approach closer than 300 metres with a prohibited vessel (such as a jet ski)

Approach conditions

  • do not approach head-on or from directly behind
  • avoid being in the path of a dolphin
  • avoid separating an individual from a group
  • avoid being between a mother and calf

Caution zone

  • 150 metre radius of a dolphin

Within the caution zone

  • reduce speed to 5 knots
  • avoid sudden changes in direction and speed
  • leave immediately if a dolphin shows signs of disturbance
  • no more than 3 vessels
  • stay 100 metres away from another tour vessel
  • do not enter for more than 60 minutes per tour
  • do not enter for more than 120 minutes per day
  • do not dispose of food or waste

Swim conditions

  • do not approach dolphins more than 5 times per tour or more than 10 times per day
  • do not swim if a young calf is present or signs of mating are detected
  • passengers must not enter the water within 30 metres of a dolphin
  • do not swim within 100 metres of the low water mark
  • passengers must hold onto a mermaid line while in the water
  • do not reposition the tour vessel during a swim
  • ensure the tour vessel is in neutral gear
  • do not tow swimmers
  • do not use underwater breathing equipment, other than snorkels
  • no more than 10 swimmers in the water at once
  • employees must remain within 10 metres of the mermaid lines
  • employees can only approach a dolphin in the water from the side
  • employees must not attempt to attract or herd a dolphin towards a tour vessel or a person
  • if signs of mating or a young calf are detected once a swim has begun, ensure all persons reboard the vessel and the vessel remain in neutral gear until the dolphins are 100 metres away

For a complete copy of the Wildlife (Marine Mammals) Regulations 2019 and the Wildlife Act 1975, please visit:

Polperro is proud to have instigated the permit system and changes in the legislation under the Wildlife Act (Marine Mammals) Regulations 2019, to ensure protection for the species and their long-term sustainability.