Wildlife and Responsible Paddleboarding
We want everyone to have an amazing time paddleboarding in our beautiful area. We would just like to highlight how you can enjoy being on the water responsibly to protect the amazing wildlife you may encounter so it sticks around for generations to come.
Marine wildlife is sensitive to disturbance, especially when they have young, are resting, feeding or socialising. Paddleboards are really quiet; seals and birds can be unaware until they are remarkably close, causing them to panic and flee, in some cases resulting in injury. It costs them valuable energy only replenished by hunting and fishing, rather than resting. This causes weight loss and can increase the risk of infection and diseases.
Around 50% of the EU’s seabirds are found around the UK coastline, but over the past few years their breeding success has reduced alarmingly. For cliff nesting seabirds their vulnerable time is mid-May to early July because the adults are with their eggs and young chicks. If adults are suddenly scared off the ledges, their young may fall or be taken by predators.
We know nobody deliberately wants to harm wildlife so here area few hints and tips so you don’t accidentally disturb our local residents.
(If they are in the water and approach you, this is different. Wildlife encounters are all the more special if they choose to come to you!)
Keep at least 200m away from seals if they are out of the water on a beach or rocks
Paddle at least 100-200m from cliffs with nesting birds.
Never land on a beach with a colony of seals, except in an emergency. A sudden disturbance can lead to pups being squashed or separated from their parents. When female seals don't have young pups, they will often be pregnant, and need to rest as much as possible to birth a pup of decent enough weight to survive.
Don’t linger for too long (15 mins max) when you are close to wildlife. By all means look, but then move on.
As well as avoiding disturbance to marine animals, avoid damaging plants and the habitats that the animals depend upon.
Remember, you are sharing the environment – leave it undisturbed for the wildlife and those who follow.