The SMART Operator programme aims to promote responsible behaviour around dolphins, whales and seals by boat operators.


SMART - Sustainable Marine Mammal Actions in Recreation & Tourism.

SMART (Sustainable Marine Mammal Actions in Recreation and Tourism) is a voluntary collaboration between commercial boat operators and DOC for the protection of marine mammals in New Zealand.

Effect of tourism on marine mammals

Tourism can affect marine mammals by changing their behaviour or direction of travel, and reducing the opportunity for feeding, resting and social behaviour.

Changes in behaviour may result in physiological stress, displacement to suboptimal areas, and/or reduced calving success. Dolphins and whales, particularly calves and juveniles, may be injured from boat propellers due to poor boating practice.

How you can help

Recreational boat operators: Learn more about boating around marine mammals.

Visitors: Choose a SMART Operator when boating in areas where there are marine mammals. SMART Operators commit to being leaders in responsible boating around marine mammals.

Commercial boat operators: Contact your local DOC office to find out how to participate in the Smart Operator programme.

Abel Tasman

Abel Tasman Eco Tours
Activity: Nature cruises in Abel Tasman
Phone: 0800 223 538

R & R Kayaks
Activity: Guided kayaking tours (part, full and multi-day) in Abel Tasman
Phone: 0508 223 224

Banks Peninsula

Akaroa Dolphins Cruises
Activity: Dolphin viewing and nature cruises in Akaroa harbour
Phone: +64 3 304 7866

Black Cat Cruises
Activity: Dolphin viewing, swimming and nature cruises in Akaroa and Lyttleton harbours
Phone: +64 3 304 7643

Pohatu Penguins

Activity: Nature and sea kayak tours in Akaroa

Phone: +64 3 304 8542



Marlborough Sounds

E-Ko Tours, Picton (formally Dolphin Watch & Nature Tours)
Activity: Dolphin viewing, swimming and guided nature tours in Queen Charlotte Sound
Phone:  +64 3 573 8040


For more information email or ring the DOC Waitohi/Picton office +64 3 520 3002.

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