Whales, Dolphins or Porpoises

A beached whale, dolphin or porpoise should be reported immediately and left alone pending further instruction. Call the New England Aquarium's 24-hour Marine Animal Hotline: (617) 973-5247. Please try to remain calm and leave your name and a phone number where you can be reached.

Sea Turtles

Sea turtles in our region do not typically come ashore unless they are seriously debilitated. Call the New England Aquarium's 24-hour Marine Animal Hotline: (617) 973-5247. Please try to remain calm and leave your name and a phone number where you can be reached.

Seals

Seals belong on the beach. It’s normal. Please don’t disturb them. Unlike whales or dolphins, seals are semi-aquatic and are comfortable out of the water. Most seals come onto beaches to sleep, nurse or soak up some sun.

What should you do if you spot a seal on the beach?

Seals are cute, but they are wild animals and should not be disturbed. By getting too close, you could upset the seal or possibly get bitten.

Watch quietly from at least 150 feet away.

Keep dogs away from the seal.

Do not offer the seal food or water.

Do not pour water on the seal or try to cover it with a towel or blanket.

Do not try to make the seal move.

Does the seal look injured or unhealthy?

Most seals on the beach are perfectly healthy, but sometimes they do need human assistance. Does the seal have any obvious injuries, gunky eyes, or look skinny or underweight? If the seal does, please take notes on its location, size, coloring and behavior and call the New England Aquarium’s Marine Animal Hotline at (617) 973-5247.

All marine mammals are protected by the Marine Mammal Protection Act. This law makes it illegal to touch, disturb, feed or otherwise harass marine mammals without authorization.

Volunteer

Our Marine Animal Rescue Team relies very heavily on volunteer support. At the Aquarium, volunteers assist us in our hospital by providing care to rescued animals as well as working in the office and necropsy lab. Field volunteers play a vital role as our eyes and ears on the beaches providing us with detailed information about animals that come ashore. Once properly trained, they also can assist with supportive care and transportation of stranded animals. Learn more about volunteer opportunities.