The Pacific Whale Watch Association (formerly Whale Watch Operators Association Northwest) consists of 31 hard-working, dedicated whale watching and ecotourism businesses committed to research, education, and responsible wildlife viewing. Member companies depart from 13 different ports in Washington State and British Columbia, taking over 500,000 passengers out every year, creating critical constituencies for conservation.
Each one of our member operators provides a unique experience. Whether it’s a fast, exciting zodiac, the comfort of a larger vessel, or something in-between, there is a PWWA member company that’s just right for you!
All members of the PWWA have a great respect and admiration for the Pacific Northwest and its magnificent wildlife, regarding them as family. Many of our captains and naturalists are marine scientists and educators, and we consider our boats to be classrooms on the water. We're also committed to direct conservation, using our extraordinary access to these sensitive populations of marine mammals to help protect them for generations to come.
PWWA is also a longtime supporter of The Center for Whale Research and the important work Ken Balcomb and his team do to help recover the region's federally protected Southern Resident Community of orcas. We're also proud to assist the important work of Dr. John Calambokidis and Cascadia Research Collective, a scientific and education organization based in Olympia, Washington studying and protecting threatened marine mammals. Our distinctive, stable, all-weather, USCG 100-mile-certified vessels are important platforms for researchers, and the information and photography our own biologists, naturalists, captains and even passengers compile and share with The Center, Cascadia and other scientists and institutions are critical data advancing the understanding and long-term survivability of these populations.
PWWA is one of the most progressive ecotourism business associations in the world. In the early 1990s, long before federal mandates, we developed a dynamic set of local whale and wildlife viewing guidelines that became a model for sustainable practices worldwide. These have been modified throughout the years to adjust for the newest and best available science. We've created no-boat foraging zones, minimized underwater noise with speed limits and sonar restrictions, and created clear corridors for Southern Resident orcas to travel. These "Best Practices" became the blueprint for NOAA Fisheries and Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada in drafting regulations to mitigate potential vessel impacts to Endangered orcas, and PWWA continues to be a critical player in these international efforts to recover the population. Our member boats have state-of-the-industry green technology, with some operators now running groundbreaking new systems that dramatically reduce exhaust and increase fuel efficiency. Others participate in carbon-nuetral programs, many in salmon restoration projects, and all are completely committed to reducing our footprint in this spectacular and delicate part of the planet.
We consider the Sound and Straits of the Salish Sea to be one large, international park, and our crews to be your authorized guides and rangers. There are lots of great places throughout the region to possibly get a glimpse of these amazing marine creatures from shore, but there really is nothing like seeing them from one of our boats, driven by licensed, Coast Guard-certified, emergency safety-trained captains and crews with decades of experience operating around whales.
Book a trip with one of our PWWA members today.
PACIFIC WHALE WATCH ASSOCIATION BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Michael Harris / Baby Wild Films
Phone: (206) 465-6692
Brian Goodremont / San Juan Safaris and San Juan Outfitters
Phone: (360) 378-1962
Alan McGillivray / Prince of Whales Whale Watching
Phone: (604) 274-9565
Cedric Towers / Vancouver Whale Watch
Phone: (604) 274-9565
Drew Schmidt / San Juan Cruises
Phone: (360) 378-3499
Anna Hall, PhD.
Immediate Past President
Shane Aggergaard / Island Adventures Whale Watching
A humpback breaches off San Juan Island, WA.
Photo: San Juan Outfitters.
Anacortes Kayak Tours - Anacortes, WA
BC Whale Tours - Victoria, BC
Carli Whale Watching - Friday Harbor, WA
Deception Pass Tours - Anacortes, WA
Deer Harbor Charters - Deer Harbor, WA
Eagle Wing Tours - Victoria, BC
Five Star Whale Watching - Victoria, BC
Great Pacific Adventures - Victoria, BC
Island Adventures Whale Watching - Everett and Anacortes, WA
Island Mariner Whale Watching Cruises - Bellingham, WA
Legacy Charters - Friday Harbor, WA
Maya's Westside Whale Charters - Snug Harbor, WA
Mystic Sea Charters - Anacortes, WA
Ocean EcoVentures - Cowichan Bay, BC
Orca Spirit Adventures Group - Victoria, BC
Orcas Island Eclipse Charters - Orcas Island, WA
Outer Island Expeditions - Eastsound, WA
Prince of Whales Whale Watching - Vancouver and Victoria, BC
Puget Sound Express - Port Townsend, WA
San Juan Cruises - Bellingham, WA
San Juan Excursions - Friday Harbor, WA
San Juan Island Outfitters - Roche Harbor and Friday Harbor, WA
San Juan Island Whale & Wildlife Tours - Friday Harbor, WA
San Juan Safaris - Friday Harbor, WA
Sidney Whale Watching - Sidney, BC
Springtide Charters - Victoria, BC
Steveston Seabreeze Adventures - Steveston, BC
Vancouver Whale Watch - Steveston, BC
Victoria Clipper - Seattle, WA and Victoria, BC
Western Prince Whale Watching - Friday Harbor, WA
Wild Whales Vancouver - Vancouver, BC
A humpback breaches off Friday Harbor on June 14, 2013, with PWWA founding member Capt. Dan Wilk and Orcas Island Eclipse Charters watching from the Orcas Express. Humpback whales have made a spectacular return to the Sound and Straits after once been wiped out in these waters by commercial hunting. Watch for them this fall in the Inland Sea of BC and Washington as they make their way south from Alaska to the mating grounds off Hawai'i, an inside route they once avoided but now use quite often, sometimes spending weeks and months here in our local waters, exhibiting the same gregarious, seemingly carefree behavior they're famous for at the beginning and end of their epic migrations. They seem to love it here again, and we love having them.