July 24, 2018
Dolphin Strand Feeding
Dolphins can be seen frequently in the surf, inlet, rivers, and creeks surrounding Kiawah Island. One of the best and most popular spots to see dolphins is Captain Sam’s Inlet, which separates Kiawah from Seabrook Island on the western end of Kiawah’s beach. Dolphins can often be seen actively feeding in this area, most frequently in the two hours on each side of low tide. Sometimes observers will be lucky enough to see dolphins engaged in an activity known as strand feeding.
When dolphins feed, they herd a school of fish or shrimp up onto a sandbar or mudflat. Then the dolphins launch their bodies out of the water to feed. It is a unique behavior that is fascinating to watch, one that only occurs in the Lowcountry and a few, select other areas in the world.
If you make the trek to Captain Sam’s Inlet to watch this behavior please follow these guidelines whenever dolphins are present:
- Do not stand closer than 15 yards from the water’s edge.
- Do not attempt to wade in, touch or grab the dolphins.
- If you are in a boat or kayak, do not come within 50 yards of the dolphins.
- Do not touch, feed, or encourage dolphins to approach you or your boat.
- If dolphins approach you do not chase, follow, or circle dolphins.
- Never approach or separate mother/calf pairs.
All marine mammals, including dolphins, are protected by Federal Law. Fines for harassment, feeding, or attempting to feed dolphins carry fines up to $100,000 and up to 1 year in jail per violation. Any harassment of dolphins should be reported to Beach Patrol (843-518-2880) or NOAA Fisheries Law Enforcement Office (1-800-853-1964).