Whale & Dolphin Watching

Home » Certification » Whale & Dolphin Watching

What is the WCA Responsible Whale Watching Certification Programme?

The WCA Responsible Whale Watching Certification is awarded to whale and dolphin watching companies that operate to the highest standards of care for local wildlife, sustainability, and customer experience.

Based on the WCA Global Guidelines for Responsible Whale and Dolphin Watching, this certification is the only international label for whale watching companies developed by the industry, for the industry.

Download the Guidelines Here! Watch the Certification Webinar!

Start your certification journey today by signing up below!

Why Become Certified?

  • Be recognised as a leader in your industry with the only global certification programme for responsible whale and dolphin watching;
  • Our certification logo identifies you as a responsible operator tocustomers and tourism professionals;
  • Enjoy exclusive links with large tour operators wishing to raise their standards;
  • Have your business showcased on the WCA Responsible Whale Watching App;
  • Benefit from exclusive promotion through the WCA network, on social media and beyond;
  • Learn and share with a network of like-minded professionals from around the world;
  • Join the World’s largest marine conservation partnership owned and run by you – the Partners!

How Much Does it Cost to Become Certified?

There are two WCA Certification payment options. All new companies signing up the certification programme must pay option 1 in year one but can move onto option 2 in year two if they choose to do so.

Option 1

Certified whale watching companies pay a fixed annual fee: 

US$1250 (developed countries) 
US$625 (developing countries)

All fixed annual fees go to WCA Secretariat to help run the certification programme and the organisation.

Option 2

Certified whale watching companies pay a half priced fixed annual fee: 

US$625 (developed countries) 
US$315 (developing countries)


Company introduces a voluntary donation option for passengers on all trips. This could be online as part of the booking process, or onboard as part of the trip. Donation would be optional for customers and so wouldn’t affect the company’s profits, but partners would be expected  to talk about the WCA and its work, and encourage a donation. These funds will be split 50/50 between WCA Secretariat (International) and WCA Cetacean Fund for cetacean projects in your country. 

On site assessments will still take place every three years, will be run by WCA partners (National Coordinators where possible), and will come at additional cost. 

On-site assessment

All certified whale watching companies are required to complete an on-site assessment every 3 years, the certified company will need to pay for this assessment. These will be conducted by specialist WCA trained whale watching assessors. We will endeavour to keep the costs low by training assessors from across the regions.

3 Steps to Certification

We have created 3 simple steps to help whale watching companies become certified

1. Sign up to the certification programme below: Signing up and paying the certification programme fee gives you access to the support and guidance needed to help you complete your remote assessment.

2. Read our global guidelines – packed full of supporting info!

3. Complete the remote assessment and press submit: You will need to complete a remote assessment within 12 months of signing up to the programme. Provided that you successfully complete the remote assessment you will officially become a certified operator AND become a Partner of the World Cetacean Alliance!

*Certified companies are reassessed annually and receive an on-site assessment every three years.

Sign up now!


On World Oceans Day 2013 the World Cetacean Alliance (WCA) launched as a fledgling partnership made up of a group of dedicated grass roots NGOs, passionate individuals, and commercial whale watching businesses desperate to make a positive difference for whales and dolphins.

Donate NowContact us