One of the joys of going to the beach is being able to see dolphins surf in the waves, or spotting a group of seals resting off the coast. The National Aquarium’s Marine Animal Rescue Program works hard throughout the year to monitor and respond to marine animals that inhabit Maryland’s coast, while educating the public about keeping our waterways safe and healthy for the animals we love so much.
Annual dolphin counts help marine mammal specialists capture a snapshot look about dolphin populations, reproduction rates and ocean health. We have learned that bottlenose dolphins use Maryland waters as a thoroughfare for migration, summertime breeding, and feeding along the way. With the help of volunteers we will continue to gather and analyze this information and learn more about the state of our waters and the dolphin populations that are found off our coast.
The annual Dolphin Count involves spending a few hours on the beach watching the water for passing dolphins and filling out a data sheet. Aquarium staff will be stationed at the following locations:
- Assateague State Park (Day Use Area)
- 40th street in Ocean City at the beach
- 130th street in Ocean City at the beach
Members of the public are welcome to join Aquarium staff at one of the above locations! Just look for Aquarium staff in blue shirts looking toward the water for dolphins! The count will begin at 9am and end at noon. The event is free and open to the public. As a reminder, it is always helpful to bring the following items for comfort:
- A beach chair or blanket
- Water to keep hydrated
- Sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses
- Binoculars, optional
On Thursday, July 21st, join us at Seacrets: Jamaica USA (49th street in Ocean City, MD) from 3:30pm – 9:00pm for a special fundraiser to benefit the Aquarium’s Marine Animal Rescue Program. Aquarium staff will have games and activities for kids beginning at 3:30 and all cover fees will be donated to the Marine Animal Rescue Program from 5-9. Join staff and volunteers for fun games and activities, and learn more about their important work in Ocean City!
For more information on either event, email MARP@aqua.org.
So, how many dolphins do you think we’ll count?