All photography provided by PWWA companies.
Whale watching and ecotourism businesses committed to research, education, and responsible wildlife viewing.
Member companies depart from 19 different ports in Washington State and British Columbia, welcoming nearly 500,000 visitors each 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 population 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-neutral programs 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. While there are a few places throughout the region where you can possibly get a glimpse of these amazing marine creatures from shore, 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.
How to help
Become a member of The Center for Whale Research! The Pacific Whale Watch Association is proud to be a longtime supporter of Ken Balcomb and his team as they continue their fourth decade surveying the Southern Resident orcas and working to recover the population. Help them help the whales. whaleresearch.com
PWWA is 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. For more information about Cascadia, visit cascadiaresearch.org