Rome Point Seals
In recent years, incidents of the seals at Rome Point being
disturbed and chased away from the haul-out have increased; however, we
are pleased to note that the spring season of 2011 showed a marked
reduction in the seal harassment events we recorded.
almost all cases, boat operators or kayakers are responsible
for these unfortunate occurrences. The seals need their rest and
the stress associated with being chased from the rocks has a
negative impact on these animals. Sometimes the seals will be
harassed repeatedly several times in a day or on several consecutive
days by different watercraft. Being disturbed is
troublesome for the pregnant female seals in the spring; pup-bearing
seals need to conserve their energy for their northern migration.
In addition, the thoughtless
disturbance of the seals can spoil an outing for hopeful seal watchers
who have walked out to Rome Point to observe seals in a responsible
Romepointseals.org does not look
kindly upon watercraft operators who disturb or harass the seals.
Why take a boat out to bother the seals
when you can
see the seals much better from a calm, stable onshore location
using relatively inexpensive sport optics? I have been
this location for 8 years and have
detailed notes recording the names, registration numbers, and
descriptions of boats
and kayaks that have disturbed or harassed the seals in the past.
Everyone deserves the benefit of the doubt;
or intentional violators of the
Federal Marine Mammal Protection Act that we observe will be videotaped and our eyewitness account will be submitted to the
We recognize that in most cases mariners do not intend to cause
any harm, they just want to get an up-close look at the seals.
sympathy lies especially with kayakers, who may not realize
harbor seals are very sensitive to their presence and can be disturbed
kayaks as far as 1/2 mile away. Mariners who are navigating
the vicinity of hauled-out seals in winter are advised to observe the
way to observe seals at Rome Point is from shore using a
is invited to join me and the other seal observers on
the Rome Point shore; I am always eager to share my scope with all
interested persons and families. Kayakers are urged to beach
in Bissel Cove and walk across the point to view the seals. The seals, as well as your
neighbors and fellow nature lovers, will think most highly of you for
your kind consideration.
For anyone who is looking for a fun and educational excursion on the bay in winter, we
recommend the excellent seal watch cruises offered by Save The Bay out
of Newport, RI. The expert captains of the Alletta Morris
how to get close enough to the seals to get great views without
bothering them, while the knowledgeable naturalists on board can tell
you all about seals.
The Bay Seal Tours
- Boats must
maintain a distance of at least 50 yards and should plan to
view the seals quietly, using binoculars. If
seals are leaving the rocks and entering the water because of the
presence of a boat or kayak, that vessel is too close and is in
violation of Federal law.
not approach the seal haul-out site. Boats
should maintain their distance and pass the rocks under power,
the tide and wind to maintain a course parallel to the rocks, but far enough away that the seals remain undisturbed.
- Do not shout, sound the horn, attempt to feed seals, or allow dogs on
board to bark at the seals. Avoid sudden movements on the
the seals for signs that your presence is disturbing them, such as:
looking at you, increased activity, stretching their
necks into the air, or starting
to move towards the water. Back off immediately if
the seals are reacting to your presence.
paddling in the vicinity of Rome Point when seals are present should
hug the coastline along the western shore of Narragansett Bay.
To avoid disturbing the seals you must stay as close
shore as possible; if you stay inside of the outer-most,
rock at the point there is a good chance that you can sneak past the
seals. Proceed quickly and quietly through the area, staying
close to the shore until 1/2 mile past the haul-out rocks.
Alternately, kayaks are advised to proceed around the north side of Fox
island and stay at least 300 yards from the seal haul-out rocks as they
pass by down the center of the west passage.
haul-out rocks with a kayak will
definitely scare the seals away. We
have definitely observed a
significant increase in awareness among the kayaking community that
is a special marine mammal habitat over the past couple of years.
We extend our gratitude to the conscientious paddlers who
we see going out of their way to avoid spooking the seal
herd; your exemplary conservation ethics have not gone un-noticed, and
your considerate actions are greatly appreciated.
© 2008-2012 Romepointseals.org