The WiSe Scheme is the UK standard for commercial marine wildlife watching. Recognising the need to develop and maintain the highest standards, we seek collaborative opportunities to work with like-minded organisations (nationally and internationally) to raise standards and develop new, workable initiatives.


WiSe (Wildlife Safe) aims to promote responsible wildlife-watching, through training, accreditation and awareness-raising.

The WiSe Scheme comprises three levels of WiSe membership, details of which are set out below. The core element to WiSe, is a modular training and accreditation course aimed primarily at operators of passenger pleasure craft, wildlife cruise operators, dive and service boats, and yacht skippers. These individuals are most likely to come into contact with marine wildlife, as they are out on the water on a regular basis.

WiSe training

This consists of instruction in how to best to responsibly watch wildlife, whilst at the same time minimising any potential disturbance. All WiSe accredited operators will have received instruction in how to handle their craft whilst in contact with any of these animals, how they may react to the presence of boats, and how to leave them room to carry on with their lives unimpeded.

All WiSe operators will have received instruction into their local and national laws relating to wildlife. They will also have received instruction on species identification, life history and behaviour of a range of species they may encounter in their local waters. All WiSe operators will have agreed to abide by our Codes of Conduct for all of the species covered by WiSe, as well as all relevant local or national laws and bylaws.

WiSe Instructors have been specially selected in all areas around the UK for their years of experience in the field, their knowledge of the species likely to be encountered in their locality, and local conservation issues relating to marine wildlife that are of particular relevance.

Levels of membership

The three levels of WiSe membership are set out here:

Affiliate WiSe membership

  • For people interested in minimising their disturbance on marine wildlife whilst on the water. For example, students, marine guides, wildlife rescuers, sailing club members, and other interested members of the general public
  • Instruction is through attending a standard training course or alternatively a 90 min presentation/DVD provided by a WiSe Instructor or nominated speaker
  • Attendees are provided with course materials (paper / CD)
  • There is no requirement for a refresher course, as no accreditation is provided.

Full WiSe membership

  • This forms the basis for the accredited WiSe Scheme professional standard
  • WiSe members commit to abide by not only national and local laws on wildlife conservation and disturbance avoidance, but also the WiSe Codes of Conduct, in addition to any local wildlife-watching codes
  • Accreditation lasts for 3 years, when the operator should apply to attend a refresher course, or alternatively the operator can attend a Master Class and upgrade their membership level.
  • Full WiSe training course – 6-8 hours interactive training, classroom-based
  • WiSe members are provided with
    • Full set of course materials (paper / CD)
    • A WiSe boat sticker and flag, for use when the accredited skipper is directing the boat
    • Use of the WiSe logo for their promotional brochures or website.
    • They are included on the WiSe Scheme public website, with a link to their own website.

Master WiSe membership

  • This is the WiSe Scheme professional standard ‘plus’ – The Gold WiSe standard of membership.
  • Pre-requisites – the boat operator usually needs to have:
    • Been a standard WiSe member for at least 3 years
    • Attended a WiSe MasterClass course – a one day workshop to refresh skills and gain new knowledge
  • WiSe Masters commit not only to the WiSe Codes of Conduct, and local codes, but also to:
    • Provide sightings data to the relevant sightings collection organisation
    • Provide any useful photo-identification images to relevant research groups
  • WiSe Masters receive all the benefits of standard WiSe membership, plus:
    • Have their Master status acknowledged on the WiSe Scheme public web site.
    • Use of the WiSe Master logo for their promotional brochures, websites and an upgraded flag/sticker.

The WiSe Scheme is guided by the ISEAL Code of Good Practice for Setting Social and Environmental Standards.