Tips for Tidepooling in San Diego

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The best time to visit tide pools is during winter months when low tide occurs during daylight hours. But there’s more to know about tide pooling than when to go. These do’s and don’ts from San Diego Coastkeeper will help your family have an enjoyable experience, while diminishing the impact on sea life. Review them with the kids before setting out on your tide pooling adventure.

DO: Know before you go.
Learning about marine life is a great way to prevent risks and increase enjoyment. Different places have different organisms and types of rock. Learn more at www.SDCoastkeeper.org.

DO: Take only pictures.
Don’t take any shells, pebbles or organisms with you. Depending on where you go tide pooling, most of them are protected by law. Resist the temptation to remove items from their natural surroundings; take photos of the pretty things you find and make a tide pooling scrapbook instead.

DO: Watch animals from a distance.
Bring your binoculars and camera; you will be able to see more without getting too close. Marine mammals can get aggressive if they feel cornered or threatened, so don’t approach them. They are also protected by law.

DO: Leave your pets at home.
They could be attacked or chased by wildlife.

DO: Take your trash with you.

Bring a bag and keep the tide pools beautiful for everyone.

DON’T touch sea animals.
Touching can cause damage and/or stress to the sea animals. You can also get hurt. If you really want to touch the organisms, Birch Aquarium has a tide pool where touching is permitted.

DON’T overturn rocks.
The rocks protect fragile and shy creatures; by overturning them, you are exposing animals to the elements.

DON’T feed or try to attract animals.
Animals can become reliant on humans, which is harmful in the long run. Human food can also make animals sick.

DON’T destroy or damage the landscape.
Be mindful of the next tide poolers; keep the landscape beautiful for all to enjoy.

DON’T step on organisms.
Avoid stepping on delicate marine life or dislodging animals. Trampling is one of the biggest damages of tidepooling; it can potentially change the tide pool community.

Keeping good tide pool etiquette is the only way to make sure that future generations will enjoy the same beautiful tide pools we enjoy today. Lastly, have fun!

Check out our list of tide pools to visit in San Diego.

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Tips provided by San Diego Coastkeeper, an organization that protects and restores fishable, swimmable and drinkable waters in San Diego County. For more information, visit www.SDCoastkeeper.org.

Published: December 2014

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