We are delighted to announce that Hebrides Cruises owner, Rob Barlow, was awarded the Gold WiSe Standard at the WiSe ‘Masters’ Course last week in Fort William. Rob is also Skipper on our cruises during the season and is very aware of the necessity of protecting and not disturbing the wildlife we take our guests to see.
The WiSe Scheme is the British standard for wildlife watching. Scottish waters host a fantastic variety of marine wildlife that can be enjoyed by boat but wild animals are vulnerable to disturbance and must be approached in a manner that does not have a negative effect. The Wildlife Safe (WiSe) scheme provides training and accreditation for wildlife cruise operators, and many other types of craft. The scheme advises operators on how best to view and interact with marine wildlife, especially the larger species such as Basking Sharks and cetaceans while minimising disturbance.
Hebrides Cruises have had Wise accreditation for several years, however the gold standard goes a big step further in requiring more indepth knowledge of wildlife and a commitment to helping with research to find out more about the wildlife in our waters
Rob attended lectures, gaining a lot of useful inside knowledge on various wildlife. Basking Sharks were a favourite with information provided on their habitats and travel patterns. He learned about the importance of Scotland in providing habitat for birdlife; over 70% of British birds are found in Scotland. A major topic on the course was the new app being developed by Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust (HWDT) for logging information on birds and cetaceans in the western isles which will be greatly beneficial to research groups and visitors coming to Scotland. Hebrides Cruises are very much part of this new app; our Wildlife Guide Lynsey Bland helped with the development of the app at HWDT and will be using it with our guests on our cruises this season