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DO NOT approach within 50m of a dolphin

If you are in a boat, kayak or other watercraft please do not chase and approach the dolphins. In South Australia it is illegal to approach within 50m of a dolphin and 150m of a mother and her calf or a dolphin that is sick or injured. It is important the dolphins have the opportunity to rest and feed.

DO NOT feed or harass the dolphins

Please never feed the dolphins. Feeding wild dolphins is incredibly harmful for them. It alters their behaviour and causes them to hang around boats and areas where people are fishing. This increases the likelihood of them being hit by a boat, caught in fishing line or deliberately harmed. It is illegal to feed wild dolphins.

Dispose unwanted line and rubbish properly

If you are fishing please reel in your lines if dolphins are nearby and dispose of all unwanted line and rubbish properly. Fishing line and other discarded rubbish can kill or cause serious injury to dolphins and other wildlife.

Patawalonga Dolphins

About the  

Patawalonga dolphins

There is currently one dolphin that regularly travels in and out of the Patawalonga Lake: A sub-adult dolphin named June, born in 2015. June's friend Summer also occasionally enters the Pat. 

Dolphins are able to enter and exit the Patawalonga (the ‘Pat’) – when the water gates are open or when a boat uses the adjacent lock.

Dolphins get trapped in the boat lock

Approaching the boat lock

Patawalonga sea gates open

Sometimes the dolphins become trapped in the boat lock if they enter the lock from the opposite direction the boat is travelling.


If this happens, we ask people to please call the lock number (08) 8406 2600 so that the dolphins can be released from the boat lock either back into the Pat or back out to the open sea.


Please help our dolphins

It is an offence to feed, touch or harm dolphins.

Strict penalties apply. 

The dolphins in the Pat face similar threats from humans that other wild dolphins face, such as harassment, being fed, fishing line entanglements, boat strike and effects of pollution. In the Pat, the danger of these threats may be increased because the dolphins are in a more confined area.



Is a dolphin in the boat lock?

  • Boat owners are aware that dolphins use the boat lock and will switch off motors if possible.

  • If a dolphin is trapped in the lock without a boat, please call  8406 2600.

Please call the Marine Mammal Emergency number (0427 556 676) if you see:

  • people feeding or harassing dolphins 

  • a sick, injured or deceased dolphin

Learn about Port River dolphins

How and when to help dolphins

Photos of the Patawalonga dolphins

All photographs, video footage and content of this website are the copyright of Marianna Boorman unless otherwise stated and may not be used or reproduced without her prior written consent.

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