If you spot a seal on a beach, keep your distance. Seals and other marine mammals are protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act, which requires people to stay at least 150 feet away from all marine mammals. A sick or injured seal can easily be spooked back into the water, where they can’t be reached by rescue organizations.
Also, remember that seals are semi-aquatic and do not need to be wet all of the time. In fact, seals naturally spend time out of the water to rest, regulate their temperature and give birth.
If you’re concerned about a seal, don’t hesitate to call a hotline for stranded marine mammals. In Maine, the hotline is 1-800-532-9551. You can also call the NOAA Fisheries 24-hour Stranding Hotline at 866-755-6622. This hotline covers all of New England and the Mid Atlantic and will direct your call to the right organization.
Be prepared to describe what you and where you’re located. You may also be asked to take a photo of the animal.