Wild dolphin conservation program welcomes new Southwest Florida tour business



Captain Brian Holaway is recognized as Dolphin SMART
NOAA Fisheries Service and its partners welcome


Captain Brian Holaway to Dolphin SMART – a unique wild dolphin conservation program. Dolphin SMART is a program that awards annual recognition to tour operators who responsibly view wild dolphins and educate their patrons on dolphin conservation. Captain Brian Holaway operates a charter out of Captiva, Florida, specializing in shelling, nature photography, and natural history.


“We are pleased to have Captain Brian Holaway as part of Dolphin SMART,” said Grant
Craig, NOAA Fisheries Service’s Southwest Florida Dolphin SMART coordinator. “His tours
promote ethical and sustainable viewing of wild dolphins ensuring important dolphin behaviors such as nursing or feeding are not disturbed.”
Viewing dolphins from a responsible distance is a cornerstone of the Dolphin SMART
program. According to scientists, close viewing of wild dolphins may disrupt important natural behaviors resulting in negative impacts to the health of dolphin groups and their young.
Advertising only natural wild dolphin behaviors is another important feature of the program;
rather than showing close human interactions that may disrupt important behaviors.
“I am proud to be associated with Dolphin Smart,” said Brian Holaway, charter captain
and guide, “I look forward to educating children as well as adults about the marine mammals
that inhabit the Southwest Coast of Florida.”
Captain Brian Holaway is one of 13 Dolphin SMART recognized operators in Florida,
Alabama, and Hawaii. NOAA encourages visitors to Southwest Florida, the Florida Keys,
Alabama, and Hawaii to “look before you book” and support wild dolphin conservation by
patronizing a Dolphin SMART business. Vessels of participating businesses carry a Dolphin
SMART flag and decal with the current calendar year. Each year, participants are evaluated to ensure they continue to meet program standards. A list of Dolphin SMART businesses is
available online at





The Dolphin SMART program was developed by NOAA’s Fisheries Service and Office of
National Marine Sanctuaries, Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society, and Dolphin Ecology Project. The acronym “SMART” is a reminder of the basic principles of dolphin viewing etiquette:


Stay at least 50 yards from dolphins,


Move away slowly if the dolphins show signs of disturbance,
Always put your vessel engine in neutral when dolphins are near,


Refrain from feeding, touching, or swimming with wild dolphins,

Teach others to be Dolphin SMART.

Brian Holaway

I have been a Shelling Guide to Cayo Costa State Park since 1995. Many people know me as the Shelling Guide and Captain with Captiva Cruises over the past 20 years. In 2016 I began solely offering private small boat charters to the islands of Pine Island Sound including Cayo Costa State Park, Cabbage Key, Useppa Island, Pine Island and North Captiva. I am a certified Florida Master Naturalist, licensed USCG Captain, avocational photographer, seashell enthusiast and passionate about the history, people and culture of Southwest Florida, especially Cayo Costa. I volunteer as a member of Friends of Cayo Costa State Park and have great respect for the heritage of Cayo Costa. My goal is to provide guests with an overall experience and appreciation for the waters, islands, shells, plants, marine life, wildlife, history and people of this unique area of Southwest Florida.

  • Nancy J
    Posted at 11:55h, 06 March

    WOW!!! What an honor to be chosen to represent Dolphin SMART – congratulations on a very well deserved designation!!

  • Kim@Snug Harbor
    Posted at 11:55h, 06 March

    Way to go Brian! That's a great thing to promote and teach people.

  • Traci
    Posted at 02:57h, 07 March

    congrats Brian!!!! Yes, I know first hand Brian is dolphin smart and practices the SMART guidelines so its no surprise he has gained the recognition and has been accepted to be apart of Dolphin SMART!

    Remember the HUGE pod of dolphins we saw on our trip Brian! We were being very dolphin SMART!!!!

    Your the BEST!!!!! 😉