Keep Your Distance

  • Help protect seabirds by following these tips:

    • Noise and shadows from low-flying aircraft can scare seabirds, causing them to panic and fly, increasing the chance of a bird strike, nest abandonment or the death of young birds.
    • Avoid direct flyovers or multiple passes over sensitive wildlife can harm both pilots and wildlife.

    NOAA’s Overflight Regulation Areas

    Areas along the California coast require you to fly at or above 1,000 feet AGL. See FAA sectional charts for more details regarding these Overflight Regulation Zones within California’s national marine sanctuaries.

    Know NOAA Regulations before you fly. For complete details go to NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries main website. Other informational resources include Frequently Asked Questions about NOAA’s Overflight Regulations, and a Literature Review of the Effects of Aircraft Disturbances on Marine Wildlife.

    Flying Near Devil's Slide

    HAF PostcardPilots: Make every effort to fly at or above 1,000 feet AGL when traveling along the coast to avoid disturbing sensitive wildlife.


    • Bird and other wildlife strikes cost USA civil aviation over $957 million/year and 583,175 hours of aircraft downtime.
    • 92% of all bird strikes occur at or below 3,000′ AGL. Fly high to avoid strikes.
    • Nearly 1,000 bird strikes occur in California, each year. Avoid areas with high concentrations of birds.

    The California coast is home to more than 600,000 seabirds. During the seabird breeding season (January-August) there is an increased chance of a birdstrike along the coast. Pilots should avoid flying at low altitudes (less than 1,000 feet AGL) to reduce the risk of a birdstrike and to avoid disturbing sensitive wildlife. For up to date information on wildlife strikes, visit the Center for Wildlife and AviationFAA Wildlife Strike Database and Bird Strike Committee USA.

  • Seabirds are sensitive to your presence — approaching too close to seabird colonies in your boat causes birds to fly off, abandoning their nests, that can lead to the loss of eggs and death of chicks, and eventual decreases in populations. Seabirds are best enjoyed from afar.

    Help protect seabirds by following these tips:

    • Paddle, sail or motor around flocks of birds not through them.
    • Do not feed wildlife or attract birds by throwing bait or fish scraps overboard.
    • Recycle or dispose of plastics, fishing hooks and line in the trash — not in the water.
    • Never dump oil, fuel, or other foreign substances into the water or drains.
    • Stay 1,000 feet (3 football fields) from cliffs, offshore rocks and islands.
    • Watch the birds for signs you are too close (head-bobbing or wing-fluttering). If you see these reactions move away.
    • Never discard fishing line overboard, cover bait, and use barbless hooks or artificial lures to avoid hooking birds.
    • Prevent pollution while boating on San Francisco Bay! For more clean boating information visit California’s Boating Clean & Green Program


  • Help protect seabirds by following these tips:

    • Stay on the trail, as one ill-placed foot can damage an underground nesting burrow.
    • Pack out trash and never feed wildlife.
    • Educate other hikers about seabird-safe hiking.


FREE Posters, Tips & Tools

Visit our Resources page for posters, tips or tools. Contact us! for a free presentation at your next club meeting.