Elephant Seal molting on urban beach
harbor porpoise strandingPTMSC is part of the Northwest Marine Mammal Stranding Network, which is overseen by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

As a regional stranding network, PTMSC staff and volunteers respond to stranding reports, keep shoreline users at a safe distance, and collect data from dead animals. PTMSC covers the shoreline from Brinnon to Diamond Point, WA.

The Northwest Marine Mammal Stranding Network program was formalized by 1992 Amendments to the Marine Mammal Protection Act. NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) is the lead agency and coordinates related activities. Volunteer stranding networks exist in all coastal states and are authorized through Stranding Agreements from NMFS regional offices.

To report a stranding
Call the PTMSC Marine Mammal Stranding Network reporting line:

360-385-5582 ext 103

This message line is checked several times a day. Messages left on other extensions may not be received the same day.

Taking photographs of the animal is extremely helpful.
You may be asked to email your photos to our staff.

How do I know if a marine mammal is stranded?

A stranding occurs in the wild and involves one or more marine mammals. A stranded marine mammal may be: dead onshore or floating in the water; alive but injured or unable to return the water; or alive but unable to return to its natural habitat without assistance. Any animal that appears injured, in distress or out of its natural habitat should be reported. When in doubt, please report the animal.

Steller sea lionsSeals and sea lions come ashore for part of each day to rest, regulate their temperature and socialize. This is normal behavior. Keep 100 yards from marine mammals onshore if possible. Do not attempt to touch, harass or feed marine mammals.

Harbor seals are very common in our area. From June to October it is not unusual to find seal pups resting on shore. Pups come to shore, sometimes in very busy public locations, while their mothers feed offshore. The pup may call for its mother and the mother may be visible in the water. She is not likely to return until after dark when she feels safe to come ashore. Do not attempt to feed, touch, move, or return the seal pup to water.

Whales, dolphins and porpoises should never be out of water. Some whale species, such as Gray Whales, feed in shallow habitat close to shore. This can sometimes be mistaken for stranding.
Stranded Gray Whale Stranded gray whale
molting elephant seal Elephant seal, molting elephant seal molting on street
Seal with protective signageseal pup
Harbor seal pup

Port Townsend Marine Science Center - The Link to Action from Al Bergstein on Vimeo.

Orca stranding
The 2002 stranding of a killer whale near Dungeness Spit attracted the attention of scientists nationwide and led to many new educational and community involvement projects at PTMSC.

Find out more about the Orca Project, and be sure to visit our new exhibit, Learning from Orcas—the Story of Hope.

Stranding Network volunteersFind out what our trained PTMSC volunteers do in response to marine mammal strandings. NOAA_StrandingNetworkThe PTMSC Stranding Network is part of NOAA's nationwide system of Stranding Networks. Steller sea lionsLearn about the variety of marine mammals seen in local waters seasonally and year round. elephant seal Keep up with news about marine mammals in our area. Follow sightings and events on our blog.