This research note examined encounters, norms, crowding, satisfaction, and displacement among people snorkeling and scuba diving with manta rays at sites in Hawaii. These sites are popular with up to 30 tour boats and 300 participants each day. Data from a survey of 444 participants showed that 82% felt crowded by snorkelers, 78% felt crowded by boats, and 69% felt crowded by scuba divers when viewing manta rays. In reporting their norms, participants stated they would accept seeing an average of no more than 52 snorkelers, 32 scuba divers, and 11 boats at one time. However, 77% of respondents encountered more snorkelers than their norm for seeing snorkelers, 67% saw more scuba divers than they would accept, and 68% encountered more boats than their norm. These participants were more crowded, less satisfied, and more likely to become displaced (not visit again) compared to those who encountered fewer than their norms.
- manta rays
- marine wildlife viewing