Sanctuary Ocean Count

Ocean count volunteer looking out binoculars

The Sanctuary Ocean Count is a signature outreach and citizen science project that offers the community – locals and visitors alike – a chance to monitor humpback whales from the shores of Oʻahu, Hawaiʻi and Kauaʻi. The count is conducted three times per year during peak whale season and provides a snapshot of humpback whale sightings from the shoreline.

The count is held the last Saturday of January, February, and March of each year from 8:00 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. The Ocean Count promotes public awareness about humpback whales, the sanctuary, and shore-based whale watching opportunities in the Hawaiian Islands. The Great Whale Count takes place on the same dates on Maui, led by the Pacific Whale Foundation.


The Sanctuary Ocean Count project is highly dependent on and hugely successful due to our enthusiastic and dedicated volunteers. Volunteers monitor the water for humpback whales and document the animals’ surface behavior. We also encourage noting any other species seen. The majority of participants are local residents; however, expanding interest has brought volunteers from all over.

For information about volunteering for the Sanctuary Ocean Count, please contact Cindy Among-Serrao,

The 2021 Ocean Counts are scheduled for the following Saturdays: January 30, February 27, and March 27. Registration can be found at

Project Results

Download the following PDFs for preliminary and final results of the Sanctuary Ocean Count.