1. Safety first

2. Support its pectoral fins

If the animal is on its side and small enough, roll it gently upright with its pectoral fins tucked into its sides - keeping your face away from its blowhole as you do so.

Dig shallow trenches beneath its pectoral fins to prevent them from being bent unnaturally, should it roll to one side.

3. Protect it from the elements

Wind and sun can be very damaging to a cetacean’s skin. If there are windbreaks or umbrellas nearby, use them to shield the animal.

4. Keep its skin wet

To prevent the animal's skin from cracking and keep its body temperature down (marine mammals can overheat quickly when out of the water, even in winter), cover it with seaweed or wet sheets and pour water over it gently and repeatedly. Make sure no water enters the blowhole.

Do not cover a dolphin’s eyes. Far from the calming effect this has on some animals, this can cause a dolphin to panic.

5. Send someone to a pharmacy

If there is a pharmacy nearby, send someone to buy a non-perfumed, inert lubricant. A BDMLR medic is trained to apply this to areas such as the eyes, blowhole and dorsal fin to help stop these vulnerable areas from drying out.

6. Look for signs of injury

Make a note of any injuries. If there are a few of you, have one person monitor and record breathing rate.

Take photographs with your phone from different angles as these will be useful to BDMLR. It gives the BDMLR coordinator at the end of the phone the opportunity to assess body condition and any species-specific considerations.

7. Sing (yes really!)

Cetaceans become stressed when stranded and there can sometimes be a wait before refloating is appropriate. Dolphins respond to being sung to, so don’t be shy.