Are male elephant seals dangerous to divers?

Question from Nervous Surfer:

I saw the video of the male elephant seal attacking a diver! Are they really that dangerous!?!?! Is it cool to surf near them?

Answered by SamanthaSimmons

Elephant seals are wild animals, interacting with them is as dangerous as interacting with any wild animal. If that seal had really been 'attacking', the diver could easily have had a crushed skull! If you see an elephant seal while surfing, give it the respect you would any other animal. Also remember the Marine Mammal Protection Act gives all marine mammals federal protection from harassment by humans that has the potential to disturb by causing disruption of behavioral patterns including but not limited to migration, breathing, nursing, breeding, feeding or sheltering.