March: Captain Watson leads a crew with three ocean kayaks to the Gulf of St. Lawrence in violation of his parole order. Hundreds of seals are sprayed with harmless blue dye. Watson defies Canada to arrest him. His conviction of 1980 is later overturned on appeal.

April 6, 1981: Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is registered as a charitable organization in the State of Oregon.

May: The Sea Shepherd II departs on her first voyage – a trans-Atlantic delivery to Alexandria, Virginia, to prepare for a campaign to Soviet Siberia to protect Gray whales.

June: The Sea Shepherd II transits the Panama Canal for the first time en route to Los Angeles and Vancouver to publicize the illegal hunting of gray whales.

July – August: The Sea Shepherd II documents illegal Soviet whaling activities off the coast of Siberia and is pursued by the Soviet Navy. Captain Watson returns to the U.S. with the evidence of Soviet violations, which is turned over to Congress.

September – December: The Sea Shepherd II is berthed at Pier 70 in Seattle for promotion and fundraising activities. In December, the ship moves to Los Angeles.