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    Glacier Bay

    National Park & Preserve Alaska

Point Dundas to Point Gustavus Vessel Speed and Course Restrictions Lifted

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Date: September 18, 2006

Vessel Speed and Course Restrictions Lifted

In Accordance with Title 36 Code of Federal Regulations 13.65 (b)(3)(ix)(A)

Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve Superintendent Tomie Lee announced today that the 13 knot speed limit for vessels traveling in Park waters between Point Dundas and Point Gustavus has been lifted. This restriction went into effect on June 6 to protect numerous humpback whales that were frequenting the area. Recently the number of humpback whales sighted in this area has declined significantly, resulting in the cancellation of these special vessel operating restrictions as of 5AM on Tuesday September 19, 2006.

Boaters should note that due to the continued presence of numerous humpback whales in Whidbey Passage, a 13 knot vessel speed limit and mid-channel vessel course restriction will remain in effect until further notice. Whidbey Passage is the only area in the park where vessel speed or course restrictions remain in effect to protect the endangered humpback whale.

Speed and course restrictions in whale waters are intended to reduce the disruption of feeding humpback whales and to lower the risk of whale/vessel collisions. Boaters should proceed cautiously in all areas where whales are present because whales may surface in unexpected locations, posing a hazard to both the vessel and the whale. Although humpback whales tend to be distributed along the shoreline, boaters should note that whales frequently cross mid-channel as they move between feeding sites. If accidentally positioned within ¼-mile of a whale, vessel operators must slow immediately to 10 knots or less and steer the vessel on a steady course away from the whale until their vessel is at least ¼-mile from the whale.

Boaters are advised to verify whale waters designations prior to entering Glacier Bay by telephoning (907) 697-2627 or by contacting KWM20 Bartlett Cove on marine VHF radio.

Did You Know?

Glacier Bay has huge tides

The tidal fluctuations in Glacier Bay can be as high as 25 feet! Be sure to keep this in mind when you decide to enjoy an after-lunch nap on the beach during your next paddling adventure.