• Sunset view of Glacier Bay and the surrounding Fairweather Mountains.

    Glacier Bay

    National Park & Preserve Alaska

Vessel speed restrictions

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News Release Date: May 14, 2009
Contact: Allison Banks, Public Information Officer, 907-697-2230

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Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve Acting Superintendent Dave Nemeth announced today that a vessel speed limit of 13 knots through the water is being implemented in Park waters around Point Carolus and the entrance to Glacier Bay to protect numerous humpback whales that have been sighted in the area.  During the past week at least 10 humpback whales have been observed in this area.  This speed restriction will apply to all vessels from 5 AM Friday May 15 until further notice. 

 

As shown on the attached map, the new whale waters area is bounded on the north by an imaginary line between Point Carolus and Point Gustavus, and on the south by the Park boundary in Icy Strait.  The eastern boundary is an imaginary line running due south from Point Gustavus to the Park boundary, and the western boundary is an imaginary line running due south to the Park boundary following longitude 136 degrees 05' West. All motor vessels passing through this area are restricted to a speed limit of 13 knots through the water.

 

Boaters are reminded that vessels are prohibited from operating within ¼ nautical mile of a humpback whale in Park waters, including those Park waters outside Glacier Bay proper.  In addition, vessel operators positioned within ½ nautical mile of a humpback whale are prohibited from altering their course or speed in a manner that results in decreasing the distance between the whale and the vessel.  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.

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.

 

Whale waters restrictions are authorized in Glacier Bay National Park in accordance with Title 36 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Subpart N, 13.1174.

Did You Know?

Forage fish

Dense schools of forage fish, like herring and sand lance, are an abundant food source for many creatures, from the massive Humpback Whale to the diminutive Marbled Murrelet. Schools of forage fish can be literally miles long and hundreds of feet thick.