Whale Waters Update For Glacier Bay Effective August 2 2013
Contact: Gus Martinez, Acting Chief Ranger, 907-697-2230
Contact: Chris Gabriele, Whale Biologist, 907-697-2664
Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve Superintendent Susan L. Boudreau announced today that the whale waters vessel speed restriction in the area near Willoughby Island and Boulder Island will be lifted beginning 5AM Friday August 2.The whales that had been using this area have largely moved on to other feeding habitats.Whale waters at the mouth of Glacier Bay and in lower Glacier Bay remain unchanged.
As shown on the attached map, current whale waters areas begin at the Park boundary in Icy Strait, and extend through the Lower Bay to an imaginary line between Lars Island and Strawberry Island, and continuing east to the Beardslee Islands motorless waters boundary.Vessels greater than 18 feet in length are restricted to a mid-channel course or one nautical mile offshore in the Lower Bay whale waters only.In both areas, there is a vessel speed limit of 13 knots through the water.
Boaters should proceed cautiously in all areas where whales may be present because whales may surface in unexpected locations, posing a hazard to both the vessel and the whale. 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, as authorized by Title 36 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Subpart N, 13.1174.
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.
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Did You Know?
Since the early 1990's, the sea otter population in Glacier Bay has grown from 0 to 4,000. Look for large rafts of sea otters in the lower reaches of the bay.