Whale Waters Update for Glacier Bay Effective August 31, 2013
Contact: Albert Faria, 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 13-knot vessel speed limit in Lower Glacier Bay will be raised to 20 knots through the water due to a decrease in the number of humpback whales in the area. This change goes into effect beginning at 5AM Saturday August 31. In this area, vessels greater than 18 feet in length are also restricted to a mid-channel course or 1 nautical mile offshore. The attached map shows the boundaries of all current whale waters in Glacier Bay. The Lower Bay whale waters area is defined by an imaginary line between Pt. Carolus and Pt. Gustavus, extends north to an imaginary line between Lars Island and Strawberry Island, and continues east to the Beardslee Islands motorless waters boundary. The Lower Glacier Bay whale waters restrictions remain in effect through September 30 unless otherwise announced.
The 13-knot speed limit for all vessels in Whidbey Passage whale waters remains unchanged. Vessels greater than 18 feet in length are restricted to a mid-channel course or 1 nautical mile offshore in Whidbey Passage. As described in detail in the August 8th press release, these restrictions apply throughout Whidbey Passage but exclude the inner waters of Berg Bay and Fingers Bay.
Numerous whales are still feeding throughout mid-Glacier Bay. 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. 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?
There are separate populations of killer whales that inhabit the same area but eat different foods, behave differently, and do not interbreed. Three kinds—transients, residents, and offshores—have all been spotted in Glacier Bay.