Whale Waters Update for Glacier Bay Effective September 26, 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 speed limit and course restriction in Whidbey Passage and mid-Glacier Bay whale waters will be lifted due to a decrease in the number of humpback whales in the area. This change goes into effect beginning at 5AM Thursday September 26. The Lower Glacier Bay whale waters restrictions remain in effect through September 30 unless otherwise announced. In this area, there is a vessel speed limit of 20 knots through the water. In addition, vessels greater than 18 feet in length are restricted to a course one nautical mile from shore, or mid-channel in narrower passages.
The attached map shows the boundaries of the current whale waters in Glacier Bay. The Lower Bay whale waters area is defined by an imaginary line between Pt. Carolus and Pt. Gustavus and continues north to an imaginary line between Lars Island and Strawberry Island, extending east to the Beardslee Islands motorless waters boundary.
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?
Humpback whales migrate approximately 2,500 miles to feed in Glacier Bay’s productive waters each summer. The fastest migration from Hawaii to Glacier Bay clocked-in at 36 days!