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Contact: Wendy Bredow, 907-697-2230BARTLETT COVE, ALASKA – Today Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve Superintendent Philip Hooge lifted the 13-knot speed limit in Whidbey Passage and Lower Glacier Bay that had been implemented to protect numerous feeding humpback whales. Whale observations over the past week indicate that few whales are now using these areas. This action returns the Lower Bay speed limit to 20 knots, along with a mid-channel course restriction that will remain in effect through September 30, 2021. These changes will go into effect at 5:00 am Saturday, August 21.
Numerous whales including at least one cow/calf pair are still using the Lower East Arm whale waters area. Small concentrations of whales are found outside of the whale waters areas. As shown on the map, current whale waters are defined as follows:
Lower Glacier Bay – 20-knot speed limit and mid-channel course restriction (or one nautical mile offshore): All waters between the mouth of Glacier Bay and a line drawn between the northern tip of Strawberry Island and the northern tip of Lars Island. This boundary is shown on NOAA nautical charts of Glacier Bay.
Lower East Arm – 13-knot speed limit only: All waters within a triangle defined by Muir Point, the point of land one mile west of Tlingit Point and the point of land at the south entrance to South Sandy Cove.
Throughout Glacier Bay, vessel operators should keep a lookout for whales and reduce speed when necessary. Vessels are prohibited from operating within ¼ nautical mile of a humpback whale in park waters and are required to reduce speed if they find themselves within ¼ nautical mile of a whale. Speed and course restrictions in whale waters are intended to reduce whale disturbance and lower the risk of whale/vessel collisions, as authorized by Title 36 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Subpart N, 13.1174. Mariners are advised to verify whale waters designations prior to entering Glacier Bay by calling (907) 697-2627 or by contacting KWM20 Bartlett Cove on marine VHF radio.
Last updated: August 20, 2021