News Release

Whale Waters Update for Glacier Bay Effective August 3, 2017

Glacier Bay Whale Waters 8-3-17

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News Release Date: August 2, 2017

Contact: Albert Faria, Chief Ranger, 907-697-2230

BARTLETT COVE, ALASKA – Today, Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve Superintendent Philip Hooge announced that the boundaries of the temporary whale waters area implemented on July 20th in the West Arm have been adjusted to accommodate a shift in whale distribution. Whales in this area are feeding in mid channel and some of them are diving for 10 minutes or more, making them difficult to spot by mariners and subject to disturbance and collision. The whales concentrated around the Marble Islands have shifted but a 13-knot speed restriction around Leland Islands remains in effect. 
These changes go into effect beginning at 5:00 AM Thursday, August 3rd. As shown on the attached map, the newly designated whale waters areas are defined as follows:
Middle of the West Arm
13 knot speed restriction only: This area is defined as a polygon with the following corners:

  • The point defining the northern extent of Lone Island

  • The point on land due north of Lone Island

  • The point on the western shore of Gloomy Knob at 58˚51’N

  • The point on the eastern shore of Gilbert Peninsula at 58˚50’N 

  • The point defining the southern extent of the mouth of Blue Mouse Cove

Current whale waters also include:
Leland Islands
13 knot speed restriction only: This area is defined as a one nautical mile buffer surrounding the Leland Islands.
Lower Glacier Bay
20 knot speed and course restriction: Annually from May 15 – September 30, a 20 knot speed and mid-channel course restriction are in effect in the Lower Bay. This area includes 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.
Mariners 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. Note that there are also smaller concentrations of whales elsewhere in Glacier Bay. It is important for vessel operators to keep a sharp lookout 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.

Please see the attached PDF for a printer-friendly version of this announcement.

Last updated: August 2, 2017

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Mailing Address:

Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve
PO Box 140

Gustavus, AK 99826


(907) 697-2230

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