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Contact: Jarred Mitrea, 907-697-2230
BARTLETT COVE, ALASKA – Today, Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve Deputy Superintendent Tom Schaff announced an update to temporary whale waters to protect more than 30 humpback whales feeding at the entrance to the East Arm, particularly near Garforth Island and Sturgess Island. This notice removes the existing whale waters area at the entrance to the West Arm and modifies the 13-knot speed zone at the mouth of the East Arm. Three to four cow/calf pairs are frequenting this area and are more vulnerable to disturbance and collisions. These changes go into effect beginning at 5:00 AM Saturday, July 10, 2021.
As shown on the attached map, the newly designated whale waters area is defined as follows:
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.
Current whale waters also include Lower Glacier Bay. Annually from May 15 – September 30, a 20-knot vessel 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.
Throughout Glacier Bay, vessel operators should keep a sharp lookout and reduce speed when necessary. There are smaller concentrations of whales outside of the whale waters areas. 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: July 9, 2021