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Contact: Wendy Bredow, 907-697-2230
BARTLETT COVE, ALASKA – Today Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve Deputy Superintendent Tom Schaff announced a 13-knot speed limit in Whidbey Passage to protect more than 20 humpback whales feeding there. This change will go into effect beginning at 5:00AM Saturday, July 31, 2021. As shown on the attached map, current whale waters are defined as follows:
Whidbey Passage - 13 knot speed restriction only:
Northern boundary: a line from the northern tip of Drake Island to the northernmost point of the Marble Mountain peninsula at the southern entrance of Geikie Inlet.
Eastern boundary: a line from the southern tip of Drake Island to the northern tip of Francis Island, from the southern tip of Francis Island to the northern tip of Willoughby Island, and from the southern tip of Willoughby Island to a point one nautical mile from shore in northwest Lower Bay whale waters.
Southern boundary: a line from the northern tip of Lars Island to a point one nautical mile from shore, making it contiguous with the current Lower Bay whale waters.
The inner waters of Fingers Bay and Berg Bay are not included.
Lower Glacier Bay - 13-knot speed restriction 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 restriction 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.
There are currently at least 50 humpback whales distributed throughout Glacier Bay, including many of the 11 cow/calf pairs that have been documented in Glacier Bay and Icy Strait since May. Smaller concentrations of whales are found outside of the whale waters areas.
Throughout Glacier Bay, vessel operators should 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. 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 30, 2021