News Release

Whale Waters Update for Glacier Bay Effective June 26, 2021

Glacier Bay map showing whale waters zones
Glacier Bay map showing Whale Waters

NPS Photo

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News Release Date: June 25, 2021

Contact: Wendy Bredow, 907-697-2230

BARTLETT COVE, AK – Today Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve Deputy Superintendent Tom Schaff announced a temporary whale waters area in the nearshore waters in the lower East Arm and lower West Arm to protect more than 30 humpback whales feeding in the area. At least four cow/calf pairs frequenting the area are vulnerable to disturbance and collision. This notice implements a 13-knot speed restriction that goes into effect beginning at 5:00AM Saturday, June 26, 2021. As shown on the attached map, the newly designated whale waters areas are defined as follows:

Lower East Arm and West Arm: A 13-knot speed restriction for all vessels in the following areas:

  • Within one nautical mile of Garforth Island.

  • Within one nautical mile of shoreline between Caroline Shoal and the northern extent of Gloomy Knob, including Sebree Island, but not including Tidal Inlet.

  • Within one nautical mile of the un-named island just south of Blue Mouse Cove.

Lower Bay: Current whale waters also include Lower Glacier Bay. 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.

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. 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.

Two whales in the waters of Glacier Bay
Two whales swim in Glacier Bay. A 13-knot speed restriction goes into effect in the Lower East Arm and West Arm beginning at 5:00AM, Saturday, June 26, 2021.

NPS Photo

Last updated: June 25, 2021

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Mailing Address:

Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve
PO Box 140

Gustavus , AK 99826


907 697-2230

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