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Contact: Acting Chief Ranger Wendy Bredow, 907-697-2230
Contact: Whale Biologist Chris Gabriele, 907-697-2664
BARTLETT COVE, ALASKA - Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve Superintendent Philip Hooge announced today that a 13-knot vessel speed restriction will be implemented in lower Glacier Bay due to a high concentration of humpback whales in the area. At the same time, the 13-knot vessel speed limit in the middle of Glacier Bay that was implemented on June 2 will be removed. Many of the whales that were feeding in the middle of Glacier Bay have shifted down into lower Glacier Bay, with at least 20 humpback whales currently feeding in lower Glacier Bay. These changes go into effect beginning at 5:00 AM Wednesday, June 29.
As shown on the attached map, the designated lower Glacier Bay whale waters include the waters extending from the mouth of Glacier Bay to 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.
Boaters should proceed cautiously in all areas where whales may be present because whales may surface in unexpected locations, posing a hazard to both the vessel and the whale. Vessels are prohibited from operating within ¼ nautical mile of a humpback whale in park waters, including those park waters outside Glacier Bay proper. In addition, vessel operators positioned within ½ nautical mile of a humpback whale are prohibited from altering their course or speed in a manner that results in decreasing the distance between the whale and the vessel. Speed and course restrictions in whale waters are intended to reduce the disruption of feeding humpback whales and to 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 telephoning (907) 697-2627 or by contacting KWM20 Bartlett Cove on marine VHF radio.Printer-friendly PDF version