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Contact: Albert Faria, Chief Ranger, 907-697-2230
Contact: Chris Gabriele, Whale Biologist, 907-697-2664BARTLETT COVE, ALASKA – Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve Acting Superintendent Ken Hutchison announced today that a 13-knot vessel speed restriction will be implemented between the entrance to the West Arm of Glacier Bay and the Marble Islands due to a high concentration of humpback whales. At least 15 humpback whales have been observed widely distributed in this area. At the same time, the temporary whale waters in the West Arm that went into effect on June 22nd will be lifted.
These changes go into effect beginning at 5 a.m. Friday, June 30. As shown on the attached map, the newly designated whale waters are defined as follows:
Entrance to the West Arm - 13 knot speed restriction only
This area is defined by the following boundaries:
- Eastern boundary: A line from the northern tip of Sturgess Island to the northern tip of South Marble Island
- Northern boundary: A line from the point of land at the northern entrance to Tidal Inlet to the northern tip of Sturgess Island
- Southern boundary: A line from the northern tip of Drake Island to the northern tip of South Marble Island
- Western boundary: A line from the point of land at the southern entrance to Blue Mouse Cove to the northern tip of Drake Island
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 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.
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Last updated: June 29, 2017