Acting Superintendent Chris Pergiel announced Wednesday that the 13-knot vessel speed limit in lower Glacier Bay will be raised to 20 knots through the water due to a decrease in the number of humpback whales in the area. This change went into effect at 5 a.m., June 5. In this area, vessels greater than 18 feet in length are still restricted to a mid-channel course or one nautical mile offshore.
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 a quarter nautical mile of a humpback whale in park waters, including those Park waters outside Glacier Bay proper. In addition, vessel operators positioned within half a 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.
Boaters 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.