Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve Superintendent Susan L. Boudreau announced today that the 13-knot vessel speed limit at the mouth of Glacier Bay will be lifted due to a decrease in the number of humpback whales in the area. This change goes into effect at 5:00 a.m. Friday, August 23. Whale waters in lower Glacier Bay and Whidbey Passage remain unchanged.
Vessels 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 result 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, according to Federal regulations.