Whale Waters Update for Glacier Bay Effective Aug. 12, 2023

This news story is based on a press release from the National Park Service, which was issued on August 11, 2023. You can read the original release here. BARTLETT COVE, ALASKA – Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve Acting Superintendent Tom Schaff has announced the lifting of the July 25th 13-knot vessel speed limit in the Lower Bay, Whidbey Passage, and near Willoughby Island due to reduced whale sightings. However, to protect eight humpback whales, including a mother-calf pair, feeding in Berg Bay, a 13-knot speed limit will be enforced there. Effective from 5 AM Saturday, August 12th, the changes are detailed on the enclosed map. The newly designated whale waters now include a 13-knot speed limit in Berg Bay, defined by specific points.

Additionally, the existing 20-knot speed limit in the Lower Bay’s designated whale waters remains. Vessels over 18 ft must stay at least one nautical mile from shore or mid-channel in the Lower Bay. These restrictions aim to safeguard feeding humpback whales and reduce the risk of collisions under Title 36 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Subpart N, 13.1174. Caution is advised, as whales can appear unexpectedly, endangering both vessels and whales. Boaters should confirm whale waters designations by calling (907) 697-2627 or contacting KWM20 Bartlett Cove on marine VHF radio before entering Glacier Bay.

Glacier Bay National Park

Glacier Bay National Park is a captivating Alaskan destination renowned for its stunning natural beauty. The park offers a unique opportunity to witness the awe-inspiring phenomenon of glacier calving, where massive chunks of ice break off from glaciers and crash into the ocean. This spectacular event is not only visually breathtaking but also a testament to the dynamic nature of the park’s landscape.

In addition to glacier calving, Glacier Bay is a prime location for whale watching. The park’s waters are home to a diverse range of marine life, including humpback whales. Visitors have the chance to observe these majestic creatures in their natural habitat as they breach, feed, and play in the park’s icy waters.

Combining glacier calving and whale watching, Glacier Bay National Park offers a unique and unforgettable experience that showcases the incredible power and beauty of nature. It’s a destination that promises both a visual feast and a deep connection to the natural world.

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