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Mid-Atlantic Mariners: Watch Out for Migrating Right Whales

December 1, 2016

Critically endangered North Atlantic right whales are now migrating south for the winter. To help protect these whales, we have designated several Seasonal Management Areas along the U.S. East Coast. In these areas, vessels greater than 65 feet in length must not exceed speeds of 10 knots from November through April.

The Seasonal Management Areas are around (see map):

Map of seasonal management areas

  • Block Island
  • Ports of New York/New Jersey
  • Entrance to Delaware Bay
  • Entrance to Chesapeake Bay
  • Ports of Morehead City and Beaufort, NC
  • A continuous area 20 nm from shore between Wilmington, NC, to Brunswick, GA

The purpose of this regulation is to reduce the likelihood of deaths and serious injuries to these endangered whales that result from collisions with ships.

Read more about these regulations and get the coordinates for each area in our Compliance Guide.

If you see a right whale, please remember to stay 500 yards away.

We ask that all mariners keep a sharp eye out for these whales. Please report sightings from Virginia to Maine to 865-755-6622

More information, including the most recent right whale sighting locations, is available on our website.

Questions? Contact Jennifer Goebel at 978-281-9175 or