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Routing Measures

Recommended Routes

In November 2006, NOAA established a set of recommended vessel routes in Cape Cod Bay and in the approaches to ports in Florida and Georgia to reduce the likelihood of ship collisions with right whales in key right whale habitats. The United States Coast Guard (USCG) conducted a Port Access Routes Study (PARS) to determine the best configuration of routes to protect right whales while allowing for safe use of the waterways. The routes are now charted on all NOAA paper and electronic charts.


recommended vessel routes in Cape Cod Bay

Boston Traffic Separation Scheme (TSS) Shift

In December 2006, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) approved a United States proposal to shift the east-west leg of the Boston TSS approximately 12 degrees to the north in order to direct shipping traffic through an area with a substantially lower density of right and other whales. In addition, the US proposed to narrow the lanes from 1.5 miles down to 1.0 miles wide in order to further reduce the overlap between ships and whales. These proposals were evaluated by the USCG and the Maritime Safety Committee of the IMO for safety and navigational effects. The shift results in only a 10-22 minute increase in transit time, while providing up to 58% reduction in collision risk to right whales and 81% reduction in risk to other large baleen whales.

Stellwagen Bank
Image courtesy of NOAA/Stellwagen Bank NMS and NMFS: Wiley, Thompson & Merrick

The modifications to the Boston TSS are effective as of July 1, 2007. NOAA Print-on-Demand Charts, Raster Navigational Charts, lithographic and electronic charts have all been updated to reflect the change.

To view the changes and obtain updated charts, please visit http://www.nauticalcharts.noaa.gov/.

For more information on the Ship Strike Reduction Program, please contact
Peter Kelliher at 978-282-8474 or Peter.Kelliher@noaa.gov

Return to Ship Strike Reduction Program Webpage

Last Updated: January 22, 2015

Sea Bottom Habitat Border
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