Vessel Slow Speed Zone Southeast of Nantucket to Protect Right Whales

In Effect Through December 29

NOAA Fisheries is implementing a Slow Zone (voluntary vessel speed restriction zone) southeast of Nantucket, Massachusetts.

On December 14, 2020 the New England Aquarium aerial survey team noted presence of right whales in this area triggering a slow zone.

Mariners, please go around this area or go slow (10 knots or less) inside this area where right whales have been detected.

The Nantucket Slow Zone is in effect through December 29 for waters bounded by:

41 26 N
40 44 N
069 31 W
070 25 W

See the coordinates for all the slow zones currently in effect.


Active Seasonal Management Areas November 1- April 30

Mandatory speed restrictions of 10 knots or less (50 CFR 224.105) are in effect in the following areas:

Block Island Sound 

Ports of New York/New Jersey

Entrance to the Delaware Bay
(Ports of Philadelphia and Wilmington)

Entrance to the Chesapeake Bay 
(Ports of Hampton Roads and Baltimore)

Ports of Morehead City and Beaufort, NC

Within a continuous area 20-nm from shore between Wilmington, North Carolina, to Brunswick, Georgia.

Find out more and get the coordinates for each mandatory slow speed zone.

Give Right Whales Room

North Atlantic right whales are on the move along the Atlantic coast of the U.S. NOAA is cautioning boaters and fishermen to give these endangered whales plenty of room. We are also asking all fishermen to be vigilant when maneuvering to avoid accidental collisions with whales and remove unused gear from the ocean to help avoid entanglements. Commercial fishermen should use vertical lines with required markings, weak links, and breaking strengths.

Right Whales in Trouble

North Atlantic right whales are protected under the U.S. Endangered Species Act and the Marine Mammal Protection Act. Scientists estimate there are only about 400 remaining, making them one of the rarest marine mammals in the world.

North Atlantic right whales are NOAA Fisheries’ newest Species in the Spotlight. This initiative is a concerted, agency-wide effort to spotlight and save marine species that are among the most at risk of extinction in the near future. 

In August 2017, NOAA Fisheries declared the increase in right whale mortalities an “Unusual Mortality Event,” which helps the agency direct additional scientific and financial resources to investigating, understanding, and reducing the mortalities in partnership with the Marine Mammal Stranding Network, Canada’s Department of Fisheries and Oceans, and outside experts from the scientific research community.