Voluntary Vessel Speed Reduction Zone In Effect NOAA recommends that vessels > 300 gross registered tons transiting the zone do so at speeds of 10 knots or less

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This is the Santa Barbara Channel, a 70-mile stretch of ocean separating mainland California from the Northern Channel Islands.

The Channel supports robust international shipping routes to and from the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.

The Channel is also home to many endangered whale species that feed in the area. We have ways of seeing, hearing, and predicting when whales are in the Channel.

To protect these whales, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has made significant progress implementing voluntary speed restrictions for large vessels transiting through sensitive whale habitat. Research demonstrates ships that slow to 10 knots in areas with high whale presence significantly reduce the risk of fatal collisions. Yet, whale-ship collisions are still on the rise off the U.S. West Coast.

Whale Safe
Whale Safe is a technology-based mapping and analysis tool displaying whale and ship data for the Santa Barbara Channel, with the goal of helping to prevent fatal ship collisions with whales.

Explore the Whale Safe Tool

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Species Sightings


Marine Traffic

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