USCG Sector Puget Sound Launches Effort to Curb Vessel Traffic’s Impact on Whales

Image: U.S. Coast Guard.
Image: U.S. Coast Guard.

The U.S. Coast Guard Sector Puget Sound is engaging in a four-year pilot program that is expected to help minimize the vessel traffic impact on endangered whales in the Salish Sea, the agency announced Feb. 21.

Hosted in the Puget Sound Vessel Traffic Service (VTS), the program allows for the Coast Guard to get whale sighting reports from mariners and give close to real-time information on whale locations to mariners through a whale report alert system, according to the Guard.

The Coast Guard said that it plans to work closely with international, federal, tribal and state entities as well as nongovernmental organizations.

“The new cetacean desk aligns with our regional goals to help endangered whales and ships share the waters of the Salish Sea,” Rachel Aronson, a program director with blue economy alliance Washington Maritime Blue said. “When mariners call in a sighting to the VTS, that sighting will be used to help other mariners make safer choices.”  


Coast Guard Halting Audio Navigation Aids  at Umpqua River South Jetty, Yaquina Bay

The U.S. Coast Guard plans to discontinue the seasonal Sound Signal audio navigation aids at Umpqua River South Jetty Sound Signal and Yaquina Bay, both in Oregon, at the end of the 2024 spring installation, the agency announced Feb. 7.

The Coast Guard is seeking public feedback on the new changes and on the performance and operation of navigation aids. Meanwhile, U.S. Coast Guard Sector Columbia River is expected to continue receiving reports of any discrepancies to this and other navigation aids, the agency said.

“The U.S. Coast Guard values the input of the maritime community and remains dedicated to ensuring the safety and efficiency of waterborne transportation,” according to the Guard. “The decision to discontinue these sound signals aligns with ongoing efforts to modernize and optimize navigational systems.”

To offer comments or receive more information on “Aids to Navigation,” contact U.S. Coast Guard Sector Columbia River at