We sail on the marine park along with the winds, tides and currents. Dug during the last ice age, the Saguenay Fjord is lined with cliffs reaching 300 metres. The St. Lawrence estuary offers a challenge to boaters that will discover a landscape dotted with islands and inhabited by an impressive wildlife.
In summer, the Saguenay–St. Lawrence Marine Park is a gigantic, natural feeding ground. The whales, seals, and birds you see during your sea outing, for the most part, travelled thousands of kilometres to come feed here. These wild animals spend a large part of their time feeding and resting.
The Marine Activities in the Saguenay–St. Lawrence Marine Park Regulations indicate the maximum navigation speed permitted throughout the park, in addition to the distances and speeds to be respected when whales are present. It is your responsibility to comply with the regulations!
The Prince Shoal took its name from a misadventure that befell the Prince of Wales in 1860. The future King Edward VII had come to Canada for the inauguration of the Victoria Bridge (Montreal), so named in honour of his mother. While sailing near Tadoussac, the royal yacht grazed the shoal. Afterwards, in order to warn sailors of the dangers of the sector, a lightship was anchored at this location until the current lighthouse, nicknamed La Toupie (the top), was built in 1962.
Baie Sainte-Marguerite is a unique habitat, essential for the survival of the beluga whale population. It is often frequented by herds of females with their young.
An avoidance zone has been established at the entrance of the bay: it is to be avoided from June 15 to September 30 each year.
To help the protection of this endangered species, boaters, kayakers and captains are asked not to enter the bay.
number of boats
at sea during the summer
It is easy to imagine that noise can disturb the whales. After all, they use sound to navigate the waters, hunt and socialize. But noise is not the only factor that can affect whales: proximity to humans and boats too. Even a small boat as silent as a kayak or a sail boat can cause disturbance.
The St. Lawrence River and the mouth of the Saguenay Fjord are used by tens of thousands of boats each summer. Busy waterway, and favored boating destination, it is also here that the food of whales concentrates during the summer. They spend their days eating and resting in order to replenish their energy reserves, greatly needed to survive the winter and long migrations.
The presence of a boat near a whale can force the animal to change its natural behavior (rate and duration of dives, respiratory rate and communications). This is called disturbance: the animal changes its behavior due to human presence. If it is repetitive, disturbance can hinder the whale’s chances of survival and reproduction. The Marine Activities in the Saguenay–St. Lawrence Marine Park Regulations have been developed to minimize the risk of disruption. Complying with the regulations helps to protect the whales.
Navigating in the marine park is an amazing experience. Plan ahead for a secure outing and navigate with caution, then enjoy every moment! For more information on the services offered and responsible practices, download the Boater Guide
*15 knots in the mouth of the Saguenay
Do not stop. Move away until you are at a distance of at least 400 metres from belugas.
Within ½ nautical mile of belugas, maintain a stable course and a constant speed between 5 and 10 knots. It is forbidden to stop.
Avoid changing direction.
If it is impossible to move away at over 400 m from belugas, maintain your course and a constant speed between 5 and 10 kts (if possible).
The sheer cliffs of the Saguenay fjord are an ideal nesting ground for the peregrine falcon. As the home of no less than 20% of all breeding pairs inventoried in Quebec, these cliffs are protected by the Parc national du Fjord-du-Saguenay.
You may encounter one of the teams dedicated to research, awareness or monitoring who ply the marine park on a Parks Canada or a Parcs Québec boat.