Weather forecasts Tides Visitor's guide

IN THE HOME OF THE WHALES

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.

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You are privileged to be able to watch them in their habitat and witness their natural behaviour. By adopting good practices when you navigate in the marine park, you contribute to protection efforts. Your participation is vital!

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The population of St. Lawrence belugas is declining. Each animal is important.

Since 2010, issues related to birthing and the survival of calves have been observed.

YOU ARE HOLDING THE HELM…

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 MARINE ACTIVITIES IN THE SAGUENAY–ST.LAWRENCE MARINE PARK

REGULATIONS

speeds

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Maximum speed of 25 knots within the limits of the marine park

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From may 1 to october 31
The maximum speed in the mouth of the Saguenay River, i.e., the area between buoys S7 and S8 and the ferries, is 15 knots

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A boat that is less than a half nautical mile from a beluga cannot remain stationary and must navigate at a constant speed of at least 5 knots and no more than 10 knots.

Observation zone

An observation zone of ½ nautical mile is created around any boat engaged in whale watching

An observation sector consists of two or more contiguous or overlapping observation zones.

The observation mode is in effect when an approach is made within 400 metres of a whale in order to observe it.

In the zone, the maximum speed is 10 knots in order to protect the whales

Approach speed (within 400 and 200m): minimum speed required to manoeuver

Put the motor in neutral if a whale other than a beluga whale comes within 200 metres of the boat until the whale is 200 metres away or until it dives towards the sea bed.

A boat must not remain in an observation zone or sector for more than one hour.

A boat must wait at least one hour before returning to the same observation zone or sector.

 

Speed and distance conversion chart

5 knots = 9,26 km/h = 5,75 mi/h
10 knots = 18,52  km/h = 11,50 mi/h
15 knots = 27,78 km/h = 17,26 mi/h
25 knots = 46,30 km/h = 28,77 mi/h

LIMIT OF THE SAGUENAY-ST. LAWRENCE MARINE-PARK

carte-dépliant-3-sites-ENThe Marine Park includes the Saguenay Fjord, located downstream from Cap à l’Est, and the northern section of the St. Lawrence Estuary between Gros Cap à l’Aigle upstream to Pointe-Rouge (Les Escoumins) downstream.

The Marine Park covers approximately 1,245 km2 , includes the water column and seabed, and extends to the normal high-tide line

Speed must be measured over the bottom

DISTANCES TO BE RESPECTED

400

metres

For endangered or threatened* marine mammals such as the beluga whale and the blue whale, a distance of at least 400 metres must be maintained between the vessel and the animal.

200

metres

A boat can come within 200 metres of a whale that is not endangered or threatened.

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It is prohibited to get into the path of a whale in such a way that it passes within less than 200 metres of the boat, and less than 400 metres if it is an endangered or threatened marine mammal.

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It is forbidden to use the action of wind, waves or current to approach within less than the specified distances.

1/2 nautical mile = 926 metres

Prohibited activities

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It is prohibited in the park to use a personal watercraft (jet skis), to use a hovercraft.

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It is prohibited to fly over the park at an altitude of less than 609.6 metres (2,000 ft), and to land in or take off from the park in an aircraft unless you are the holder of a special events permit.

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The use of drones for recreational purposes is prohibited above the boundaries of the Saguenay-St. Lawrence Marine Park, as in all national parks.

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It is prohibited in the park to practice a nautical traction sport or to offer a commercial service related to migratory bird hunting.

The use of an aircraft for scientific research, education or promotion is licensed. Please refer to the permit for special activities in the Saguenay–St. Lawrence Marine Park for your application.

It is prohibited to kill, injure or disturb a marine mammal.

Disturb means

  • Feed or touch any marine mammal;
  • Go into the water to swim or interact with marine mammals;
  • Under the water, to play the calls or cries of the whales or create any other noise that resembles them;
  • Separate a group of marine mammals or go between an adult and her calf. A calf is a baby whale measuring no more than half the size of an adult.
  • Encircle a whale, or a group of whales, between a boat and the coast or between several boats;
  • Interrupt, modify or disrupt normal social, swimming, breathing diving, resting, feeding, nursing, reproduction behaviour.

Comprehensive preservation zones

Zone for the protection of habitats and sensitive species. Please avoid navigating here.

Area closure at Baie Sainte-Marguerite

From June 21st to September 21st , vessels must not enter the red area closure which follows a line between Cap Nord-Ouest and Cap Sainte-Marguerite. Special authorizations are granted only for kayaks, canoes and recreational fishermen who must travel without stopping along a corridor within 10 metres of the shore in shallow areas.

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Show you care, keep your distance!

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The Baie Sainte-Marguerite is a place where beluga whales give birth. Your presence can attract their attention and reduce the amount of time they spend looking after their young, feeding, and resting. For their sake, this area is protected to ensure a peaceful environment.

I’m heading towards Baie Sainte-Marguerite, what should I do?

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Moteur boat

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Watercraft are prohibited in the bay between Cap Nord-Ouest and Sainte-Marguerite Bay.

Even if you cannot see any belugas, choose a heading that keeps a distance between your boat and the bay. We recommend that you maintain a constant speed between 5 and 10 knots (6–12 mph).

When in the presence of belugas, move away to a distance of at least 400 metres.

Maintain a constant speed between 5 and 10 knots (6–12 mph) until you are at least half a nautical mile (926 metres) from the belugas.

Every action counts to help protect the belugas.

Show you care, keep your distance!

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Sail Boat

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Watercraft are prohibited in the bay between Cap Nord-Ouest and Cap Sainte-Marguerite.

If you are sailing downwind, you can follow these routes. If you are sailing upwind, we recommend that you follow this route.

Even if you cannot see any belugas, we recommend that you maintain a constant speed between 5 and 10 knots (6–12 mph).

When in the presence of belugas, move away to a distance of at least 400 metres.

Maintain a speed between 5 and 10 knots (6–12 mph) until you are at least half a nautical mile (926 metres) from the belugas.

Every action counts to help protect the belugas.

Show you care, keep your distance!

There are belugas ahead, what should I do? (motorboat & sailboat estuary)

While boating on the St. Lawrence or the Saguenay, you may encounter beluga whales. Your presence in their habitat can attract their attention and reduce the amount of time they spend looking after their young, feeding, and resting. Belugas need space and a peaceful environment.

When in the presence of belugas, change direction to go around them while maintaining a distance of at least 400 metres. In the Saguenay–St. Lawrence Marine Park, move away while maintaining a constant speed between 5 and 10 knots (6–12 mph). Keep this speed until you are at least half a nautical mile (926 metres) from the belugas.

I’m taken by surprise when belugas appear around me, what should I do? (sailboat, Saguenay)

While sailing on the St. Lawrence or the Saguenay, you may encounter beluga whales. Your presence in their habitat can attract their attention and reduce the amount of time they spend looking after their young, feeding, and resting. Belugas need space and a peaceful environment.

Whether you’re in a sailboat or motorboat, choose a heading that will take you at least 400 metres from the belugas. In the Saguenay–St. Lawrence Marine Park, gradually adjust your speed to between 5 and 10 knots (6–12 mph). Keep a constant speed until you are at least half a nautical mile (926 metres) from the belugas.

There’s a blue whale ahead, what should I do? (motorboat)

While boating on the St. Lawrence River, you may encounter blue whales. In order to find food, they take long dives and hunt day and night for several weeks. Your presence in their habitat can disrupt their diving rhythm and reduce their feeding and resting time.
When in the presence of a blue whale, change direction to go around it while maintaining a distance of at least 400 metres. Be on the lookout, as other whales could surface nearby.

DO YOU KNOW “LA TOUPIE” ?

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.

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

SAFETY FIRST!

Photo-faucon

Keep your eyes open!

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.

Increasing Awareness

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.

SHARE YOUR RESPONSIBLE BEHAVIOUR!

#beluga400m #marineparkmoment

SHARE!

LATER ….. IT FEELS GOOD TO GET OUR FEET BACK ON THE GROUND!

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