This fall, ships transiting near Seattle and Tacoma will be invited to participate in the Quiet Sea initiative, aimed at reducing underwater noise to preserve an endangered orca population in the Salish Sea.
Vessels are encouraged to voluntarily reduce their speed below 14.5 knots to reduce propeller cavitation, a major source of underwater noise. The Port of Vancouver has already implemented such a seasonal slowing program and has been successful in reducing underwater noise in Haro Strait by approximately 50%.
The slowdown there lasts from about June to November, depending on the presence of orcas, and the port says it only delays vessels by about 15 to 45 minutes. Fleets with high participation rates will have their Green Marine certification facilitated.
Green Marine is the leading environmental certification program for North America’s maritime industry. It is a voluntary initiative that helps its participants to improve their environmental performance beyond regulations.