Admiralty Inlet and Puget Sound are critical habitats for the endangered southern resident killer whales (SRKW). During the fall and winter, these killer whales swim, rest and forage for salmon in these waters. Underwater noise is identified by Canada and the United States as one of the main threats to killer whales due to its interference with their ability to hunt, navigate, and communicate.

The Quiet Sound program was created with the goal of reducing the acoustic impacts of large commercial vessels on these endangered whales in Washington. To do this, a coalition of federal, state, tribal, port, maritime industry, scientist, and NGO representatives developed this trial voluntary slowdown in Admiralty Inlet and north Puget Sound. During the trial slowdown, large commercial vessels are encouraged to slow down when safe and operationally feasible to do so. By slowing down, large vessels reduce their underwater noise output. Quieter waters give orcas better opportunities to hunt and communicate with their pod.

Not Currently in Effect
The voluntary vessel slowdown will begin when the whales enter the slowdown area on or after Oct 1, 2023. This initiative will remain in effect 24 hours per day until 2359 PST on 12 Jan 2024.

For a full-size map of the slowdown, click here


Dates: October 1*, 2023-January 12, 2024

*The voluntary vessel slowdown will
begin once SRKW are observed in the
slowdown area on or after Oct 1, 2023.
This slowdown has a fixed end date and

may span a maximum of 3.5 months.

Location: Admiralty Inlet and north Puget Sound

The voluntary vessel slowdown trial takes place in the inbound and outbound lanes of the shipping lanes within these boundaries:

Northwest boundary of the slowdown: a line drawn between Pt Hudson (48.117264, -122.748907) and Admiralty Head (48.154217, -122.679503)

Northeast boundary of the slowdown: a line drawn between Randall Pt (47.983237, -122.352871) and the Mukilteo Lighthouse (47.948181, -122.308043)

Southern boundary of the slowdown: a line drawn between Apple Cove Pt (47.815535, -122.480885) and Edwards Pt (47.803340, -122.394924)

The slowdown area excludes Hood Canal.

For a full-size map of the slowdown area click here.

When it is safe and operationally feasible, ships are encouraged to transit the slowdown area at or below the following speeds through water:

  • 14.5 knots – speed through water or less for vehicle carrierscruise ships, and container vessels
  • 11.o knots  speed through water or less for bulkers and tankers
Turn off Ultrasonic Anti-Fouling Systems:

In the slowdown area, please turn off ultrasonic anti-fouling systems on vessels to further reduce noise pollution in the frequencies that killer whales use to hunt and communicate.

Benefits to Participants:
Fleets with high rates of participation are eligible for documentation to meet a criterion in the Underwater Noise performance indicator for their Green Marine certification