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Ketchikan Yacht Club (KYC)
P.O. Box 6694
Ketchikan, Alaska 99901

Roger Maynard

The Ketchikan Yacht Club (KYC) is a domestic non-profit corporation, registered and licensed to do business in the State of Alaska. The Ketchikan Yacht Club blog is an information service for members and guests, and a public advertisement for the Ketchikan Yacht Club.

Boating and navigation information in this blog is published in good faith based on the best information available including local knowledge, but is not intended to replace authoritive sources. Mariners are cautioned to use all authoritive sources when planning trips or operating a boat.

The Ketchikan Yacht Club is organized as a social and recreation club under section 501(C)(7) of the U.S. Tax Code; contributions are not tax deductible.

Cruising | Navigation | Safety

What’s this “Restricted Area”?

West Behm Canal showing restricted areas

Chart 17422: West Behm Canal showing restricted areas

A recent question from some local boaters prompts this clarification for mariners venturing into west Behm Canal, just north of Ketchikan:

Submarines and other military vessels rely on stealth to complete their missions, including quiet systems and running gear. The Southeast Alaska Acoustic Measurement Facility (SEAFAC) in western Behm Canal is situated in an ideal environment for this kind of acoustic research.  The restricted area surrounding this facility keeps interference between this mission and civilian maritime traffic at a minimum. So what does this restricted area mean for the average pleasure boater?

Looking at NOAA Chart 17422, we see a bunch of magenta lines with a rather intimidating label, “RESTRICTED AREA 334.1275” referring us to “NOTE Aon the chart which reads: 

Navigation regulations are published in Chapter 2, U.S. Coast Pilot 8. Additions or revisions to Chapter 2 are published in the Notice to Mariners. Information concerning the regulations may be obtained at the Office of the Commander, 17th Coast Guard District in Juneau, Alaska, or at the Office of the District Engineer, Corps of Engineers in Anchorage, Alaska. Refer to charted regulations section numbers.

Turning to the Coast Pilot 8, Chapter 2, “Navigation Regulations,” we can read the full text and description of the restricted areas.

Here is a brief summary of the provisions in 33 CFR 334.1275:

  • Generally, the area is open unless the Navy is actually conducting operations. If there are no operations:
    • Vessels may transit the area at any time.
    • Vessels must stay away from the immediate vicinity of, and may not tie to naval equipment and barges.
    • Certain restrictions on anchoring and towing of drags or trawls are to prevent snagging or damaging underwater cables and other gear in the area.
  • In addition, if the area is active:
    • Public notification that there will be operations in the area will be given at least 72 hours in advance to the U.S. Coast Guard, KGB Planning Department, Harbormaster, Alaska Department of Fish and Game, KRBD Radio, KTKN Radio, and the Ketchikan Daily News.
    • If the range is active, mariners should notify the Range Operations Officer by radio of their expected time of arrival, speed and intentions before transiting the restricted area. The facility is required to allow passage within 20 minutes after being notified that a vessel wishes to transit the area.
    • If a vessel does not have a radio, flashing beacon lights on the barges will indicate when it is safe to pass through the area. (Green= area open; Red= area closed)
    • Small craft may operate within 500 yards of the shoreline at speeds of less than 5 knots.  Anchoring and dragging certain gear is prohibited.
    • During operations there is usually a U.S. Coast Guard presence in the area.

The federal code limits the number of days the restricted area may be closed in the summer, and does not allow the facility to restrict mariners from transiting the area during holidays and special events — listen to USCG marine information broadcasts for details when the area is active.

Finally, we need to check the Local Notices to Mariners for any additions or changes to the regulation, and find one note under “Section I, Special Notices”:


The U.S. Navy has established a temporary data collection buoy in Western Behm canal approximately 1,000 yards North of Betton Island within 400 yards of position 55°33.213’N, 131°47.682’W. The buoy is described as a 3 foot diameter yellow sphere, with the marking “Wave Buoy”, with an attached telemetry whip antenna and a night time warning light that flashes 5 times at 1 second intervals with a period of 20 seconds between each series, Fl(5) Y 25s. Questions/concerns should be directed to Mr. Bill Harney at (907) 247-6289. LNM: 10/14

There. Research done. Let’s go boating!

Links for more information:


The Ketchikan Yacht Club was formed to encourage yachting, promote seamanship, and encourage the use of recreational advantages in Southeastern Alaska.  This information is provided in the spirit of training and general information.  Boaters and others are cautioned to personally consult authoritative sources of information on navigation, weather, land ownership, and federal or state agency regulations and policies before venturing out.

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