Sanctuary Regulations

orca leaping out of the water

The Office of National Marine Sanctuaries regulations are codified at 15 CFR Part 922. Additionally, each sanctuary has its own unique set of regulations.

Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary Regulations

The following activities are prohibited within Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary, with some exceptions.

  • Exploring for, developing or producing oil, gas, or minerals within the sanctuary.
  • Discharging or depositing, from within the boundary of the sanctuary, any material or other matter.
  • Moving, removing or injuring, or attempting to move, remove or injure, a sanctuary historical resource.
  • Drilling into, dredging, or otherwise altering the seabed of the sanctuary.
  • Taking any marine mammal, sea turtle, or seabird in or above the sanctuary.
  • Disturbing marine mammals or seabirds by flying motorized aircraft at less than 2,000 feet over the waters within one nautical mile of the Flattery Rocks, Quillayute Needles, or Copalis National Wildlife Refuges or within one nautical mile seaward from the coastal boundary of the sanctuary, except for activities related to tribal timber operations conducted on reservation lands, or to transport persons or supplies to or from reservation lands as authorized by a governing body of an Indian tribe. Failure to maintain a minimum altitude of 2,000 feet above ground level over any such waters is presumed to disturb marine mammals or seabirds. See Overflight Regulations.
  • Possessing within the sanctuary (regardless of where taken, moved, or removed from) any historical resource, or any marine mammal, sea turtle, or seabird taken in violation of the MMPA, ESA or MBTA.
  • Interfering with, obstructing, delaying or preventing an investigation, search, seizure, or disposition of seized property in connection with enforcement of the Act or any regulation or permit issued under the Act.
  • The Department of Defense is prohibited from conducting bombing activities within the sanctuary. All Department of Defense military activities shall be carried out in a manner that avoids to the maximum extent practicable any adverse impacts on sanctuary resources and qualities.
  • Cruise ships are prohibited from discharges/deposits of treated and untreated sewage and graywater (See Federal Register)

A permit is required from Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary when an individual wishes to conduct an activity within the sanctuary that is otherwise prohibited. 

Enforcement of sanctuary regulations is done through cooperative partnerships with other agencies, U.S. Coast Guard, and the U.S. Department of the Interior. Various state marine and wildlife enforcement agencies in the states where the sanctuaries are located also are cross-deputized to support sanctuary enforcement. Enforcement case documentation is processed through the NOAA Office for Law Enforcement, and violations are prosecuted by NOAA General Counsel for Enforcement and Litigation.