The charts depict existing overflight zones that have been in place for many years and are designed to protect marine mammals and seabirds from disturbance by aircraft.

NOAA has worked with the FAA to ensure clear notation of sanctuary regulations on aeronautical charts, which provides appropriate notice to pilots and ensures the protection of resources under NOAA’s stewardship.

At Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary, flights below 1,000 feet are restricted over the waters within one nautical mile of any island, except to engage in kelp bed surveys or to transport persons or supplies to or from an island.

“We have had overflight restrictions in place for many years to protect seabirds and marine mammals that depend on these remote islands for feeding and rearing their young,” said Chris Mobley, sanctuary superintendent. “Now that these restrictions are shown clearly on FAA charts, it will be easier for pilots to be aware of the rules and to help us protect sanctuary wildlife.”

The sanctuary continues to work with pilot community to help pilots understand these regulations and the importance of protecting sanctuary wildlife and habitats. More information on the FAA charts and Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary overflight regulations may be found at

Along the U.S. West Coast, regulations for NOAA’s Monterey Bay, Channel Islands, Gulf of the Farallones and Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuaries all restrict low altitude overflights within specified zones in each sanctuary (subject to certain exceptions).

NOAA’s mission is to understand and predict changes in the Earth’s environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and to conserve and manage our coastal and marine resources. Join us on Facebook, Twitter and our other social media channels.

On the Web

Know Before You Go: NOAA Sanctuaries’ guide for pilots.


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