The Adventure Bound tour vessel, docked in Aurora Harbor, is one of two tour boats formerly operated by Adventure Bound Alaska being offered by the city in a sealed-bid auction scheduled next Wednesday. (City and Borough of Juneau)

The Adventure Bound tour vessel, docked in Aurora Harbor, is one of two tour boats formerly operated by Adventure Bound Alaska being offered by the city in a sealed-bid auction scheduled next Wednesday. (City and Borough of Juneau)

Adventure Bound Alaska’s two tour boats being auctioned off by city due to company’s prolonged debt

Impounding and sealed-bid sale of large charter vessels “is a first for me,” harbormaster says.

For people with fond memories of Adventure Bound Alaska’s tour boats — or would prefer to offer better memories than the anger from abandoned customers in the wake of the company’s unannounced shutdown last year — the two vessels are being auctioned off in bids being accepted by the city until next Wednesday.

While the city typically auctions off about 15 to 30 boats a year, doing so with charter vessels seized from a tour company “is a first for me,” said Harbormaster Matthew Creswell, who has been working for the city for the past eight years, in an interview Tuesday. He said there seems to be more interest, or at least curiosity, in the company’s vessels since an auction notice for them was posted on the Juneau Harbors Facebook page on March 15.

“We’re getting lots of just — I call them looky loos — I don’t know how many people are serious and I won’t even try to figure it out,” he said. “I tell them what I know or my staff tells them what they know. And if they decide to place a bid they’ll place a bid, but we’re getting a lot of interest.”

The Captain Cook, one of two tour boats formerly operated by Adventure Bound Alaska, in Aurora Harbor prior to a scheduled sealed-bid auction for vessels next Wednesday. (City and Borough of Juneau)

The Captain Cook, one of two tour boats formerly operated by Adventure Bound Alaska, in Aurora Harbor prior to a scheduled sealed-bid auction for vessels next Wednesday. (City and Borough of Juneau)

Adventure Bound Alaska, which began operating in Juneau 33 years ago, became the target of complaints from people who said they booked and prepaid for trips not provided starting in mid-2022 and continuing well into 2023. Steve Weber was also given four notices of deficiencies by the U.S. Coast Guard resulting from a grounding incident in Canadian waters in October of 2022, with officials stating the company continued to operate despite being prohibited from carrying passengers.

While Adventure Bound’s operations have been stalled for many months, Creswell said the timing of the impounding of the vessels and auction is due to the company being 90 days past due on payments owned to the city.

The company’s namesake Adventure Bound vessel with a minimum bid of $8,815.68 and Captain Cook with a minimum bid of $10,180.69, both docked in Aurora Harbor, are among three boats in the current sealed-bid auction. The third vessel is the 56-foot-long trawler Silver Lady docked in Statter Harbor with a minimum bid of $3,775.62.

People interested in submitting bids can examine the vessels from 1-3 p.m. next Tuesday.

However, the owners of the impounded vessels — which for the Adventure Bound boats are Steve and Winona Weber who are listed as living in Aberdeen, Washington — have until Tuesday to pay all outstanding charges to prevent the auction from taking place immediately following the bid submission deadline of 2 p.m. Wednesday. The minimum bids on the vessels are the amount owned to the city, Creswell said.

Attempts by the Empire to reach the Webers were unsuccessful. A search of the Alaska court system’s online database shows no active cases against them or the company, but three small claims cases from 2023 against the company were dismissed because the Webers could not be served with court papers due to them relocating from Juneau.

Unlike locally impounded vehicles that are sold online, the city’s charter code requires bidders for seized vessels to submit their sealed offer to the harbormaster’s office at 1600 Harbor Way.

If the vessels sell for more than the minimum amount, the extra funds will go first toward paying off any liens placed on the boats and the remainder to the owners, Creswell said.

The auction notices state the 56-foot-long Adventure Bound and 65-foot-long Captain Cook are in good condition, while the Silver Lady is listed in poor condition.

• Contact Mark Sabbatini at mark.sabbatini@juneauempire.com or (907) 957-2306.

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