A trio of state ferries are docked as the Columbia arrives at the Alaska Marine Highway System headquarters in Ketchikan on July 16. (Meredith Jordan / Juneau Empire File)

A trio of state ferries are docked as the Columbia arrives at the Alaska Marine Highway System headquarters in Ketchikan on July 16. (Meredith Jordan / Juneau Empire File)

Winter ferry schedule is out and it’s better than before

13-day gap in mainline service in December, but more consistent service to smaller Southeast towns

The Kennicott ferry will be coming online in mid-December when Columbia goes in for its annual overhaul, but not before a nearly two-week blackout in service between Bellingham and major Alaska ports, according to the winter ferry schedule released Wednesday.

“There will be a service gap for Southeast for just under two weeks” between Dec. 2 and 14, said Sam Dapcevich, spokesperson for the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities. Columbia is scheduled to resume work starting March 15.

The overall schedule offers fewer gaps than the initial schedule last year, which omitted service to four small Southeast Alaska communities in January and February. This year Pelican is the only community without regularly scheduled ferry service during the winter period.

The Alaska Marine Highway System will not be taking reservations for Kennicott after the end of February until it becomes clear whether there will be enough crew to run both mainliners.

This winter LeConte and Hubbard will share service through the Lynn Canal, meaning either one ship will run or the other. That accommodates the scheduled overhaul of LeConte, which begins at the end of November, and the Hubbard, which goes offline in mid-March.

Pelican, which relies on a ramp, will lose regular ferry service when the LeConte goes offline. Its dock can’t accommodate the Hubbard. However, supplemental contract providers will fill in the gap in service, Dapcevich said. Separately, the master plan process includes plans to upgrade various docks to make them more accessible to newer ships.

All other ports have regular schedules, including Kake, Angoon and Tenakee Springs, which will have service four days a month on average this winter.

The new schedule was released after a public review and comment period.

• Contact Meredith Jordan at meredith.jordan@juneauempire.com or (907) 615-3190.

More in News

Jasmine Chavez, a crew member aboard the Quantum of the Seas cruise ship, waves to her family during a cell phone conversation after disembarking from the ship at Marine Park on May 10. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire file photo)
Ships in port for the week of May 18

Here’s what to expect this week.

Dave Scanlan, general manager of Eaglecrest Ski Area, speaks to the City and Borough of Juneau Assembly Finance Committee on April 13, 2023. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire file photo)
Dave Scanlan forced out as Eaglecrest’s general manager, says decision ‘came as a complete shock to me’

Resort’s leader for past 7 years says board seeking a “more office-process, paper-oriented” manager.

The entrance to the Alaska Gasline Development Corp.’s Anchorage office is seen on Aug. 11, 2023. The state-owned AGDC is pushing for a massive project that would ship natural gas south from the North Slope, liquefy it and send it on tankers from Cook Inlet to Asian markets. The AGDC proposal is among many that have been raised since the 1970s to try commercialize the North Slope’s stranded natural gas. (Yereth Rosen/Alaska Beacon)
Eight young Alaskans sue to block proposed trans-Alaska natural gas pipeline

Plaintiffs cite climate change that harms their access to fish, wildlife and natural resources.

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire file photo)
Police calls for Tuesday, May 21, 2024

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

A Shell station in Anchorage. (Nathaniel Herz/Northern Journal)
Shell abandons North Slope oil leases, raising questions about the industry’s future in Alaska

Experts say some of the state’s hard-to-tap oil prospects are becoming less attractive.

Tom Abbas discusses the hose his boat needs as shop owner and vintage halibut jacket provider Jim Geraghty shows his customer the options. Racks of dry-cleaned woolen jackets hang among the marine supply aisles in Gerahgty’s Lemon Creek business. (Laurie Craig / Juneau Empire)
Coats of many colors: Halibut jackets make a big splash again

“Pre-owned” wool garments from many decades ago being tracked down for resale by Juneau marine shop.

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire file photo)
Police calls for Monday, May 20, 2024

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

The Columbia state ferry sails through Lynn Canal on Monday, April 29, 2019. (Alex McCarthy / Juneau Empire file photo)
Columbia ferry out of service until end of the year

51-year-old ship has been out of service since November; corrosion in fire system cited for delay.

Most Read