(Jonson Kuhn / Juneau Empire File)

(Jonson Kuhn / Juneau Empire File)

Opinion: Alaska ferries take on more water

A satirical My Turn for April Fool’s Day.

  • By Gershon Cohen
  • Saturday, April 1, 2023 7:30am
  • Opinion

In another brilliant strategic move by Alaska Department of Transportation, the Dunleavy administration has proposed a new plan to save the Alaska Marine Highway by further cutting the need for staff, training, hours, benefits, services and convenience.

According to DOT spokesperson Bull Ship: “…Once we realized a new terminal at Cascade Point will be a boon for local landowners and construction companies, it was a long walk on a short pier to realize even more ferry terminals would benefit even more landowners and construction companies. After all, the goal is to make the ferry rides as short as possible and while we still haven’t managed to put the entire fleet into drydock, this new proposal gets us a lot closer to that final terminal.”

The great new plan should not be confused with previous great new plans, for example, building fast ferries that can’t handle Lynn Canal in the winter, or ferries without crew quarters that can’t be staffed according to Coast Guard regulations, or maintaining the fleet instead of sinking ships to create sea urchin habitat, or giving ferries away to other countries where they are used as, get this, ferries.

DOT’s newest great new plan is to build even more terminals on Lynn Canal. In addition to the riding time being ever shorter, the State won’t need large steel ships that are prone to rust; aluminum skiffs will now “ferry” passengers from terminal to terminal.

The advantages are obvious: no need for captains and engineers because anyone can operate a skiff, no car deck so it will take less time to load and unload, passengers will already be wearing life vests in a tiny boat so no need for safety drills, there won’t be bathrooms or cabins so we can throw the steward jobs overboard, and folks will be too seasick to eat so the State can save even more money not selling packaged foods.

The seemingly impossible job DOT has made out of scheduling the ferry runs will sink like an anchor as well. Locals will simply hop over to Cascade Point, a convenient 43 miles from downtown Juneau and jump into the first skiff available, any time day or night. Next stop Sullivan Island, where folks can shoot a deer or grab the next skiff to Seduction Point to reconnect with the road system in Haines at beautiful Chilkat State Park. If someone really needs to go to Skagway, there will be skiffs waiting at the Haines terminal to take them to the end of the line.

So thank you DOT and Governor Dunleavy for doing a deep dive on the ferry issue, and ensuring that S.E. Alaska will continue to walk the plank.

All aboard!

• Gershon Cohen has lived in Southeast Alaska since 1983. This satirical My Turn was submitted specifically for April Fool’s Day. My Turns and Letters to the Editor represent the view of the author, not the view of the Juneau Empire.Have something to say? Here’s how to submit a My Turn or letter.

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