Alaska Marine Highway

A view from an Alaska Marine Highway System ferry. (Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities photo)

State ferry system in third year of crew shortages

Kennicott will spend another summer in dock unless more people hired soon, AMHS director says.

 

Cars drive aboard the Alaska Marine Highway System ferry Hubbard on June 25, 2023, in Haines. (Photo by James Brooks)

Proposal to put slot machines aboard Alaska ferries gets rough first reception

A Republican legislator from Wasilla has proposed legalizing some types of gambling aboard Alaska Marine Highway System ships as a way to raise operating revenue… Continue reading

 

An Alaska Marine Highway System vessel at sea. (Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities photo)

Dunleavy gains control to pick all nine members of state ferry board July 1 under executive order

Order ends all existing terms that day; takes away legislative leaders’ appointing of four seats.

An Alaska Marine Highway System vessel at sea. (Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities photo)
A chart shows the proposed plans for each of the Alaska Marine Highway System’s nine ferries next summer under a schedule open for public comment until Dec. 19. (Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities)

Proposed ferry schedule for next summer looks a lot like this year’s — with one possible big exception

Cross-Gulf sailings will resume if enough crew hired; AMHS begins two-week public comment period.

A chart shows the proposed plans for each of the Alaska Marine Highway System’s nine ferries next summer under a schedule open for public comment until Dec. 19. (Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities)
The Hubbard state ferry (left), the newest vessel in the Alaska Marine Highway System fleet, is back in service in northern Southeast Alaska after a maintenance period as the LeConte, which also serves the region, undergoes a scheduled annual overhaul until March 3. (Photo courtesy of the Alaska Marine Highway System)

AMHS leaders hopeful staffing, sailings are trending up

More employees at key positions hired, restoration of cross-Gulf sailings next summer envisioned.

The Hubbard state ferry (left), the newest vessel in the Alaska Marine Highway System fleet, is back in service in northern Southeast Alaska after a maintenance period as the LeConte, which also serves the region, undergoes a scheduled annual overhaul until March 3. (Photo courtesy of the Alaska Marine Highway System)
The Alaska Marine Highway System ferry LeConte at the Auke Bay Terminal on Monday, March 5, 2018. (Juneau Empire file photo)

Petition seeks name change for LeConte state ferry

Petersburg man calling attention to what he calls Joseph LeConte’s racist history.

The Alaska Marine Highway System ferry LeConte at the Auke Bay Terminal on Monday, March 5, 2018. (Juneau Empire file photo)
The Tustumena ferry is seen July 20, 2021, in southwest Alaska. (Photo by James Brooks)

Current issues dominate ferry system open house for long-term planning

Mainliner specs go to shipbuilders in November while the fate of Matanuska remains unknown.

The Tustumena ferry is seen July 20, 2021, in southwest Alaska. (Photo by James Brooks)
U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg joined U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski on an Alaska state ferry on Wednesday, Aug. 16 during his first visit to Southeast Alaska. (Photo courtesy of U.S. Department of Transportation)

My Turn: Traveling the Alaska way

The night before my team and I were scheduled to fly from Juneau to Haines on Seaplanes with the U.S. Secretary of Transportation, Pete Buttigieg,… Continue reading

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg joined U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski on an Alaska state ferry on Wednesday, Aug. 16 during his first visit to Southeast Alaska. (Photo courtesy of U.S. Department of Transportation)
The ferry Tustumena is seen July 20, 2021, in southwestern Alaska. (Photo by James Brooks)

After a false start, Alaska prepares to solicit bids for new mainline ferry

DOT expects to issue new request for proposals from U.S. shipyards next month to replace Tustumena.

The ferry Tustumena is seen July 20, 2021, in southwestern Alaska. (Photo by James Brooks)
Workers load cars aboard the Columbia ferry during a stop in mid-July. (Meredith Jordan / Juneau Empire File)

State ferry board pushes for measures to boost hiring

Motion calls on Dunleavy and Legislature to grant marine director more power.

Workers load cars aboard the Columbia ferry during a stop in mid-July. (Meredith Jordan / Juneau Empire File)
This photo of the bar on the Columbia ferry was taken in July. (Meredith Jordan/ Juneau Empire)

Columbia bar soon to be back online after minor fire

11 people, two of them crew, were treated in Wrangell and returned to the ship

This photo of the bar on the Columbia ferry was taken in July. (Meredith Jordan/ Juneau Empire)
The Hubbard state ferry remains in dock at the Auke Bay Ferry Terminal on Friday after suffering generator problems that are expected to keep the ship out of service until Monday. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)

Hubbard likely out of service until Monday due to generator problems

Newest state ferry suffers failure after carrying Buttigieg from Juneau to Haines.

The Hubbard state ferry remains in dock at the Auke Bay Ferry Terminal on Friday after suffering generator problems that are expected to keep the ship out of service until Monday. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)
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

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)
U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, listen to Thomas Turner, chief mate of the ferry Hubbard, explain the operations of the vessel on Wednesday in Lynn Canal. (James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)

What Buttigieg saw and discussed beyond Juneau in Southeast Alaska

U.S. transportation secretary meets with tribal and other leaders about ferry, other issues.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, listen to Thomas Turner, chief mate of the ferry Hubbard, explain the operations of the vessel on Wednesday in Lynn Canal. (James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)
Three Alaska Marine Highway System ferries are docked at its headquarters in Ketchikan as the Columbia arrives on July 16. (Meredith Jordan / Juneau Empire)

Fixing the ferry’s future: Alaska Marine Highway steers fleet toward three replacements

Part two of a two-part series about the tricky navigation facing the Alaska Marine Highway System.

Three Alaska Marine Highway System ferries are docked at its headquarters in Ketchikan as the Columbia arrives on July 16. (Meredith Jordan / Juneau Empire)
Meredith Jordan / Juneau Empire
Members of the deck department of the Columbia state ferry get ready to dock the vessel in Petersburg on July 17. A change in the accounting department is expected to lessen the number of payroll complaints among Alaska Marine Highway System employees.

A fix is in for ferry payroll issues

The change addresses longstanding issues with AMHS employees getting paid late or the wrong amounts.

Meredith Jordan / Juneau Empire
Members of the deck department of the Columbia state ferry get ready to dock the vessel in Petersburg on July 17. A change in the accounting department is expected to lessen the number of payroll complaints among Alaska Marine Highway System employees.
Alaska Marine Highway System vessels in dock at the Auke Bay Ferry Terminal. (Alaska Marine Highway System)

Fixing the ferry’s future: Meet the nine ships in the Alaska Marine Highway fleet

Three are currently out of service due to repairs and crew shortages

Alaska Marine Highway System vessels in dock at the Auke Bay Ferry Terminal. (Alaska Marine Highway System)
Capt. Dave Turner, who has been with the Alaska Marine Highway System for 14 years, scans some of the equipment on the Columbia. He makes a point of being approachable by crew, but said in the end, “it’s my license.” (Meredith Jordan / Juneau Empire)

Fixing the ferry’s future: Meet some of the crew on the Columbia

Five people who do everything from cleaning to commanding the nearly 50-year-old state vessel

Capt. Dave Turner, who has been with the Alaska Marine Highway System for 14 years, scans some of the equipment on the Columbia. He makes a point of being approachable by crew, but said in the end, “it’s my license.” (Meredith Jordan / Juneau Empire)
Chad Goeden, seen here on board the Columbia in mid-July, is one of two retired Alaska State Troopers participating in a new program that serves as deterrent while also strengthening security on the Alaska Marine Highway System. (Meredith Jordan / Juneau Empire)
Chad Goeden, seen here on board the Columbia in mid-July, is one of two retired Alaska State Troopers participating in a new program that serves as deterrent while also strengthening security on the Alaska Marine Highway System. (Meredith Jordan / Juneau Empire)