The Alaska Marine Highway operates an extensive 3,500 mile route with a fleet of vessels that are designed to carry passengers and vehicles ranging in size from motorcycles to large freight containers. Our ferries operate year-round to provide essential transportation to over 35 coastal communities, many that are not accessible by road. The Alaska Marine Highway System is a core component of Alaska's transportation infrastructure and provides access for residents of smaller communities to goods and services in regional hubs. Like the communities we service, our fleet is diverse and vessel operations differ to allow for connections to each destination on our route.
The mainline vessels are our largest ships and typically take more than one day to travel between start and end ports, that provide road access. These vessels offer all the amenities needed for passengers who may be onboard overnight or for multiple days. Cabins are available for rent and cafes and restaurants offer food for purchase. For the more adventurous, who prefer to travel without a cabin, set up a tent on the upper deck or bring your own sleeping bag for a night or two in the covered, heated solarium. Public showers are also available onboard. Interior observation lounges and outside decks provide amazing views of the passing landscape.
Day Boat Ferries
The day boats connect smaller communities with each other and with the mainline vessel routes. Although, cabins are not available on these vessels, public showers are. Interior observation lounges provide excellent opportunities to view spectacular scenery and wildlife, get outside and walk around the outside decks for some fresh air, or relax in the heated solarium and bond with your fellow travelers.
A sub-class of the day boat ferries is the shuttle ferries. These vessels provide round-trip service between two or three communities within a day. Passenger services are limited on these ships; however, observation lounges and access to outside decks provide spectacular viewing opportunities.
New Ferry Construction
The Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities is currently in the process of designing and building replacement vessels to ensure the system will be able to continue providing reliable marine transportation service well into the future for the communities, residents, and businesses of Alaska. The status of these projects can be found on the following pages.