Who We Are
The Alaska Marine Highway System has been operating year-round since 1963. There are currently eleven vessels in our fleet, with additional ferries being planned. Our route provides regularly scheduled passenger and vehicle service to over 30 communities in Alaska, many of which are not accessible via the road system. The southern gateway cities of Bellingham, Washington, and Prince Rupert, British Columbia provide important links between Alaska and the "Lower 48." The mission of the Alaska Marine Highway System is to provide safe, reliable, and efficient transportation of people, goods, and vehicles among Alaska communities, Canada, and the "Lower 48," while providing opportunities to develop and maintain a reasonable standard of living and high quality of life, including social, education, and health needs.
From vessel design and operation to crew training and rescue equipment, safety is our first priority. We adhere to all safety regulations established by the U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Department of Transportation, and the Code of Federal Regulations. We adopted the International Safety Management code, which is a standard management system designed to ensure safety at sea, prevent human injury or loss of life, and avoid damage to the environment and to the ship. In addition, formal safety audits are conducted to identify and correct potential hazards for both passengers and crew.
When traveling on the ferry you can feel safe knowing all crew members are U.S. Coast Guard certified to deal with emergency situations. Marine Safety Drills are conducted weekly on all vessels to ensure the highest safety standards. And, as part of our ongoing commitment to safety, operational guidelines call for regular, frequent boat and fire drills for all crew members on every ship. The onboard life rafts can accommodate more people than the ship's maximum capacity, and our vessels are equipped with Marine Evacuation Systems where passengers can evacuate directly into waiting life rafts.
Minimizing the impact on our environment is a responsibility we take seriously. We adhere to environmental standards set by the International Maritime Organization, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and State of Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation. In addition, we are members of the Green WATERS Program, a voluntary program aimed toward reducing waste and operating in a cleaner, greener, and more sustainable environment. Our Ship to Shore Environmental Guide was designed to provide employees with the tools to respond to environmental concerns quickly and efficiently.
Other Environmental Initiatives
We remain focused on protecting the environment and will continue to explore best practices and cost-effective technologies that not only protect the environment but maintain a high quality of life for Alaska residents, such as:
- Fueling with ultra-low sulfur diesel
- Using environmentally acceptable lubricants
- New program to streamline hazardous waste
- Using technology to reduce paper waste
- Recycling plastic and paper products