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Alaska Marine Highway System announces 2023 summer ferry schedule, with more cuts to service

Creative Commons photo by Jay Galvin
The Alaska Marine Highway System’s ferry Kennicott near Ketchikan

The Alaska Marine Highway System announced significant changes to this year's summer ferry schedule running May 1 through September 30.

The mainliners M/V Columbia and M/V Kennicott will not be sailing at the same time, decreasing ferry service to Prince William Sound and Southeast communities. That’s because the state doesn’t have enough crew to run them, according to a statement from the Alaska Department of Transportation.

Sailings across the Gulf of Alaska from Whittier to Southeast on the ferry Kennicott are postponed until more crew is hired. The M/V Columbia will be the only ferry, serving Southeast’s main run between Juneau and Bellingham, Washington.

The M/V Tazlina, which serves the northern panhandle, is also offline due to short staffing. And the mainliner Matanuska is out of service due to repairs.

For the Kachemak Bay region, the ferry Tustamena will sail the Southwest route along the Alaska Peninsula-Aleutian Chain to Dutch Harbor once a month, from May to September. There are regular scheduled port calls to Homer, Seldovia, and Kodiak Island, including the city of Kodiak, and villages of Port Lions, Ouzinkie and Old Harbor.

In Prince William Sound, the ferry Aurora will continue a regular route calling on Valdez, Whittier and Cordova. It will call on Chenega Bay and Tatitklek twice a month.

According to the state’s announcement, until they hire additional crew to sail the Kennicott ferry, cross-gulf sailings to Whittier are at a stand-still, as well as calls to Prince Rupert, British Columbia and Yakutat.

You can see the full Alaska Marine Highway 2023 summer ferry schedule here.

Corinne Smith is an award-winning reporter and producer who hails from Oakland, California. She’s reported for KFSK in Petersburg, KHNS in Haines, and most recently as a fish reporter for KDLG’s Bristol Bay Fisheries Report.