Private catamarans will provide ferry service between Juneau and the upper Lynn Canal this month

A boat on the water
The Seawolf, a passenger ferry operated by Goldbelt Transportation. (Courtesy of Goldbelt)

With the upper Lynn Canal facing an extended gap in winter ferry service, the state has contracted with private operators to run passenger-only catamarans until a state vessel is in operation.

Sailings to upper Lynn Canal will be on Monday, Jan. 24, and Saturday, Jan. 29. On both days, the ships are scheduled to leave Juneau at 8 a.m. bound for Haines and then call on Skagway before returning to Juneau by 3:30 p.m.

The catamarans will be operated by Goldbelt, Inc., Juneau’s urban Native corporation.

Haines Ferry Terminal Manager Ryan Ackerman says Goldbelt’s vessels have a limit of 100 passengers.

“There are no vehicles — it’s passengers only, and the luggage limit is 100 pounds of luggage per customer,” Ackerman said.

Ticket sales will be done through the terminals as usual, but only up until 4:30 p.m. the day before sailing. Walk-ons will be allowed if there is space.

The ships will not dock at the state’s ferry terminals. In Haines and Skagway, they’ll dock at the small boat harbors. In Juneau, they’ll dock at the Statter Dock, south of the Auke Bay ferry terminal.

Walk-on passengers can pay with cash or check at the dock. The schedules are available on the sailing calendar at the Alaska Marine Highway System’s reservations site.

The Department of Transportation had said it would activate the idled Tazlina to supplement service while its main ferries are undergoing annual overhauls. But an agency spokesperson said Monday that it didn’t have a return-to-service date yet.

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