Made-in-Alaska ferry has open house in Auke Bay

Photo by Norman Skan, Ketchikan

In celebration of the Alaska Marine Highway’s first Alaska Class ferry revenue voyage, the ferry system will hold an open house in Juneau on the new Alaska Class Ferry, the M/V Tazlina.

The event is planned for the Auke Bay Ferry Terminal on Sunday, May 5, from 3-5 pm. The vessel will be open to the public and will remain docked.

The Tazlina is named after the Tazlina Glacier located 43 miles north of Valdez. It was designed by Elliott Bay Design Group of Seattle, and constructed at Vigor Shipyard in Ketchikan. The Tazlina is the first Alaska Marine Highway ferry built in Alaska, along with its sister ship the M/V Hubbard.

Christened in Ketchikan on Aug. 11, it’s scheduled to begin service May 7, operating as a day boat in Lynn Canal between the communities of Juneau, Haines, and Skagway.

The Tazlina is 280 feet long, seats up to 300 passengers, and carries 53 standard vehicles. Amenities include observation lounges with comfortable chairs, a covered heated solarium, a cafeteria-style restaurant, a children’s play area, and a quiet room.


  1. The AK Ferry System should be ‘owned’ and ‘operated’ by a private company so as to maximize efficiencies. Under SOA ownership and operations, it’ll never be profitable but rather ‘always’ be a financial liability.

  2. I choose not to disrespect the “need” for the Tazlina or her sister ship. What I do “disrespect”, is the rest of Alaskan residents having to pay for three towns’ “fast commute service”. There is no way the new ferries can pay their own way, with only three communities benefitting from them. This travesty, demonstrating socialism, is not declining. It is increasing, with the constant addition of more “drains” to the public trough. Alaskans, remember this the next voting cycle. The “holdovers” from the Walker administration are still “doing it” to Alaskan citizens that deserve better. Governor Dunleavy needs our full support to stop this madness.

    • As usual Ben, you have no idea of what you speak of. It’s not three communities that benefit but any who utilize the Juneau-Hns, Skagway route to get either North to Alaska, or South to lower 48 or Whitehorse.
      Another idea for these new ferries is to run them from Berner’s Bay and thus shorten the trip each way by about 2 hours-this hasn’t been approved but is part of the Marine Hwy idea of not running ships alongside roads. This will lower costs significantly and your “no way the new ferries can pay their own way” may not take this into account.

      • For all practical purposes, Ben is correct… the Tazlina Ferry will primarily serve these three communities (Juneau, Haines, Skagway). You are really digging by adding on Whitehorse (since its connected via Hwy 1) just to make a minor point and to criticize Ben.

        • OK Griz, the Ferry System has a number of ships that provide service to many communities in SE, PWS and Kodiak. Ben’s bitch with one (or two) ships, by itself, makes no sense as the entire Marine Hwy System is made up of all these ships. How about picking on the route to Kodiak (only serves two communities)?
          As for Whitehorse, it’s a logical destination as well as Interior Alaska or Lower 48. Ben has no idea of the service provided by Ferry System and neither do you.

    • And why are communities in SE with no roads paying for maintenance of the Glenn and Parks hwys ?

  3. It’s called the Marine HIGHWAY system for good reason – that’s how you get from one town to another in Southeast. It’s too easy for folks on the road system (whose construction and maintenance are paid for with State dollars) to overlook/criticize/disparage the ferry’s system as they ‘tool’ down paved roads and highways at 60-70 mph.

  4. Wonder if ship building wouldn’t be a great economic thing? We don’t need the ferries, but other countries do.

    • That’s right Mike, former gov. Parnell signed off on that no-bid contract to build those ferries in Ketchikan and giving up the federal highway money on them. And that’s because ship building is a “great economic thing” in Alaska. Heheh!
      Of course all those other countries would be willing to have their ships built in Alaska for one of those “Made in Alaska” stickers up on the bridge.

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