Updated September 14, 2022
The Alaska Marine Highway System has implemented changes to our standard operating procedures to protect against the transmission of COVID-19 on our vessels. The safety of passengers and crew is our highest priority. AMHS continues to work closely with Alaska Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) to establish protocols intended to protect everyone during sailings.
These travel protocols were developed with the Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) specific to ferry travel and may be more restrictive than State of Alaska travel mandates. Please review and follow all AMHS Travel Protocols when planning to travel by ferry and State guidance for all other travel.
Travel to and within Alaska – Rules for travelers arriving into Alaska from another state or country, and for travel to or from communities not connected to the road system or marine highway system can be reviewed on the state Traveler Information page.
Alaska has many small and remote communities that lack a robust healthcare system, and they may restrict non-essential travel. Some communities may also have additional restrictions including testing or quarantine requirements upon arrival. Please check with the local terminal or with the local communities prior to sailing for information regarding travel off the road/ferry system.
For additional details, please see the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services website at: https://covid19.alaska.gov/health-order/ and the Alaska Safe Travels website at https://covid19.alaska.gov/travelers/.
Travel to Canada from Alaska – If you are planning to travel through Canada, please check the latest entry restrictions before attempting to cross the border https://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/services/covid/menu-eng.html.
Travelers driving to or from Alaska through Canada must review current border restrictions before arrival. Note: If you are unable to cross the border, you will need to book return passage at your own cost. AMHS will not provide refunds for failed border crossings.
MHS reminds Alaskans and visitors about the importance of adhering to the following protocols. If a positive case develops on a ship during transit, the health of all aboard could be impacted. This may include a required quarantine or isolation period for all aboard, with no access to public transportation for a minimum of 14 days. It is up to all passengers and crew to act responsibly so ferry service can continue in Alaska.
Passenger and Crew Protocols
The following information pertains to testing and is provided for informational purposes only. Testing is not a requirement for passengers to board a vessel:
Risk of Disrupted Travel
The Alaska Marine Highway System (AMHS) is required to immediately report any illness of persons on board our vessels to the US Coast Guard (USCG) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). New protocols have been put in place to help avoid disruptions to service or create a situation involving passengers quarantined aboard ship. All travelers and crew are expected to follow the above protocols.
A passenger or crew member who presents Covid-19 like symptoms while the vessel is underway will be isolated and crew will follow the AMHS Pandemic Response protocol. The Master of the vessel will notify the Coast Guard as required of any potential Covid-19 cases and follow their directions. The Master will also inform AMHS shore side managers once USCG is notified about the potential Covid-19 case(s).
In the event that a COVID-19 case is confirmed onboard a mainline vessel the USCG and State of Alaska DHSS have the authority to quarantine the vessel at the nearest safe port of call. This may cause a risk of disrupted travel to passengers onboard the vessel which may last an undetermined length of time until passengers and crew can be tested, all tests are negative, and the vessel is cleaned and deemed safe to continue service. A disruption of travel may cause travelers additional time and unanticipated expense.
KEEPING our TRAVELERS and EMPLOYEES SAFE
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is the main federal response agency for maritime vessels. The United States Coast Guard has forwarded precautionary information to vessel operators and AMHS is working closely with both entities to ensure our methods and materials remain consistent and current for handling new developments related to the Covid-19 coronavirus.
When crew members report aboard a vessel, at every crew change, the purser will require evidence of a negative COVID-19 test result taken within 168 hours (7 days) prior to reporting for duty. OR a valid CDC issued COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card showing a complete vaccination can be shown in lieu of a negative test result and declaration.
AMHS Cleaning and Sanitization
The Alaska Marine Highway System (AMHS) uses cleaning methods and materials that are meant to reduce the potential for acquiring communicable diseases. These cleaning methods and materials are designed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus Covid-19, Influenza A&B, Norovirus, and the multitude of other communicable diseases. AMHS has reviewed our Infection Control Plan with all vessel and shore side employees and modified our standard operating procedures to clean and disinfect passenger areas onboard state ferries and in our terminal facilities more frequently to ensure passenger safety.
Here are the multilayer cleaning protocols AMHS has implemented to keep travelers and employees safe from communicable diseases:
Intensified Cleaning of our Terminal Facilities
Steps Implemented Onboard our Vessels
****ALASKA STATE SAFE TRAVELS INFORMATION****
The Alaska Safe Travels is available from the State of Alaska, Department of Health.
Are you planning to drive through Canada?
If you’re planning to drive through Canada to/from Haines, Alaska you are required to abide by the Canadian Regulations. Canadian Customs agents have the final authority to allow you to pass through Canada. Not having enough tread on your tires could cause Customs Agents to deny you permission to drive through Canada.
Updated September 14, 2022