Marine Recreation and Tourism

Two kayakers on the water Kayakers paddle through Kachemak Bay.

Tourism is Alaska's second biggest industry in terms of employment, and is a mainstay of many small and isolated communities. Most of Alaska's tourism is centered on the coast and on a few major rivers. Sport fishing is one of the biggest draws to Alaska, but ecotourism—including glacier- and wildlife-viewing—is bringing ever-growing numbers of visitors to the state.

At the same time, outdoor recreation is important to Alaska residents. Again, angling is the biggest component of in-state outdoor recreation, but kayaking, clam digging, whale watching, and recreational boating are also very important. Tour- and charter boat operators, fishing guides, lodges, tackle shops, outdoor equipment suppliers, and numerous other businesses cater to both tourists and in-state recreational visitors.

The Marine Advisory Program provides technical, business, and informational assistance both to the recreation and tourism industry and to individual participants. For professionals we publish the newsletter Charter Log and various individual publications covering topics like insurance for charter boats and recreational boats. We produce recreational resource inventories and regional supplements to the Alaska Boater's Handbook. Our marine recreation and tourism specialist is developing a voluntary code of conduct for responsible marine wildlife viewing. He has taught courses to qualify fishermen for Coast Guard passenger-carrying licenses in Western Alaska, and is offering a short course on preventing and treating seasickness.

Marine recreation publications and presentations

Special topics

For more information