Marine Recreation and Tourism
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
- A complete listing of our marine recreation and tourism publications and presentations
- Encountering Environmental Hazards on Alaska’s Coasts
If you have encountered an unusual event on the coast, such as an oiled animal, an unusual plant, or a stranded marine mammal, this site can help. It provides information on several issues you might come across, and what to do and whom to contact if you do.
- Gulf of Alaska Coastal Travel Routes
This online boater’s travel guide focuses on the eastern and central Gulf of Alaska, from west of Glacier Bay to Seward, where the vessel traffic is sparse, communities are few and far between, and exposure to the North Pacific is challenging. Adventurers, fishermen, sailors, and recreational boaters can use the guide to find their way in a region that is much less traveled than Southeast Alaska. It is a spectacular trip in good weather with opportunities to experience the scenery, the solitude, geology, human history, wildlife, and excellent angling. The website has photos and a map of the area with waypoints identified, and provides basic safety information.
- Every Halibut Counts
Information on best practices for carefully releasing sport-caught halibut.
- Alaska Vessel Fuel Efficiency Resources
Tips for conserving fuel, links to news stories about reducing fuel costs, a downloadable poster and brochure on fuel efficiency, and more.
- Responsible Marine Wildlife Viewing
Information and links on responsible wildlife viewing in Alaska.
For more information
- Terry Johnson, Marine Recreation and Tourism Specialist