Southeast Alaska Patrols

Although we are remote, a good 60 miles by water from Juneau, we see a fair amount of enforcement activity out on the water. There are 5 major entities patrolling the waters of Southeast Alaska that may check on you:

  1. Alaska State Troopers – Interested in enforcing maritime law. This can range from catch limits to fishing licenses, underage life jacket usage, and any other law pertaining to boating in Alaska including open containers of alcohol.
  2. Department of Fish and Game – Interested in all aspects of your rigging. You are only allowed to have one line in the water per person in the boat. They may look at how many of each species you have on board.
  3. U.S. Coast Guard – Generally only interested in if you have your safety equipment on board. We will provide you with everything you need. Our safety equipment includes life jackets and a throwable life cushion, fire extinguisher, and an orange canister holding the rest of the required items (registration, flag, flares, etc.).
  4. National Marine Fisheries – Interested in the halibut on board. Because we are a self-guided lodge, our current halibut restrictions are more lenient than the chartered boats. Each guest can keep two halibuts with no size restrictions. Whereas chartered boats have stricter limits in both size and number of halibut.
  5. National Park Service –Interested in the proximity to sea mammals. You may not approach within 300 feet or harass them. We encounter them because of our proximity to Glacier Bay Park.

What To Do If Approached

These entities try to coordinate their searches, so there may be two or more on board a vessel at one time.

It is possible that you may be approached by floatplane.

When they do approach you, slowly move your boat into a clear area and turn off your engines. They will ask you if they may come aboard or ask to tie their boat to yours. Often they will approach you while you are anchored and fishing for halibut.

Be courteous and friendly. Feel free to ask them about their work. If you treat them with respect, they will do the same to you. Thank them for their time when they go.

Do not make comments about bombs, violence, or law breaking.

Common Sticking Points

Both the Coast Guard and Alaska State Troopers have a low tolerance for life jackets not on a child aged 13 and under. You will not be able to dodge that one or be able to talk yourself out of a ticket.

Common Fishing Violations

  • Having more than one line in the water per person.
  • Not having your fishing license with you. If you don’t have it, they will ask you to fax them a copy of the original. We keep a copy of your fishing license at the lodge.
  • Exceeding your catch limits.

Final Thought

There is nothing wrong with saying, “Let me finish landing this fish and then we can talk”. You have every right to move your boat into a safe position before letting them board your boat.

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Mark Warner
Mark H. Warner was raised in Juneau and he has been fishing the waters of Alaska for more than 30 years. He grew up working with his father developing Doc Warner’s from its earliest days. After getting his Ph.D. in Mechanical engineering, he went to work in the industry where he later completed an Executive MBA. Then in 2010, his father, Doc, offered Mark and his wife, Kristina, the opportunity to move back to Alaska and operate the lodge full-time. Today, Mark has over 25 years of experience with Doc Warner’s. His knowledge and experience teaching people about self-guided fishing in Alaska are now used to create lasting memories for Doc Warner’s guests.
Posted in Driving a Boat, Licenses and Permits

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