Boating in Glacier Bay
Imagine waking to the sound of a whale blow! You fix your coffee and sit on the back deck while your boat gently rocks, looking out over the magnificent expanse of water and mountains. Suddenly up pops a curious harbor seal only a few yards from your boat and it is checking you out! These are only a couple of the common occurences while visiting Glacier Bay National Park on your own boat.
Obtaining and Using a Private Vessel Permit
Under the vessel permit system, motorized pleasure boat operators are required to obtain a non-fee permit prior to entering Glacier Bay anytime between June 1 and August 31. Because Bartlett Cove is one of the most heavily used whale feeding areas, a permit is required to enter Bartlett Cove as well as the rest of the bay. Vessels entering without a permit may be denied access to the bay, asked to leave and issued a citation.
Boater permit applications for the non-fee permit must be made within 60 days of the proposed date of entry. Permit applications received earlier than 60 days in advance will be returned to the sender. Applications will be reviewed upon receipt and a response form will be sent to the applicant. Advance application is strongly advised, particularly from June 11 through August 2, as permits are limited. You may reserve up to seven consecutive days.
In planning your trip, please note that pets are not allowed on shore anywhere in Glacier Bay National Park except on a leash at Bartlett Cove. Before arriving at Glacier Bay you may want to be familiar with other park regulations, particularly those that apply to boaters.
All boaters are required to call immediately upon entering the bay and proceed directly to the Visitor Information Station in Bartlett Cove for a required boater orientation prior to continuing into the bay. Watch the video
Please mail, fax or phone requests for an application, completed applications, or requests for further information to the address below.
Nautical charts 17300 (Stephens Passage to Cross Sound), 17318 (Glacier Bay), 17302 (Icy Strait and Cross Sound),) and a Trails Illustrated topographic map are available at Bartlett Cove or by mail through Alaska Geographic.
Confirming Your Permit
Did You Know?
Glacier Bay is a changing landscape. Today's beaches where brown bears slurp up crushed barnacles are tomorrow's forest meadows where moose will browse on willow branches.