Boating in Glacier Bay

Covid-19 Boater Update:

4/10/20: Advance Boater Permits change from 60 to 14 days

Due to impacts caused by the novel coronavirus COVID-19, the lodge, fuel and pump out stations will not be in operation for the 2020 season. Permits are still required for all vessels entering the bay between June 1st and August 31st. Please note that there may be slight changes to the permit process from previous years:
  • Orientations continue to be required for all vessel opperators and can be found here. Signatures are required confirming completion of an orientation and a willingness to comply by all rules and regualations while at Glacier Bay. This should been completed prior to entering Glacer Bay. Pictures of hand written statements will be accepted.
  • The Visitor Information Station (VIS) will continue processing Advanced and Short Notice private boater permits, however, its doors will not be open to the public.
  • Our Advanced Notice permit application period has changed from 60 days to 14 days.
  • At this time, the VIS is unable to accept physical documents in person such as permits, agreements, papers and other items. We appreciate your understanding.
  • Permit applications by email will continue to be accepted starting at 0700 but the VIS will only be operating from 0800 to 1700 daily.
All vessels are required to hail KWM20 National Park Service on VHF before entering or exiting Glacier Bay, activating and ending a permit. VHF traffic is recorded and the VIS will make note of calls received while out of service. We will update this page as new information becomes available.
Bartlett Cove sunset
Glacier Bay is a fabulous place to explore by boat.

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 away! These are only a couple of the common occurences while visiting Glacier Bay National Park on your own boat.

Vessel use in Glacier Bay is regulated by the National Park Service to protect park wildlife and other resources while providing a range of recreational opportunities to park visitors. Between June 1 and August 31, motorized private boat operators are required to obtain a free permit prior to entering Glacier Bay. Vessels entering without a permit may be denied access to the bay, asked to leave, and issued a citation. Please note that an active permit is required to transit between Bartlett Cove and the entrance to the bay, because Bartlett Cove is one of the most heavily used whale feeding areas.

sailboat in Glacier Bay
Vessel Anchored in Bartlett Cove

When to Apply for a Permit

Regulations (36 CFR § 13.1160) provide that no more than 25 private vessels may be permitted each day from June 1 through August 31. Thirteen (13) of these are designated advance notice permits and twelve (12) are short notice permits.

  • Advance notice permits may be issued to boaters applying 14 days (previously 60 days) in advance of the entry date. Check our Advance Notice Date Reference Guide to determine the earliest day to apply. Advance applications are strongly advised, particularly from June 20 through July 20. You may reserve up to seven consecutive days, counting the first day of your permit (i.e. seven-day/six-night maximum). At the peak of the summer season, permits may be difficult to get. If you are denied an advanced notice permit, you may try to apply for a short notice permit later.
  • Short notice permits may be issued to boaters 48 hours in advance of the requested entry date. You may reserve up to seven consecutive days, counting the first day of your permit (i.e. 7 day and 6 night maximum).
Advance notice reference guide thumbnail image 2020

Advance Notice Guide

Applications will be accepted no sooner than 7:00 AM Alaska Time (AKDT UTC −08:00) on the day the application may be submitted. Applications sent/received sooner than 7:00 AM Alaska Time are considered early and may be denied or moved to a lower priority. Please refer to the Advance Notice Date Reference Guide.

Vessels at a Tidewater Glacier
Vessels at Margerie Glacier

Application Process

Vessel operators may apply for permits by email, phone, fax, VHF radio, USPS mail, or if local to the area, in person at the Bartlett Cove Visitor Information Station (a permit must be obtained prior to traveling to Bartlett Cove by boat.) Due to the Covid-19 Pandemic, Applications are temporarily NOT accepted in person/by paper submission. Email completed copies to

When your application is submitted to the Visitor Information Station, it is reviewed by staff and processed into the boater permit system. Applications are handled in the order they are received. Applications with the same date/time stamp are prioritized by 1) email; 2) phone, radio, and fax; 3) USPS letter. Please note that we may receive a large volume of phone calls at 7:00 AM.

After an application has been processed, a response will be sent to the applicant. We reply to all applications that are received -- if you do not receive a response, please call the Visitor Information Station at (907) 697-2627.

Permits are issued to the vessel operator, and an operator may hold up to 2 permits at any given time. Each permit may be issued for up to 7 days and 6 nights, for a maximum of 14 days out of each 21 day period. Permits are valid at 00:01 on the first day and end at 23:59 on the last day of the permit. Boaters are required to exit the park before the permit expires. If you need additional days, please contact the Visitor Information Station upon your arrival for permit availability.

Image of boater application with NPS arrowhead overlaid.
Glacier Bay Boater Permit Application

2020 Glacier Bay Boater Permit Application

Complete this application and email back to us at
Applications will be accepted starting May 18th, 2020. Please see the Advance Notice Reference Guide for when to apply. Complete your annual Boater Orientation before you apply and sign the bottom of your application.
Note: This is a fillable PDF and can be viewed using the Adobe Acrobat Reader software. You may download a free copy of Acrobat Reader from Adobe Systems.This file cannot be edited and saved in your web browser.

Alternative Link:

Mooring agreement thumbnail image shows NPS arrowhead on top of black and white document
Glacier Bay Mooring Agreement

2020 Glacier Bay Mooring Agreement

Complete this application and email back to us at

Note: This is a fillable PDF and can be viewed using the Adobe Acrobat Reader software. You may download a free copy of Acrobat Reader from Adobe Systems.This file cannot be edited and saved in your web browser.


What to Do Once You're Here

All boaters are required to make a radio call to "KWM20 Bartlett Cove" on VHF channel 12 or 16 immediately upon entering the bay (36 CFR § 13.1152(b)) . Boaters must proceed directly to the Visitor Information Station in Bartlett Cove for a required orientation prior to continuing into Glacier Bay. Orientations are offered throughout the day; call the Visitor Information Station at (907) 697-2627 for the current boater orientation schedule.

In planning your trip, please note that pets are not allowed on shore anywhere in Glacier Bay National Park, except on a leash in the Bartlett Cove developed area. Before arriving, you may want to be familiar with other park regulations, particularly those regulations that apply to boaters.
Boating Regulations

Boating Regulations

Whale waters, wildlife closures, dock rules, etc.

Whale Waters Regulations

Whale Waters Regulations

Whales most often feed within 1 mile from shore. Learn how to protect them in Glacier Bay

Glacier Bay Boater Orientation Film

On The Water

Glacier Bay Boater's Orientation Film


Contacting the Visitor Information Station

To submit completed applications, or to request additional information, contact the Visitor Information Station by email, phone, fax, VHF radio, or USPS mail.

Phone: (907) 697-2627
Fax: (907) 697-2654
VHF marine radio: KWM20 BARTLETT COVE on channel 12 or 16
Mailing address:
Visitor Information Station
Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve
PO Box 140
Gustavus, AK 99826

The Visitor Information Station is open May 1 through September 30.
Hours May through September: 8 am to 5 pm.

Last updated: July 9, 2020

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve
PO Box 140

Gustavus, AK 99826


(907) 697-2230

Contact Us