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 occurrences 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. Detailed boater regulations are available here.
Step 1: When to Apply for a Permit
Park regulations allow 25 private vessels to obtain permits to travel inside Glacier Bay each day (June 1 through August 31). Thirteen permits are designated as advance notice permits, while the remaining 12 permits are designated as short notice permits. All permits have a maximum duration of 7-day (6-night) for a single operator. An operator may hold up to two permits at any time but may not exceed 14 use days in a 21 day period. Applications for advanced and short notice permits are accepted starting at 0700 AKDT on the day an entry date becomes available. Permits recieved before that time will be considered early. Applications may only include one permit request. Applications including more than one permit request will be considered incomplete.
Advance Notice Permit Guide
Please refer to the Advance Notice Date Reference Guide for help deciding your application date. Remember that advanced notice permits become available starting at 0700 AKDT, 60 days out from the starting day of their permit request and may not request more than 7 days (6 nights).
Step 2: How to Apply for a Permit
Applications are processed by the Visitor Information Station (VIS) in Bartlett Cove. The VIS will be in operation from 0700 to 1900 from May 28 thru August 31. For the remainder of May and September, the VIS will operate from 0800 to 1700. Processing permits begins starting at 0700 on a first come, first served basis and applications received before 0700 on the day an entry date becomes available will not receive preference. Only one application is allowed per permit request. The permit that you will be issued, advance notice or short notice, will depend on a permit's availability and the timeframe in which we receive an application. This is done in order to allow the best possible access into the bay for all visitors.
Step 3: Receiving your Permit
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.
Step 4: Prepare for your Trip - Required Orientation
Step 5: What to Do Once You're Here
Contacting the Visitor Information StationTo 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
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 from 8 am to 5 pm.
Last updated: February 2, 2023