Seeking Info: Alaska Marine Hwy System

I am considering employment with Alaska Marine Hiway System in a AB capacity.
Would like some info & feedback, conditions, advancement poss. etc…
Thanks, PC Doryman

I was offered an interview which I just turned down. I applied for the steward’s dept.

I think the AMHS is a good job and when I used it last summer as a passenger I was able to toour the bridge (they even let me take the wheel) and I also toured the engine room as well.

The employees seemed happy and the AB I spoke with said it was a “Cake-walk” job compared to other AB gigs.

As I see it AMHS crew are both state employees and members of the IBU which means you’re covered by both sides.

The only drawbacks I see are:

You won’t be full-time to start, it takes some time (a few years from what I understand) to be able to work year-round.

If you don’t live in either Juneu or Ketchikan you have to relocate during the season as the crew works one week on, one week off (that is what I heard from the AB’s, wipers and stew’s dept folks I spoke to) but there is a possibility to bid for the longer SW Alaska runs once hired.

If you’re a non-Alaska resident, you get lower pay than an Alaska resident. While I understand Alaska is probably the strictest state in the US for residency, asking an out-of-state new crewmember to accept pay that is several dollars an hour lower than a resident and then have to pay for their own housing on their off time seems a bit of a backwards thing to do. But it’s the price to pay to get your foot in the door.

The only city outside of Alaska where they conduct interviews is Seattle which you must travel to at your own expense.

I don’t claim to be an expert on the AMHS, hopefully some others will chime in as well.

Best of luck and welcome to gcaptain!


I worked for AMHS for two seasons as a mate. I live in Montana so I did not get the extra AK differential. They also do not pay fpr travel. I had to pay for my own travel back and forth to Ketchikan every two weeks which added up pretty quick. I agree with SatlySailor that if you live in Ketchikan or Juneau it would be a decent deal but at a week on and a week off for ABs the travel from elsewhere is kind of cost prohibitive. It is both IBU and state of AK so you have almost a double set of benefits coming to you. They also do not have enough instruction on the job. It is s pretty cush job if you don’t mind dealing with a cargo of people and the same route over and over again all the time.

Thanks brfoot, appreciate the input. The travel aspect does sound cost prohibitive because I too live in the lower 48. Oregon Coast…
Should I get on there, I would try to get on the longer SW runs.

Thanks Cap Reg for the welcome and all the good info. You confirmed as well as affirmed a lot of things I have learned about AMHS already.
Going to have to crunch some #s and decide if this is really worth pursuing.