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Water Transportation History:
Alaska & the Yukon Territory


Railroad history links can be found here.

Histories of other forms of land transportation can be found here.


Roster of Yukon/Alaska Sternwheelers
A list of 389 boats, with links to other resources.

Alaska Marine Highway System
On January 23, 1963, the Malaspina became the first of the AMHS fleet to arrive in Alaska. This site has specs and thumbnail histories of all the ships, and some photos.

Alaska Packers' Association
A comprehensive roster of the 27 ships owned by the company between 1893 and 1935, with individual ship histories.

Dictionary of Shipbuilding Terminology
A huge listing of shipbuilding terms as used in Canada in the 1800s.

Fog, Men, and Cutters
A history of the Bering Sea Patrol, by Dennis L. Noble, Ph.D.

Ghost of Schooner Beach
Bob Johnson's beautifully-illustrated story about the wooden schooner Satsuma Maru, wrecked near Yakutat in 1907.

The Hard Voyage North
A lengthy article about a voyage by 32-foot boat from Seattle to Ketchikan, undertaken by Scientology head L.Ron Hubbard in 1940.

Icebreakers and the US Coast Guard
An excellent history by Donald L. Canney, describing the ships from the ice-strengthened Revenue Cutters to the modern day.

SS Islander
Nick Messinger has posted a well-illustrated story about the 1901 sinking of this ship on the Alaska coast, and subsequent salvage attempts.

Kalakala Going Home
Built in 1935, this ultra-modern ferry served as a fish-packing plant at Kodiak - this great site explains her history, including the story of her return to Seattle.

Northwest Ships & Shipping Database
For maritime historians, this site is indeed a gold mine; it has often-extensive information on over 13,000 West Coast boats and ships in a searchable database.

Polynesian Voyaging Society
Alaska spruce was used to build the 57-foot canoe Hawai'iloa , which sailed to Alaska in 1995. This site has extensive information on prehistoric seafaring.

Revenue Cutter Bear
An excellent, well-illustrated summary of the life and death of one of the most famous of the ships to work in northern waters.

San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park
This museum houses an enormous collection of Alaska-related shipping records and artifacts search in the Library and Collections areas of the Web site.

Schooner Ernestina
Lots of info is presented on this important Alaskan ship, which was sailed by Captain Bob Bartlett.

Shipwrecks in Alaska
Steve K. Lloyd lists some of the most famous of wrecks in Alaska.

Shipwrecks of the Alaskan Shelf and Shore
An extensive database compiled by Evert E. Tornfelt and Michael Burwell of the Department of the Interior's Minerals Management Services in Anchorage.

The Sinking of the Prinsendam
On October 4, 1980, the ship caught fire and later sunk 120 miles south of Yakutat, Alaska - all 520 passengers were rescued.

Steam Schooner Wapama
This vessel, currently being dismantled in San Francisco (2013), ran between California and Alaska for her final 10 yeras of service.

The Wreck of the Star of Bengal
When this salmon-cannery ship went down in a 1908 storm, 111 lives were lost.