Alaska - The Inside Passage

Located in the southeast region of Alaska, approximately 1,000 miles north of Vancouver, the Inside Passage, also known as the ‘Panhandle’ encompassing Ketchikan, Juneau, Sitka and Skagway provides an exceptionally diverse and fascinating charter experience.

This area is famous for spectacular scenery, abundant wildlife, vivid native cultures, astounding history and exceptional hospitality. Sheltered from the ocean and the weather it is possible to visit the many isolated communities along the route.

With thousands of islands, coves and bays this pristine waterway forms a protected cruising ground that is lined with many charming towns and small villages rich in history.

Formed millions of years ago from huge natural glaciers, the wildlife filled, dramatically beautiful fjords and coastal waterways that form Alaska’s inside passage are a wondrous lush island habitat for bald eagles, sea lions, dolphins and whales.

Majestic mountains carpeted with deep green forests provide a backdrop to some of the most beautiful scenery in the world. Local native cultures such as the Tlingit, Haida and Tshimshian Indians welcome all visitors and fascinating local history with totem pole carvings, traditional music and dance and the history of the 19th century Gold Rush days is found throughout the area.

The best way to experience this incredible area is by boat, and a number of charter options exist to tailor the perfect charter for you. Sail or motor through granite fjords, past huge waterfalls and active glaciers.

Take a relaxing soak in a natural hot spring, Watch icebergs calve from tidewater glaciers, observe humpback whales, orca whales, sea lions, seals and otters in the water. On shore see deer, mountain goats, brown bear, and black bear.

Set crab, and shrimp pots, fish for salmon and other fabulous local seafood. A charter in Alaska and the Inside Passage will provide the trip of a lifetime. Let us know your interests and we'll suggest a time and itinerary to fully maximize your trip.

» Picturesque towns
» Rugged natural environment
» Stunning scenery
» Explore huge cruising grounds
» Fishing and exploring

Weather Conditions


General weather for Alaska (Inside Passage)

Alaska is the USA's northern most state. It's above Canada and close to the North Pole. There is often lots of ice and you can take tours across glaciers. With this said, you would expect it to be very cold in Alaska. It can be, but not really in the May - September Alaska Cruising Season.

Temperatures in Alaska vary based on the time of year and the port or city you are visiting. The weather can be unpredictable.

May untill August is the recommeneded cruising period. May and June are considered the two most beautiful crusing months of the year. You will see snow capped landscapes and it is generally the driest month of the year with the days getting longer.

As wildlife is such an important factor for those visiting this area it is worth noting that the Humpback whales return from Hawaii in May and sea otters can be seen. The Spring King Salmon fishing goes from the first of May to about mid June. By the end of June Whale migration is pretty much complete and whale sightings are numerous and everywhere.

Warm spring days aided by long hours of daylight bring Alaska's wildflowers out in full bloom. The wildlife viewing is also excellent in May since the larger animals are migrating and in lower elevations where the snow has disappeared. Bears can be observed on the shoreline. The days continue getting longer until the 21st June.

Average Conditions - Juneau


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Current Forecast:

Day Temp Wind Wave Vis Weather

2 kts

0.0 ft 1 km

13 kts

0.9 ft 7 km

8 kts

0.2 ft 4 km

3 kts

0.3 ft 2 km

13 kts

1.0 ft 7 km

General Information

Flights to Alaska
Roads are few in Alaska, due to mountains, tundra and inhospitable terrain. The most common way to get around this wilderness state is by air, most small aircraft being equipped with floats.
Several airlines, largely based at Anchorage, operate services to almost every Alaskan village. Alaska Airlines (tel: 1 800 252 7522, in the USA only; flies to Alaska's largest cities (Anchorage, Fairbanks, Juneau and Ketchikan), as well as a number of bush communities throughout the state. A number of smaller, regional airlines provide state-wide services.

Departure Tax:

Valid passport required by all nationals from the UK, Australia, and Other EU countries; validity varies - for most countries the passport must be valid for at least six months from the date on which the holder enters the USA. If not, the holder will be admitted until the expiration date on the passport; check with the embassy.

Passport note: 
(a) For nationals included in the Visa Waiver Program passports must be valid for at least 90 days from date of entry.
(b) All travellers entering the USA under the Visa Waiver Program require individual machine-readable passports. Children included on a parent's passport also now require their own machine-readable passport. Travellers not in possession of machine-readable passports will require a valid USA entry visa.
(c) As of 12 January 2009, all travellers visiting the US under the Visa Waiver Programme are to provide details online 72 hours prior to travel. For more information, please see below.
(d) Passports issued on or after 26 October 2005 will need to have a biometric identifier in order for the holder to travel visa free under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). Machine-readable passports issued between 26 October 2005 and 25 October 2006 requires a digital photograph printed on the data page or an integrated chip with information from the data page. Machine-readable passports issued on or after 26 October 2006 will require an integrated chip with information from the data page (e-passport).

Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI): 
All persons, including US citizens, travelling by air between the USA and Canada, Central and South America, the Caribbean and Bermuda are required to present a valid passport, or other approved document, when entering or re-entering the USA. Similar requirements for those travelling by land or sea were introduced on 1 June 2009.

Not required by nationals referred to above for stays of up to 90 days except:
1. Nationals of Bulgaria, Cyprus, Greece, Poland and Romania, who do require a visa as they are not included in the Visa Waiver Program.
2. Holders of some Maltese passports are included in the Visa Waiver Program.

Visa note: 
(a) Landed Immigrants of Canada and British residents of Bermuda who are citizens of, and have valid passports from, Commonwealth countries or Ireland are not eligible to enter the USA without a visa.
(b) All passengers using US airports for transit purposes are required to obtain a transit visa. This does not affect qualified travellers travelling visa free under the Visa Waiver Program.
(c) To qualify for visa-free travel under the Visa Waiver Program, nationals must travel on a valid passport, for holiday, transit or business purposes only and for a stay not exceeding 90 days. (ESTA). See below for more information.
(d) 2. Holders of UK passports with the endorsement British Subject, British Dependent Territories Citizen, British Protected Person, British Overseas Citizen or British National (Overseas) Citizen do not qualify for the Visa Waiver Program. A passport which states holder has right of abode or indefinite leave to remain in the UK does not qualify for visa free travel.
(e) A visa does not expire with the expiry of the holder’s passport. An unexpired, endorsed visa in an expired passport may be presented for entry into the USA, as long as the visa itself has not been cancelled, is undamaged, is less than 10 years old and is presented with a valid non-expired passport, provided that both passports are for the same nationality.
(f) Nationals of countries not referred to in the chart above are advised to contact the embassy to check visa requirements (see Contact Addresses).

The Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) came into force on 12 January 2009. It is a fully automated, electronic system for screening passengers before they begin travel to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program. ESTA applications must be submitted at least 72 hours before travel to the USA. Airlines must now deny check-in to passengers without valid ESTA. Some websites may charge you for the service but you can apply online for free at ESTA (
When applying for ESTA-authorisation and entering the passport number, the number 0 must not be replaced by letter O as this can lead to problems upon entering the US.
The granting of an ESTA does not guarantee entry to the USA.

Health care:
Medical insurance is strongly advised. Only emergency cases are treated without prior payment and treatment may be refused without evidence of insurance or a deposit. All receipts must be kept in order to make a claim. Medical facilities are generally of a high standard. Many medications available over the counter in other countries require a prescription in the US. Those visiting the USA for long periods with school-age children should be aware that school entry requirements include proof of immunisation against diphtheria, measles, poliomyelitis and rubella throughout the USA; schools in many states also require immunisation against tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough) and mumps. HIV-positive visitors must apply at the US Embassy for a Waiver of Inadmissibility before entry.

Money in Alaska:

ATMs are widely available across the state.

Banking hours:
Variable, but generally Mon-Fri 0830-1700.

Credit cards:
Most major credit cards are accepted throughout the USA, including American Express, Diners Club, MasterCard and Visa. Visitors are advised to carry at least one major credit card, as it is common to request prepayment or a credit card imprint for hotel rooms and car hire, even when final payment is not by credit card.

Currency information:
US Dollar (USD; symbol $) = 100 cents. Notes are in denominations of $100, 50, 20, 10, 5, 2 and 1. Coins are in denominations of $1, and 50, 25, 10, 5 and 1 cents.

Currency restrictions:
There are no restrictions on the import or export of local or foreign currency. However, amounts in excess of US$10,000 or equivalent should be declared at customs.

Traveller’s cheques:
Widely accepted in US Dollar cheques; Pound Sterling traveller's cheques are rarely accepted and few banks will honour them. Change is issued in US Dollars. One or two items of identification (passport, credit card, driving licence) will be required.

English, with significant Spanish-speaking minorities

There are Internet cafés in most urban areas, and an increasing number of Wi-Fi hotspots. Many coffee shops offer free Wi-Fi. Many of the international airports offer Internet access too.

Freedom of expression in the US is guaranteed by the constitution. The USA has the most highly developed mass media in the world. Public broadcasting is partly government-funded, but also supported by private grants.

Mobile telephone:
Foreign mobile telephones only work if they are tri-band or quad-band; charges are high. Visitors can also hire a mobile telephone. Pre-pay cell phones can be purchased from a variety of retail outlets, including drug stores.

For emergency police, fire or medical services in major cities, dial 911. The following codes denote toll free (free phone) numbers: 800, 855, 866, 877 and 888


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Why book your charter with us?

CharterSearch is a trading name for Ocean Marine Group and we are an independent yacht charter agency specialising in bareboat, skippered and fully crewed yacht charters. We offer a complete charter package with high quality luxury yachts including sailing monohull yachts, catamarans and powerboats at extremely competitive prices.

We work with a large number of reputable charter companies, owners and operators worldwide and can recommend boats to our clients based on previous experiences, maintenance standards, customer service, and most importantly support they offer our charter guests. Feedback and reviews by our staff and our customers mean our advice is impartial and we will always have your best interests at heart. The team at CharterSearch all have vast experience and knowledge of the yacht charter industry having worked for many years for charter companies, travel agencies and sailing schools. We are in unique position to provide you with a first-class service.

We offer some of the most desirable cruising and sailing destinations in the Caribbean, Mediterranean, Indian Ocean, Pacific Ocean, Asia, Americas, Baltic and Scandinavia. Our website will tell you everything you need to know about yacht chartering and you will find useful information, travel tips, weather and sailing conditions, along with example itineraries and of course boat specifications. Simply submit your enquiry, email or phone us and our trained staff will be happy to give you advice and answer any questions that you may have. Enjoy our website and we look forward to helping you arrange your yacht charter holiday.