Frequently Asked Questions
Is it a Raft or a Boat? I'm Confused...
The term "ocean raft" comes from the raft-like inflatable tubes that surround the vessel; but, with its deep 'V' aluminum hull and triple 250-horsepower outboard engines, this is much more of a speed boat than a raft. The giant inflatable raft collar helps keep the boat stable and buoyant in the most extreme sea conditions making it the safest vessel of its kind.
Where do we Meet to be Picked Up?
The meeting location is a restroom South of 1st Ave on Broadway St next to a grassy field. The building has wood siding and Native artwork. Please check in with us in the front of the building before boarding our bus. Printable map and detailed walking instructions can be found by clicking here on map.
What Should I Wear?
We advise that you wear whatever clothing you would normally wear to walk around town in. Don't forget to consider the weather presented to you the day you are in port; but there is no need to bring extra layers or rain jackets for the tour. All necessary gear to keep you warm and dry is provided by Ocean Raft.
What "necessary gear" does Ocean Raft Provide?
Well, first we outfit you in a one-piece exposure suit that is worn over your existing clothing to keep you warm and dry on your tour. This exposure suit is also a USCG approved floatation device and will act as your life jacket during the tour. We also provide: an optional balaclava style hat, gloves and goggles. The goggles are designed to go over your prescription eyewear; they are not, however, tinted - so we recommend you bring sunglasses even on a cloudy day to help with the glare on the water.
What does "USCG" stand for?
United State Coast Guard
Will I look good in the one-piece Exposure Suit?
Absolutely! Everyone looks fantastic in orange, we promise!
Do you have a Size that fits me?
We have several different sizes to fit all types of individuals. However, we do have restrictions for this tour!
What are the Restrictions for this Tour?
The minimum age to participate is 10 years old.
The maximum guest weight allowed is 350 pounds.
Guests must be able to walk a minimum of 100 yards without assistance in order to participate. Scooters, wheelchairs or walkers are not allowed on the vessel.
Guests with pre-existing neck or back conditions or pregnant women are restricted from booking this tour.
This is an active tour! Please contact us if you have any questions or concerns regarding our restrictions. We would be happy to chat with you on if this is the best tour for you and assist in any way we can.
Will I get Seasick?
We have found that seasickness is not typically a problem on our tour. Since we are over 100 miles from the open ocean, we do not encounter the large rolling swells associated with the outer coast. When we do encounter waves they are wind generated and are, therefore, much closer together and do not rock the boat like the open ocean swells would.
Also, our tour hugs the shore and our vessels are open to the elements. This provides constant spectacular views with shoreline to always stare ahead at and an endless supply of fresh air to breath. That being said, if you are extremely sensitive to motion, you may want to take a typical motion sickness medicine before coming on tour or have one just in case.
Will I get Wet?
The exposure suits we provide are designed to keep you warm and dry. If the wind is blowing and there are waves in the Fjord you will experience some ocean spray into the boat, but our gear will keep you protected throughout the tour.
What should I Bring on the Raft?
We recommend that you bring a camera and/or a cell phone to take photos during the tour, these devices can be stored in one of the many exposure suits pockets. Also recommended are:
Sunglasses and/or prescription eyewear,
Any medication that you may need for the approximately 2 hours while on tour,
You are welcome to bring your own beanie style cap but baseball style caps tend to blow away, so we recommend you leave those behind.
Wait! What about my Extra Gear & Souvenirs?
Fear not! We will provide you with bins and totes to place all your extra gear, goods and souvenirs from shopping in Skagway; during the tour we keep them locked in our storage locker.
I have a large DSLR, can I Bring It?
Larger cameras are fine to bring, as long as you have a strap to wear it around your neck. This will allow you to tuck the camera underneath the exposure suit while we are going fast, then it becomes more functional during our multiple photo opportunity stops to use.
We recommend you bring one universal lens but if you would like to bring multiple lenses then, we have found that most extra lenses fit in the pockets of the exposure suits we provide. This will give you quick access to change lenses if/when needed.
What Kind of Wildlife will I see on the Ocean Raft Tour?
Southeast Alaska is fun of wildlife, though the abundance and diversity changes by the seasons and the minutes. You are likely to see but not guaranteed to see:
Seabirds of all types
On the luckiest of moments, we may even see a bear on the beach. In regards to whales, we see Humpback whales on occasion, but Skagway is not known for it’s whale-watching. So, if you are in absolute need of seeing a whale, we highly recommend booking a whale-watching excursion during your day in Juneau.
What is the Best Time of Day go on Tour?
Anytime! That being said, you should choose your departure time based on what other activities you have planned in and around Skagway. Since we are located so close to your cruise ship dock, we have a very short transfer time and pair nicely with other excursions in town.
Is the Tour Narrated?
Every tour has a Captain and a Naturalist onboard at all times to enhance your experience. We will stop the boat approximately every five minutes for photo opportunities and to allow the Naturalist to come forward and talk to you about the wildlife or scenery that we are looking at. The crew is always at your disposal for questions, to take photos, or just to chat.
What's the Best Seat in the Raft?
The raft is an open vessel that seats anywhere from 17 guests to 25 guests...so ALL seats are fantastic!
However, the front of the boat is like the first row on a roller coaster; when the waves are up, it can be very bouncy and you can really feel all the oceanic action. The seats towards the back are much smoother and are recommended for guests looking for a calmer yet still fun ride. The middle is the middle, it’s the best of both worlds.
If you are looking to be up close to the shoreline throughout the excursion sit on the Starboard side of the boat. If you’d like a more expansive view of the Fjord and the mountains sit on the Port side of the vessel.
No matter where you sit, half way through the ride we play a game of musical chairs and give everyone the opportunity to switch seats, so everyone gets to experience it all!
What's the Cancellation Policy?
No refunds will be given to "no show" guests.
All cancelled reservations will pay a 10% booking fee.
Cancellations within 48 hours of travel will receive no refund.
If, for any reason, Ocean Raft Alaska has to cancel your tour, all deposits and payments will be refunded in full, or, are fully transferable to another tour time.
Ocean Raft Alaska will not be responsible for any cost associated with cancellations including, but not limited to: flight cancellation fees, flight change fees and/or associated lodging and meal fees.
If, for any reason, your cruise ship does not arrive in Skagway in time for your scheduled tour, all deposits and trip payments will be refunded in full, or, are fully transferable to another tour time.
What else should I do in Skagway?
Looking for something fun to round out your day after exploring the fjord with us? These are a few of our favorites: