The Coast Guard has experienced various VHF outages in Southeast and Southcentral Alaska throughout the summer and into the winter. Extra caution is advised in areas of Northern Shelikof Strait, Southern Cook Inlet, and portions of Southeast Alaska. Repairs are ongoing, but due to extreme weather and remote locations, intermittent outages are expected to continue in various locations in both Southeast and Southcentral Alaska. Mariners are reminded that due to mountainous terrain, and limited VHF coverage, even with fully operational VHF sites, the USCG cannot hear VHF calls in all areas, and mariners should have secondary means on communications onboard at all times, file a float plan with a trusted person, and carry safety equipment onboard in the event you are in a survival situation. The following phone numbers can be used to reach the US Coast Guard in emergencies. As always, all boaters should carefully evaluate their ability to assist distressed mariners, and always relay any heard distress calls to the US Coast Guard.
i. Sector Juneau Command Center at 907-463-2980
ii. Sector Anchorage Command Center: 907-428-4100
iii. 17th District command center: 907-463-2000
Charts showing the locations of VHF tower sites in Alaska can be seen at the USCG’s Navigation Center’s website here:
These charts are a little outdated, and thus do not show an additional VHF site at Valdez.
As of today, sites that the U.S. Coast Guard is unable to receive VHF communications are: Duke Island, Sukkwan Island, Zarembo Island, Cape Fanshaw, Duffield, Althorp Peak, Deception Hills, Pigot Point, Bede Mountain, Raspberry Island, and Cape Gull.