First Alaska-made ferry showcased in Juneau

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JUNEAU, Alaska (KTUU) - A brand new addition to the Alaska Marine Highway System fleet was showcased Sunday in Juneau, the first ferry to have been built in Alaska.

Hundreds of people braved the grey drizzly weather to explore the brand new Tazlina.

“It is so fun, people started lining up around an hour before it opened,” said Aurah Landau, a spokesperson for the AMHS. “There was a flow of people on board like salmon going back up stream.”

Onboard, people could see a small indoor playground for kids, a solarium outside to take in the views out of the elements and a new addition for the fleet, power outlets at every seat and table.

Landau explained that many kids use the ferries for school and often need to use their smartphones, tablets or laptops to do their homework.

The ship will service Juneau, Skagway and Haines.

Capt. John Falvey, the general manager of the AMHS, said the 280-foot ship can carry 300 passengers and 53 vehicles — more than the 235-foot Fairweather.

The ship is also described as very sturdy, with a heavy hull, making it more reliable than the fast ferries that often saw services cancelled due to rough swell.

“We expect this to be much more serviceable in the winter,” said Landau. “That's a big deal. "The marine highway system is a lifeline down here.”

Tazlina, along with its sister ship Hubbard, is the first ferry to be built in Alaska. On its port-side sits an enormous ‘Made in Alaska’ logo.

“We're very proud that both of these ships were built in Alaska, by Alaskans,” said Falvey. “That's quite an honor.”

Tazlina's maiden voyage will be on Tuesday morning between Juneau and Haines.

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