Ketchikan’s Tourism Best Management Practices Program Introduction

The Ketchikan TBMP program is modeled after the highly successful TBMP program established in Juneau in 1997. Tourism Best Management Practices (TBMP) is a voluntary compliance program for partners and organizations in the greater Ketchikan area. The goal of the program is to address resident and industry concerns and enhance our visitors’ experience. This program is a cooperative effort of Ketchikan visitor industry partners, cruise lines, City of Ketchikan, Ketchikan Gateway Borough, Greater Ketchikan Chamber of Commerce, Ketchikan Visitors Bureau, and other agencies.

As Ketchikan’s visitor industry has grown, so have concerns about impacts to the community. In 2019 the KVB Board of Directors approved establishing a steering committee to develop a local program to:

  • Enhance the visitor experience and Ketchikan’s reputation as a top-rated destination.
  • Offer tools and guidelines for industry partners wishing to practice high standards of customer service while minimizing community impacts.
  • Provide the community with a means to have questions and concerns addressed in a timely manner. The Ketchikan TBMP program includes the following components:

Partners agree to implement the appropriate best practices in their operations through adoption in their own policies and through training of their staff.

Partners also agree to address issues or concerns raised by other partners, community partners and/or the City and Borough governments and other governmental agencies.

The Ketchikan TBMP program provides resources for all partners including a handbook and a website with additional information, and a dedicated email address and phone number for the community to use to comment, ask questions or report a concern.

These guidelines do not replace applicable city, state, or federal regulations.

TBMP participating partners and organizations who successfully complete implementation and training requirements will be listed on the TBMP website and included in brochures and other promotional materials. Partners will have access to use of the TBMP logo. Decals will be issued to partners for placement on tour vehicles and storefronts.

The TBMP Ketchikan program is administered by Ketchikan Visitors Bureau with oversight and support from our partner agencies and municipalities and is funded through a CPV grant from the Ketchikan Gateway Borough.

General Agreements for All Ketchikan TBMP partners

Program contacts

Transportation and Vehicles

Flightseeing (Helicopter & Fixed Wing)

Walking, Hiking, Bicycling & Zipline Tours

Ports, Harbors & Staging Area

Cruise Ships

Kayaking, Marine Tour, Sightseeing, and Sportfishing Operators

Tour Sales Activities: KVB, Ports & Harbors, City right of ways

Ketchikan International Airport facilities

Downtown and Retail

Attractions, Restaurants and Hospitality

General Agreements for All TBMP Partners

Ketchikan TBMP partners desire to provide a positive experience for our visitors while minimizing impacts

to our community.

Partners, organizations and individuals who wish to be recognized as TBMP compliant will abide by the agreements and standards set forth in the handbook and/or posted on the website.

Partners will be expected to observe the following practices:

  • Conduct business in a legal and ethical manner and not use business practices that damage others through association
  • Emulate the highest standard of customer service
  • Take responsibility to ensure that visitors and community partners are treated with courtesy and respect, in such a way as to leave a positive impression on them.
  • Accurately describe our products and services to address any safety, health related or physical restrictions that customers should be aware of and to provide complete information on pricing, duration and location of tours and activities.
  • Recognize it is in all our best interests to serve the needs and desires of the customer; and if our product is not appropriate, direct them to the service that best meets their needs.
  • Share the responsibility for ensuring that the visitor experience in Ketchikan exceeds expectations so they will become among our best sales staff in promoting our community to potential visitors.
  • Strive to be good ambassadors of the community with knowledge of the locations of public amenities nearby such as post office, bus stops, museums, restrooms, and government buildings.

TRAINING: Partners agree to train all employees on the program objectives and practices and to conduct periodic training sessions for employees hired mid-season. Partners will strive to conduct business in a manner which exhibits common courtesy throughout the season. Employees of participating partners will be required to sign a “TBMP Employee Partnership Agreement” certifying that the employee has read, understands and agrees to abide by the Tourism Best Management Practices guidelines applicable to his/her job description.

CONTACT NAME: Partners agree to provide the TBMP Hotline administrator with a contact name, telephone number, fax number and email address.

WORK SESSIONS: Partners agree to participate in periodic work sessions to discuss progress made in attaining program goals.

COMMUNITY MEETING: All TBMP partners agree to send a representative to an annual community meeting to:

  • Identify problem areas where traffic and pedestrian congestion creates conflicts
  • Identify areas of concern to residents
  • Formulate strategies to mitigate or avoid conflicts in these areas; and measure the effectiveness of the mitigation strategies.

RESPONSE TO TBMP HOTLINE: Partners agree to respond within 3 business days to calls and emails received via the Tourism Best Management Practices Hotline. Partners will provide the TBMP Hotline Administrator with a summary of their response. Callers will be asked to communicate as much information as possible, including name of participant business and/or staff member, description of the aircraft, watercraft, or vehicle, vehicle number if applicable, and date and approximate time of observation. Callers will also be asked to leave a name, phone number, and/or email address so the partners may respond. Callers are also encouraged to provide positive feedback via the hotline to recognize partners who are making a difference by following the guidelines and operating their business in a courteous and neighborhood-friendly manner.

SELF-MONITORING: All partners agree to improve their self-monitoring efforts by actively utilizing the TBMP Internal Observation Form to directly contact a company who may not be observing the TBMP guidelines. These actions honor the spirit of TBMP and ultimately help all companies reduce tourism impacts in the community.

ONGOING TRAINING FOR EMPLOYEES: Partners agree to provide ongoing (mid- season) training and coaching for their employees, to reinforce compliance with the guidelines that pertain to their operations.

CULTURAL PROTOCOLS: All partners should take steps to ensure accuracy and respect regarding interpretation of Alaska Native culture and other cultural groups. This includes fact-based research from recognized sources for tour interpretation and disclosure of the origin of items in the sale of retail products.

LITTER AND RECYCLING: All TBMP partners are expected to be familiar with and comply with the anti-litter ordinance detailed in Ketchikan’s Municipal Code, Chapter 9.68. Partners are strongly encouraged to commit to a recycling program which is effective for their individual size and type of business. The City of Ketchikan and Ketchikan Gateway Borough and commercial property owners are asked to ensure there are adequate receptacles throughout the community for proper disposal of smoking material and trash.

CLEANING AND SANITATION PROTOCOLS: All TBMP partners agree to maintain and update as needed, procedures for staff and guests to maintain infection control and mitigate the potential transmission of highly contagious viral diseases including but not limited to Norovirus Gastroenteritis and COVID-19 coronavirus. Partners will train staff and monitor policy implementation and agree to comply with all applicable local, state and federal regulations.

WILDLIFE PROTOCOLS: All partners agree to dispose of and secure trash in a manner which does not attract wildlife.

All partners agree not to feed or bait* wildlife of any form and comply with the Ketchikan Municipal Code Chapter 9.70 Bird Feeding

All partners agree to be observant and watch for signs of distress as recommended by Alaska Department of Fish and Game guidelines on wildlife harassment

ALASKA’S SMOKE FREE WORK PLACE LAWS: All partners comply with state laws pertaining to smoking in and around the workplace.

ACCESSIBILITY: To better serve the number of visitors arriving in Ketchikan each year with limited mobility and/or visual or hearing impairments TBMP partners agree to establish “best practice” objectives to provide these visitors with a quality experience. SAIL (SE Alaska Independent Living) provides the following suggestions

  • Consider how best to make accommodation for customers with limited mobility and/or a visual or hearing impairment, as appropriate to their operation.
  • Include accessibility information in tour/activity descriptions and have readily available for those seeking details (i.e. how many steps? how long a walk? are necessary service companions given complimentary space?).
  • Train all employees in accessibility awareness, with focus on how best to accommodate requests for various types of assistance (mobility, hearing, visual, etc.), how to provide good customer service to those with disabilities or impairments, and when to seek additional help in doing so.

PRIVACY AND SECURITY: Partners will train staff to ensure that customer data including but not limited to personal identification, credit/debit card numbers and security codes and other sensitive materials are handled with care to minimize potential identity theft and to safeguard privacy.

EMERGENCY PROCEDURES: Partners will ensure staff are trained to aid customers in the event of an emergency and understand policies and procedures.

TBMP Program Contacts

Participating partners are responsible for managing this program and for promoting its objectives through a variety of means. This may also include contacting other organizations who have not signed on to the program and encouraging them to join with other visitor industry partners.

Cruise Line Industry Association of Alaska, City of Ketchikan, Greater Ketchikan Chamber of Commerce, Ketchikan Gateway Borough and Ketchikan Visitors Bureau supports and endorses the Tourism Best Management Practices program and encourages all to participate.

For more information about the TBMP program contact

Ketchikan Visitors Bureau
50 Front Street, Suite 203
Ketchikan, AK 99901

Phone: 907-225-6166

To learn more about Ketchikan’s TBMP program:
TBMP Website:
To submit a question or comment please contact us anytime:
TBMP Hotline: 907-225-8267 (TBMP)
TBMP Hotline Email:

Transportation and Vehicles

Commercial passenger vehicles are required to comply with Ketchikan Municipal Code ordinances, Alaska State Administrative Statutes and US DOT regulations that pertain to the operation of commercial vehicles on public roadways.

For purposes of this program, vehicles include motor coaches, buses, mini-buses, limos, vans, trolleys, taxis, motorcycles, airporters and non-motorized vehicles.

Residents should remember that tour vehicles are sometimes used for non-tour activities, including charters, government service contracts, school field trips and charity work. While this program focuses on tour activities, operators agree to conduct all activities in a courteous manner and to emphasize these guidelines during pre-season training.

DOWNTOWN TRAFFIC/STAGING: All companies utilizing the Berth 1, Berth 2, Berth 3, and Berth 4 staging areas should be aware of times when congestion into and out of these lots will be at peak level. Dispatchers and drivers will assist in promoting efficient traffic flow in the area by managing vehicle movements in a courteous manner and by yielding to other vehicles and users as necessary.

TRAFFIC FLOW: Drivers agree not to impede normal traffic flow by slowing down or stopping for sightseeing opportunities except in designated turnouts and will not pull over on bike lanes or walking paths or on the shoulder of roads.

Drivers will be especially attentive not to slow down or stop, when transiting intersections such as Stedman and Deermount Streets, Water Street and Schoenbar Road or along Totem Row in Saxman or the waterfall at Mile 10.5 South Tongass Highway.

Taxis, Crew Shuttles, and similar should avoid stopping in the roadway and/or alongside sidewalks, even when flagged for a fare. Vehicles should attempt to stop out of the flow of traffic to prevent congestion. Drivers attempting to accomplish a “quick drop-off” should utilize designated tour bus loading zones and refrain from using municipal bus stops.

CROSSING GUARDS: To aid vehicle traffic flow, City of Ketchikan crossing guards will direct pedestrians to cross in sync with traffic light stops at Front and Dock Streets.

EMPTY TOUR VEHICLES: Drivers of empty tour vehicles agree to avoid looping through downtown unnecessarily and will not park in designated loading zones unless they are loading guests prior to departing on tour.

THIRD AVENUE & SCHOENBAR ROAD RESTRICTIONS: No sightseeing vehicle may be driven on any part of Third Avenue (including the bypass between Washington St. & Schoenbar Road), or Schoenbar Road between Park Avenue and Forest Avenue except during such times that the Stedman Street – Mill Street – Front Street – Water Street – Kennedy Street – Tongass Avenue roadway or a portion thereof is closed or passage is restricted by work within the roadway as determined by the Chief of Police or other authorized officials.

Park Avenue, Stedman Street and Main Street-Discovery Center buses and tour vehicles will only pull over in designated tour vehicle zones and will not block traffic by waiting for the zone to become available.

VEHICLE FLUIDS AND EMISSIONS: Drivers of ALL VEHICLES agree to monitor any engine oil and/or fluid leaks and excess emissions/ black smoke when operating throughout the Ketchikan road system. This includes monitoring at all staging/loading zones and docks downtown, as well as venues such as, but not limited to the Herring Cove, Mountain Point, Saxman carving center, and Stedman Street pull offs. Should any vehicle exhibit a leak of a substantial nature or visible emissions in excess, the operator should be prepared to immediately pull the vehicle from service until repaired. Any vehicle exhibiting signs of a mechanical failure should pull over immediately at the next safe location for repairs. This is to ensure vehicle failures do not block public rights-of-way.

ENGINE IDLING: Drivers of ALL VEHICLES agree to turn engines off at every reasonable opportunity when loading and unloading passengers and/or when staging in the various loading zones, staging areas and tour venues throughout the City of Ketchikan and Ketchikan Gateway Borough. Vehicles should not sit with engines idling while actively loading, unloading, or waiting for passengers to arrive. Engines should be started only when the vehicle is ready to move, and thereafter, only when the vehicle is in motion or in traffic. Exceptions include safety related issues, including vehicles that may need to idle in order to defog windshields and windows, situations where vehicles with air brakes may need to idle to build air pressure or when weather requires engines to remain on for guest comfort.

TRANSITING RESIDENTIAL STREETS: Drivers agree to avoid transiting residential streets within the City and Ketchikan Gateway Borough unless conducting a specific pick-up or drop-off in the immediate vicinity. This includes but is not limited to Third Avenue and Old Homestead Road.

ADA ZONES NOT FOR STAGING: Drivers utilizing equipment with a wheelchair lift will use the designated ADA zones only for active loading and unloading and not for staging of vehicles.

SAFETY WHEN BACKING: All motor coaches, buses, mini-buses, vans, amphibious vehicles and trolleys will take special care when backing out of the loading/unloading zones at Berths 1,2,3 & 4 All companies will assign a representative on site to assist with traffic flow and backing procedures at each berth. Operators will provide a backer for their own operation throughout the day at each location as required by City Ports and Harbors regulations. As well, when preparing to back, drivers should be aware of the backup beepers and the sound they make and should strive to spend as little time as possible in reverse. Drivers should only shift into reverse when they are ready to commence backing to minimize beeper sounds.

SAFETY ON ROADWAYS: Drivers will take caution when encountering pedestrians, cyclists, and animals on narrow roadways, bike lanes and school zones throughout the city & borough and companies will take this into consideration during their driver training programs. Drivers should strive to operate in a manner which exhibits common courtesy throughout their daily travels. Extra caution should be exercised on the narrow and congested downtown roads. All drivers should be trained on the changing/reduced speed limits throughout the downtown and highway areas.

TROLLEY OPERATIONS: Drivers agree not to impede traffic and to maintain a safe travelling speed. Drivers agree to be mindful of the use of the Trolley bell and PA system outside volume.

RESOURCE SCHEDULING: Operators agree to assign vehicles to scheduled tours and transfers in a manner which efficiently maximizes the use of all vehicles on duty. The number of vehicles and type of equipment will be assigned to a tour or transfer based on the capacity needs on a given day. Operators will collaborate with partners/vendors to find opportunities to minimize the number of vehicles on the road whenever possible.

TRAINING OF SCHEDULERS: Operators will train all schedulers to take advantage of synergies that are present in the Ketchikan tourism transportation industry. Schedulers should strive to better serve their constituents and community stakeholders by minimizing vehicles on the road whenever possible.

CROSSING GUARDS: Ports & Harbors Crossing Guards will be positioned in strategic locations in order to promote safety and facilitate vehicle and pedestrian movement throughout the downtown corridor. TBMP members should be mindful of their presence and obey their instructions.

HIGHWAY DRIVING: Drivers agree to pull over if they have five or more vehicles behind them in the first available & legal spot to do so. Examples of safe spots to pull over include Mountain Point & Ward Cove (across from the scrap yard).

LOCAL RECREATION SITES: Drivers agree not to use Hole in the Wall Marina, Mountain Point boat launch, Bugge Beach, Refuge Beach, or South Point Higgins Beach as tour destinations.

IMPEDING PEDESTRIAN TRAFFIC: Taxis and Crew Shuttles will refrain from impeding or slowing traffic by stopping along sidewalks in downtown to pick up or drop off passengers.

SAFETY ON ROADWAYS: Drivers will take caution when encountering pedestrians, cyclists, and animals on narrow roadways, bike lanes and school zones throughout the borough and companies will take this into consideration during their driver training programs. Drivers should strive to operate in a manner which exhibits common courtesy throughout their daily travels.

Drivers utilizing South or North Tongass Highway for tours, transfer, and charters should operate their vehicle at or close to the posted speed limit. Vehicles or drivers that are not able to operate at the posted speed limit should not be used on these roads. Should slower speeds be required due to road conditions and result in traffic backing up; the operator should pull over at the next available pull off to allow traffic to pass.

In the interest of safety, all operators agree to promote a no cell phone policy when their drivers are operating a vehicle except in the case of an emergency.

BELLS AND PA SYSTEMS: Bells and Public Address (PA) systems should not be utilized in any tours unless the noise is restricted to the cabin of the vehicle.

HERRING COVE AREA: Partners agree to observe the following guidelines when bringing tour groups to the Herring Cove/Herring Creek bridge area:

  • All public warning signs must be obeyed.
  • Standing within the drive lanes or travel-way (within the white lines) is prohibited.
  • Walking in the drive lanes (within the white lines) is prohibited, except where there are no other means of travel available.
  • Always give wildlife enough room to retreat.
  • Never chase wildlife.
  • Do not feed or harass wildlife
  • Do not trespass onto private property.
  • Provide customers with the location of public restrooms.

As always, Operators are responsible for abiding by Alaska State Statutes governing operation of vehicles on state roadways including but not limited to stopping, standing or parking on highways, unlawful obstruction or blocking traffic, and pedestrians on highways.

Flightseeing (Helicopter & Fixed Wing)

Flightseeing operations are subject to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations and operational
requirements. Although the following guidelines are designed to minimize noise, safety and flight operations
take precedence over noise abatement procedures.

Flightseeing operators have signed a Letter of Agreement (LOA) with the Tongass Aviation Pilots Association
in conjunction with the FAA addressing operational routes and procedures. To learn more, a website link to
the LOA may be found at: Operators will conduct pre-season training in a manner
which emphasizes these guidelines.

ROUTES & AIRCRAFT IDENTIFIERS: Operators agree to provide the following to the TMBP Ketchikan
steering committee who will make the information available to interested partners of the public:

  • Established flight routes
  • Common factors influencing route choice, such as weather, turbulence and traffic
  • Aircraft colors or other distinguishing characteristics useful in identifying individual operators

ALTITUDE: Operators follow voluntarily agreed-upon routes for tour flights and maintain minimum altitudes
agreed upon in the TAPA LOA, except during take-off, landing or when deviations are required by weather
or traffic. Additional radio calls will be made if such deviations occur.

FLY NEIGHBORLY: Helicopter operators agree to conduct flightseeing tours in accordance with the
Helicopter Association International (HAI) Fly Neighborly Program. The Fly Neighborly Program is a voluntary
noise reduction program designed to be implemented worldwide by local helicopter operators, large and
small. Additional information on this program can be viewed on the HAI website—

WILDLIFE VIEWING: Operators conducting air tours within the Ketchikan and neighboring tour areas agree to minimize impacts to
backcountry users and wildlife. Operators will not circle, hover, harass or decrease altitude for wildlife viewing.
Flightseeing operators also agree to avoid key mountain goat kidding areas.

Walking, Hiking, Bicycling & Zipline Tours

Commercial use of public trails is permitted by the US Forest Service, and by Alaska State Parks (11 AAC 12.300.
Commercial activities). Operators may hold commercial permits for the following trails:

State of Alaska Parks and recreation sites:

  • Totem Bight
  • Settlers Cove*
  • Refuge Cove

State of Alaska Marine Parks:

  • Grindall Island
  • Betton Island
  • Grant/Joe Island
  • Black Sands Beach
  • Blank Inlet
  • Dall Bay

*No commercial activity in campground, access is Lunch Creek trailhead at end of the road. Lunch Creek trail also
requires a USFS permit at the 1.5-mile mark and beyond. USFS commercially permitted areas include extensive areas throughout the Tongass National Forest and Misty
Fjords National Monument areas. Allocations and restrictions are detailed in the USFS Ketchikan - Misty Fjords
Outfitter Guide Management Plan.

Additional information and agency contacts for State and Federal public lands can be found on the TBMP
Ketchikan website:

Operators will conduct pre-season training in a manner which focuses on and emphasizes these guidelines.

IDENTIFIERS FOR TOUR GUIDES: Operators agree to ensure tour guides are easily identifiable and that
company names are visible on guides’ attire and company vehicles.

YIELD TO OTHER USERS: Guides agree to instruct clients to yield to other users on commercially used

TRAIL CONDITION REPORTS: Operators agree to report trail conditions and trail abuse to appropriate
regulatory agencies.

Ports and Harbors and Port Staging Areas

Ports and Harbors regulations are included in Title 13 and Title 14 of the City of Ketchikan Municipal Code. Additional sections of the Municipal Code may also apply. Operators will conduct pre-season training in a manner which emphasizes these guidelines.

COURTEOUS USE: Operators agree to use docks, harbors, loading ramps, staging areas and related parking facilities in a courteous and responsible manner, and to pay special attention to other users.

PORT FACILITIES: Vessels desiring to utilize Daly Float, Ryus Float, the Berth 3 tender floats and the Berth 4 tender floats to pick up and drop off passengers must purchase port loading zone permits. Vehicles desiring to utilize the Port including picking up and dropping off passengers must obtain port access passes.

Refer to Title 13 of the City of Ketchikan Municipal Code for more information.

KETCHIKAN HARBOR LARGE PASSENGER VESSEL ANCHORAGE: In accordance with federal law, 33 CFR 110.231 No vessel, other than a large passenger vessel of over 1600 gross tons, may anchor without the express consent of the Captain of the Port Southeast Alaska. This regulation also requires all vessels using propulsion machinery to proceed through the anchorage by the most direct route without unnecessary delay and prohibits sudden course changes.

PORT NO WAKE ZONE: Vessels over 23 feet in length are required to comply with 33 CFR 162.240, Tongass Narrows, Ketchikan, Alaska; navigation. This federal regulation establishes a maximum speed limit of 7 knots in Tongass Narrows, bounded on the north by Buoy ‘9’ and to the south by the East and West Channel Regulatory markers, respectively.

SPECIAL EVENTS: Companies agree to pay extra attention when operating during special events including the Salmon Derby and Fourth of July and will observe the safety zone (33 CFR 165.1708) around the fireworks barge when in effect during the fireworks display.

Cruise Ships

Visible stack emissions are regulated by the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation under the Marine Vessel Visible Emission Standards (18 AAC 50-.070). (See resources at

P.A. ANNOUNCEMENTS, SIGNALS and OUTDOOR ENTERTAINMENT: Cruise Line Agencies of Alaska (CLAA), Cruise Line Industry Association-Alaska (CLIA) and individual cruise lines will work to minimize vessel announcements, whistle signals, and outdoor entertainment (movies and use of music, bands or DJ) while docked or anchored within the Ketchikan Gateway Borough. Cruise ships are also asked to monitor their outside speakers, announcements and entertainment on approach to and departure from Ketchikan. Ships will keep outside speakers turned off while transiting Ketchikan, beginning at Mountain Point and continuing to the northern boundary of Point Higgins. Cruise Line Agencies and cruise lines will ensure that shipboard staff understand the importance of this specific guideline. Certain signals and announcements are necessary and required by the US Coast Guard or are necessary for safety reasons. Visit for an explanation of the use of ships’ whistles.

EMISSION STANDARDS: All cruise vessels agree to comply with the Marine Vessel Visible Emissions Standards (18 AAC 50-.070) and take all available and reasonable steps to minimize visible stack effluents while in port.

VESSEL EMISSIONS: All cruise vessels agree to take any other proactive steps feasible to manage visible emissions

COURTEOUS USE OF VESSEL FLOATS: Cruise ship tender operators agree to use the designated floats at Berth III and Berth IV in a safe and responsible manner and to pay special attention to other users. Tender operators also agree to minimize their wake in the harbor, especially in the vicinity of floatplanes and kayaks and to operate in a manner which exhibits common courtesy to others.

PORT NO WAKE ZONE: Cruise ships and their lightering vessels (tenders) over 23 feet in length are required to comply with 33 CFR 162.240, Tongass Narrows, Ketchikan, Alaska; navigation. This federal regulation establishes a maximum speed limit of 7 knots in Tongass Narrows, bounded on the north by Buoy ‘9’ and to the south by the East and West Channel Regulatory markers, respectively

Kayaking, Marine Tour, Sightseeing and Sportfishing Operators

IMPACTS TO COASTAL ZONES: Marine tour operators and charter/sportfishing operators will take all available and reasonable steps to minimize impacts to coastal residents and other vessel operators. Vessel operators will strive to minimize the impacts of their wake on other watercraft, docks and beaches throughout Ketchikan area coastal waterways, including popular crabbing and recreational boating grounds.

Marine tour operators agree to follow the Coast Guards Tongass Narrows Voluntary Waterway Guide.

Marine tour operators agree to monitor the volume and use of their onboard PA systems and outside speakers in a manner which reduces the impact on residents and recreational boaters.

Marine Operators will follow all applicable federal regulations regarding marine mammal viewing. For the most current information see resources in the appendix to this handbook on our website:

When two or more vessels are positioned near wildlife they are viewing, and the intention of the other vessels is not obvious, all vessel operators agree to coordinate their movements by radio to reduce the potential for causing disturbance to the wildlife.

Time spent by marine operators observing a specific whale or specific group of whales should not exceed 30 minutes within a 2-hour time span on any tour or charter. Vessels should refrain from revisiting the same whale or group of whales within that two (2) hour period.

PORT NO WAKE ZONE: Marine sightseeing/tour vessels and charter fishing boats over 23 feet in length are required to comply with 33 CFR 162.240, Tongass Narrows, Ketchikan, Alaska; navigation. This federal regulation establishes a maximum speed limit of 7 knots in Tongass Narrows, bounded on the north by Buoy ‘9’ and to the south by the East and West Channel Regulatory markers, respectively.

VESSEL ENGINE IDLING: All marine vessel operators (including charter fishing captains) agree to minimize engine idling at every reasonable opportunity. This includes loading and unloading of passengers and/or when standing-by in vessel loading zones. In the interest of reducing emissions, whenever it is deemed safe and prudent by vessel captains, engines should be turned off. Engines should not be started until the vessel is making ready to get underway.

Tour Sales Activities – KVB, Ports & Harbors and City right of ways

Tenants holding lease agreements for sales within the Ketchikan Visitors Bureau’s visitor information center
and the City of Ketchikan’s dock vending locations are responsible for adhering to the rules and regulations
set forth by each entity. The KVB provides Tour Center rules & Regulations. The City of Ketchikan’s
regulations can be found within the Port section of the Municipal Code 13.09.025.

Tour Brokers/Sales representatives who conduct sales on private property are responsible for adhering to
laws as found in section 9.48, and 9.54 of the City Municipal code.

General agreements - Tour sales representatives:

  • Will be responsible for the space immediately around their vending area and will pick up and properly
    dispose of all litter accumulated there during their activities.
  • Will not engage in hawking or any disruptive, loud behavior.
  • Will only distribute written information when a customer requests—no handing out of flyers or leaflets
    in or around the sales area.
  • Will have informed knowledge of products sold and will refrain from giving false information.
  • Will agree to practice good standard business ethics by not disparaging or making negative
    comments about other businesses.
  • Will strive to be good ambassadors of the community with knowledge of the locations of public
    amenities such as post office, bus stops, museums, restrooms, and government buildings.
  • Will avoid displaying misleading signage or advertising.

Ketchikan International Airport, Airport Boat Dock, Airport Ferry and Seaplane Floats

Ketchikan International Airport regulations are included in Title 10 of the Ketchikan Gateway Borough Code. Additional sections of the code may also apply. TSA and Homeland Security as well as FAA regulations also may apply to operators.

Operators will conduct pre-season training in a manner which emphasizes these guidelines.

Downtown & Retail Partners- also applies to Attractions, Restaurants and Hospitality partners

All partners will comply with City of Ketchikan Municipal Code Chapter 9.54 - Commercial Solicitation Restrictions and Ketchikan Gateway Borough Municipal Code Chapter 18.25.050 Commercial Sign and Advertising devices, as applicable.

BUILDINGS AND GROUNDS: Merchants will be responsible for keeping their locations neat and welcoming, to include monitoring sidewalks immediately in front of their establishment, sweeping as needed and picking up and properly disposing of litter into the proper receptacle.

Merchants will not place their business’ accumulated daily refuse into street-side, public refuse containers. Seasonal merchants are encouraged to utilize ways to brighten up their storefronts when business is shut down. Merchants are encouraged to work together on solutions such as displaying local or student art, facts/trivia about Ketchikan, creating a scavenger hunt or posting large scale photographs/posters that will make their storefronts more attractive.

Merchants should follow local Historic District requirements to the best of their ability.

Merchants are asked to consider where possible and economical, keeping display windows lit (LED lighting) and/or outside awning lights on (or on motion sensors) in order to keep windows and sidewalks lit after dark to promote safety and a welcoming feel to downtown during the winter months.

Merchants are encouraged to have exterior signs that adhere to the following:

  • Made of wood
  • Scaled for walking pedestrian traffic (smaller rather than large print)
  • Avoid banners or other non-permanent materials

All merchants shall obtain the required sign permits from the Ketchikan Gateway Borough as appropriate for their locations.

SALES TACTICS: Merchants and their employees will not handout out flyers or leaflets outside of their place of business and will not engage in sidewalk hawking or any other disruptive or aggressive physical behavior in order to lure potential customers.

Merchants will not display misleading signage or advertising and agree not to post stickers or signage in their windows indicating “cruise ship preferred or guaranteed shopping venue.”

Merchants will not reproduce and display logos for any cruise line without the lines express, written permission.

Merchants will not use false advertising (going out of business, closing soon, etc.) as a sales tactic.

Merchants will cooperate with municipal employees including but not limited to police, downtown ambassadors, crossing guards, public works, planning department and revenue staff.

Attractions, Restaurants and Hospitality Partners

In addition to the general agreements for all TBMP participants, Partners will train staff to be observant and confirm that safety information as required by law and their own policies are posted, legible and up to date.

Partners will make cleanliness and sanitation a priority, ensuring that restrooms are clean and stocked with adequate supplies; tableware, glasses, etc. are sterile and that facilities are free of litter and debris.

As appropriate, comply with practices outlined in the Downtown and Retail Partners section.


City of Ketchikan Municipal Code sections
Consumer Sales Tax
Off Premises Commercial Solicitation Restrictions
Port of Ketchikan and Harbors
Public Vehicles
Vehicles and Traffic
Ketchikan Cruise Ship Schedule
Ketchikan Gateway Borough Ordinances
Ketchikan Misty Fjords Outfitter and Guide Management Plan
Marine Mammal Protection Act and Endangered Species Act Regulations
Alaska Marine Mammals Viewing Guidelines
Marine Mammals of the US North Pacific and Arctic
Marine Vessel Visible Emission Standards (18 AAC 50 .070)
The Sounds of a Port
Smokefree Alaska
TAPA Air Operator Letter of Agreement
TBMP Employee Agreement
TBMP Internal Observation Form