LISTEN: Only one state ferry is currently in operation. How are coastal communities dealing with sailing uncertainty?

The MV Malaspina sits at the dock in Auke Bay, near Juneau, as the MV LeConte pulls away from the dock early Thursday, March 28, 2019. Both ships are part of the Alaska Marine Highway System. (Nat Herz / Alaska’s Energy Desk)

Ferries are essential for many small communities in coastal Alaska. But the Alaska Marine Highway System is facing big state budget cuts and an aging fleet of boats.

That’s led to long gaps in service for many Alaskans. In some communities, it is still uncertain when boats will return.

Earlier this month, Kodiak saw its last ferry until late April. KMXT’s Kavitha George went down the line of cars waiting to board the last ferry. She heard from residents of nearby villages about the reality of not having ferries.

LISTEN HERE:

Related: Pelican, Tenakee mayors ‘stunned and outraged’ at prospect of summer without ferries

There’s a lot to keep track of right now. Coast Alaska News Director Jacob Resneck spoke with Alaska Public Media’s Abbey Collins about state funding, which boats are running, and what the future may hold for the ferries.

LISTEN HERE: