Alaska ferry low tide ramp clearance for 5.0 - Escape Trailer Owners Community

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Old 07-10-2017, 04:42 PM   #1
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Join Date: Feb 2016
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Alaska ferry low tide ramp clearance for 5.0

I am planning a trip to Alaska and will use the ferry system. I plan on stopping at many of the islands on the way north. I have a 2017 5.0 that I will be using throughout our my trip. I have two questions
1. At low tide the ferry ramps can be at quite an angle. I had Escape raise my fifth wheel the 3 inches that they can accomplish. Has anyone had problems getting on or off the ferry's at low tide with fifth wheel raised?
2. I have an F150 short bed truck as a tow vehicle. I have a sliding fifth wheel hitch. When entering the ferry sometimes you have to turn left or right quickly to get next to the wall of the ferry. Has anyone had trouble using the towing mode to make this turn? I could of course put the hitch into the maneuvering mode and not have any problems. But the Alaska ferry system charges you by your total length.
Thanks for any help you can provide.
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Old 07-10-2017, 05:33 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mtnhigh View Post
I have a sliding fifth wheel hitch. When entering the ferry sometimes you have to turn left or right quickly to get next to the wall of the ferry. Has anyone had trouble using the towing mode to make this turn? I could of course put the hitch into the maneuvering mode and not have any problems. But the Alaska ferry system charges you by your total length.
Thanks for any help you can provide.
You're right about the enter and then turn. Don't know what the tide levels were when we used it but the ramp was pretty steep but that wasn't an issue.

You're correct that they charge by length. That's when you pay. But we sat in the parking lot for a long time.

Ron
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Old 07-11-2017, 12:31 PM   #3
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It is very steep but the attendants watched and directed us ..... so no issues.

They were very helpful.

We tow our 17 with a rav so we don't have a lot of clearance
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Old 07-11-2017, 03:37 PM   #4
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As an over thirty year resident of Southeast Alaska and one who has taken the ferry with a vehicle many times, I don't think you will have trouble with the ferry ramps .... not sure about any sharp turns. I must admit I have not taken my trailer on any ferry trips ... yet.

You can look up the tide levels ahead of time and avoid arrival and departure times on a minus tide.... say a minus 2' or 3' tide. The ferry schedules usually list ferry departure times. To figure loading times, typically subtract about an hour. You can get a free tide app. for your cell phone that will cover anyplace in the US. Southeast tides can vary up to 22' between high and low at extremes. They don't do this every day ... but can at times.

Sometimes in Bellingham you will need to back onto the ferry as the ferry loads from the stern.... but the ferry system has very experienced deck hands and they give you both the time and enough space to turn around and back on. Other SouthEast Alaskan ports have the ferry side tie to the dock so you drive off usually from either port or starboard side doors and that is where you might have to make a sharp turn. You won't have any problem with your 5er. Should it be tight, the deck hands will have the other lanes empty first and then you'll have plenty of room. These ferries handle semi trucks and construction machinery much larger than your trailer ... no problem. Most arrival and departures are simply drive on - drive off.

You will have a great time .... its a wonderland up here. Just for an indication of scale.. its a three day and night ride from Bellingham to Juneau with a half dozen stops in between. Its possible to stop in a port, if you have bicycles with you, to get off and ride from (mostly) one end of town to the other in the typical 45 minute - 1 hour layover time and get back on for departure. Ketchikan, Sitka and Juneau are too "long" to do this but other stops are possible as the towns are quite small and relatively compact. Don't for get to bring a camera and binoculars with you.

As for hitch maneuvering mode or tow mode, I'd put your hitch into as short of a configuration as possible at first. While waiting to board, they may want to measure you. You will have plenty of time to observe loading so you can decide whats best for you. Typically, large vehicles (semi's and such) perceived as heavy vehicles will be directed to inside lanes and lighter weight autos will be directed to outside lanes. You can't sleep in your trailer and if you have pets, they have a pet deck call about every 4 hours so you can "walk" your dog. Bring a roll of paper towels and poop bags so you can clean up after your pet.

You will have a great time,

Tom
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