Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What kinds of charters are there?

Term Charter- package includes all food and drink (with exception of hard alcohol) and overnight luxury accomodations. The vessel will be underway daily to explore the local area of your choice with a minimum crew of 3-4 for up to 6 guests.

Mother-shipping - Vessel Bear Paw is never underway but the same services are provided as a Term Charter, allowing up to 8 guests. Crew of 2-3. Transportation to the vessel will be accomodated by the vessel's tender (within 5 miles of Bear Paw) or alternate arrangements. An example of this is for guests who want to remain in remote locations without returning to "town" and wish to extend their expedition and range by boat or float plane and rendezvous with the mother-ship for overnight accomodations. and services. Fly in - fly out is a popular choice by float plane. Self guided fishing or hunting trips, researchers, employee housing would capitalize on this service as well.

Day Trips - Please send your request on our contact form for Washington trips or for Sitka trips, contact Christine from website. 1-800-750-4712 and let's make it happen! is another avenue outside business hours.

View Booking options

How to book your charter?

Utilize brokers whom specialize in customizing your term charter vacation packages for a more personallized experience. Please visit to find your best broker in the industry. A 50% deposit secures your dates. You will receive follow up forms to fill out, like your food and activity preferences and waiver forms. Once your package is finalized, the remaining balance owing for the charter is due no later than 30 days prior to charter.

Mother-Shipping services will require 50% down and there will be follow up to clarify where you want Bear Paw to be for your party. Repositioning charges may apply. The posted rate is assuming that Bear Paw is within the harbor or within 5 miles of "town". Vessel can also be at a dock, provided that dockspace is available.

Day trips - We don't book too far in advance for this option. These trips are intended to fill in the "blank spots" on our calendar. For trips out of Sitka please visit or call Christine at our local number 907-738-0176 or toll free at 1-800-750-4712. Fabulous hands on local knowledge! They also have multiple vacations properties on land for your review should you neeed a place to stay before or after your charter. They also offer concierge services. We highly recommend them! 

Day trips for San Juan Islands, please email or fill out our contact form.

What about crew gratuities?

This is a hospitality industry service. Standard gratuities are in the range of 10-20% of your gross value of the charter package, at your discretion. Crew will accept cash, mulitiple eletronic apps like Venmo, Pay Pal etc or Apple Pay/ Credit card on board. The crew appreciates it and we thank you!

What is the cancellation policy?

When the 50% deposit is paid it is non refundable. The dates are transferrable, if you do have a change of plans, 30 days in advance from the date of departure. Should a single/couple opt out of a charter for the given dates, we will honor a prorated rate for that charter in keeping the dates. For example, if 3 couples booked a private charter and one couple opts out, the charter shall remain on schedule but will charge for a 4 pax charter. Note: There is a 4 pax minimum for pricing and term and conditions must be agreed to before deposit is accepted. You will agree to the contract during this process.
Photo-tour packages are different as they are sold by the stateroom. Deposits are still non-refundable and dates cannont be changed nor transferrable. If a guest MUST cancel, if we can find someone to book your stateroom in time, we can allow a cancellation for refund minus any fees or commissions that have already been commited to. Do purchase trip insurance.

What to pack and how to pack it?

Use soft and collapsible luggage as the large, wheel-on hard luggage will eat up valuable room in your staterooms. Bring inside boat slippers or indoor footwear and outside shoes with good grippy soles. You will find that during your charter, you will be subject to all sorts of weather. Be sure to have raingear to include waterproof footwear and light and warm jackets. Outdoor footwear will not be allowed inside the vessel. Shoes off inside the boat. Bring a comfortable boat slipper or non-marking footwear that is appropriate for your time while inside the vessel. Going to shore will often require a good rubber boot for beaches and normal footwear for checking our local communities. Rubber boots are recommended.

What happens after I pay my 50% deposit when I book?

After your deposit, you will have follow up communication with your broker or may come directly with the vessel owners'. You will be given a welcome info package on what to expect during your trip and a preference sheet to fill out on behalf of all guests in your party. Additional details and special requests that your group wants to review or add to the charter, will be discussed. Some requests will lead to additional fees, for example a scenic floatplane tour, private fishing charters, high brand wines and champagnes or hard alcohol, we can help with arrangements for an added cost. Balance shall be paid in full no later than 30 days before charter commences.

Do I need trip insurance?

It is highly recommended that you purchase trip insurance. In times of COVID-19, weather and other unforseeable circumstances, it is looking after your investment best. Check with your health care provider for Alaskan & Washington State coverage and Canadian trips. If you are travelling with us in Canada, you are required to have the nessesary documentation like a passport and ALL guests must be legal to enter Canada which includes being vaccinated.

Do I need a fishing license?

YES! If you plan on using a fishing rod at any time or partaking in shrimp and crab pots along the way, please have a fishing license. Please visit to purchase.  If you want a day trip with commecial fishing tour and target species like halibut or salmon, just ask!! We can include that in  your itinerary for your trip. Rates apply. 

Can I book just a stateroom? I don't want to book the whole vessel on my own.

YES! Look for charter weeks featuring a photoshop with a featured photographer. . These packages are sold by the stateroom.
Currently we have May 14-21,2023 featuring Humpback whales from Sitka
Southbound repositioning trip that starts in Ketchikan Sept 11, 2023 - Sept 25, 2023 ending in Anacortes, WA. This trip is about whales, bears and trying to find the Spirit Bear.

I see you have an elevator! Are you handicapped accessible?

No, we are not compliant with The American Disabilites Act to meet the standards. The showers aren't large enough to accomodate a wheelchair and due to the water tight bulkheads at each stateroom. There is a 3/4"-3" lip at stateroom doors, no ramp. All guest areas are free to roam with 7' head rooom throughout. A ramp for boarding can be provided from a dock to the deck. We prefer to consider the vessel to be perfect for persons with limited mobilities. If a caregiver is needed to accomodate a guest, they must be provided by the charterer and counts as a guest, not crewmember. Crew members shall not adopt the role of a caregiver.

What kind of food will there be?

Our seafood is locally sourced whenever possible. Local catch includes salmon, halibut, sablefish aka blackcod, spotted prawns, king crab and dungeness crab. Dietary needs can be met with co-ordination with our chef, using a guest preference sheet to accomodate the entire charter party preferences combined.

Can I bring my pet(s)?

As much as we love furry friends, No. To keep the integrity of a pet free and stain free accomodations, we do not accept any animals. A boat trip is often difficult on pets and often regretful, for their sake.
Registered Service animals shall be accepted, as per law. Emotional Support animals will not be accepted.

Can we get picked up and dropped off in different ports?

YES! We are game for a new route and something different! Send your proposal to us and we will do our best to make it work. Repositioning the vessel will have some costs but likely worth it! No pick ups or drop offs can be made in Canada. USA ports only for pick up and drop offs.

Will I have cell service and Wi-Fi?

YES! The San Juan Islands has strong cellular service throughout. Alaskan cruising grounds can be hit and miss. The closer we are to Sitka, there is strong cellular service but not for Verizon customers. Starlink is installed and working well. This service appears to work well when vessel is underway so we are very happy about that! You do have Wi-FI!!