73 pages                                                                                                6 graphics

After a brief overview and introduction to working in Alaska, “Work Alaska” includes the following six sections: Fishing, Fish Processing, Tourism, Cruise Ships, State and National Parks, and Oil and Gas.

Section 1: Fishing

The “Fishing” section begins with an introduction about the ups and downs of fishing in Alaska.   It then moves into the following subsections:


The “Money” subsection seeks to end students’ unrealistic expectations about earning $10,000 to $15,000 during a summer in Alaska.  It explains how much money deckhands have been earning in recent years, how pay works (percentages vs. hourly wage), and when deckhands can expect to be paid.  It also outlines deckhands’ financial obligations during the fishing season.

When to Go

This subsection provides guidance on the best time to look for work and describes the pitfalls and risks of arriving early or late.  It also explains when the summer salmon season begins and ends and how long a deckhand is expected to stay on the job.

How to Find Work

“How to Find Work” describes how to approach a fishing-boat captain and reveals what captains look for in a deckhand.  This subsection includes four tips a prospective deckhand can use to set him or herself apart from the crowd.

Safety Concerns

This subsection explores the risks inherent in fishing, drawing attention to dangers that catch many first-time deckhands off-guard.  It contrasts safe fishing operations with dangerous ones by recounting the stories of two boats that sank in 1997.  This subsection teaches prospective deckhands how to identify signs of an unsafe boat and crew.

Women in Fishing

“Women in Fishing” examines the problems women may encounter while working in the male-dominated, close-quartered fishing industry.  This subsection also explains that women can land good fishing jobs and that many fishing-boat captains are women.

Types of Fishing

This subsection describes the different types of fishing in Alaska, including purse seining, gillnetting, trolling, set-netting, longlining and crab fishing.  It explains how many crewmembers are needed on each kind of boat, where each type of fishing is most prevalent, the pros and cons of each fishing type, and the species of fish caught by the different boats.

Section 2: Fish Processing

This section begins with an overview of the type of work available in the fish-processing industry.  The section will be broken into two subsections: Land Plants, and Floating Processors/Factory Trawlers.


The “Land Plants” subsection gives an overview of fish-processing plants and then delves into the following categories:


Seeking to end expectations of making $10,000 in a summer, this category explains how much factory workers are paid an hour and how much overtime they can expect to get.  It also lists the items workers must purchase in advance and how much those items cost.

Where You’ll Stay

This category describes the campgrounds and bunkhouses provided by canneries and compares the costs of staying in each.

What It’s Like

This category describes the brutal, repetitive working conditions in land plants and explains why a working traveler still might want to work in one.

When to Go

“When to Go” provides information on when the salmon season begins and ends in each region, when a prospective employee should go, and how long a worker can realistically expect to work in a season.  It also describes the pitfalls of arriving early or late.

How to Find Work

This category explains how to apply for work in a fish-processing plant.

Women in Fish Processing

“Women in Fish Processing” addresses concerns women may have about working in a fish-processing plant.  It assures women that they can expect to have a fun, safe summer if they decide to work in a land plant.


This subsection begins with an overview of floating processors and factory trawlers.  It then explores the following categories:


The “Money” category explains that hourly wages are very low on floating processors and factory trawlers.  However, factory workers are trapped on a boat with no way to spend their paychecks, so the money can add up—especially if workers get a lot of overtime.

When to Go

This category reveals that factory trawlers harvest pollock twice a year: from Jan. 20 to Feb. 20, and from Sept. 1 to Oct. 1.  Working travelers should plan their trips accordingly.

What It’s Like

“What It’s Like” recounts the tedium of working on floating processors and trawlers, where weeks can pass without any work.  This category also describes the close friendships that can form on these vessels.

How to Find Work

This category explains that most jobs on floating processors and factory trawlers can be found at the seafood companies’ corporate headquarters in Seattle.  Many companies are willing to hire workers over the phone.

Section 3: Tourism

The “Tourism” section starts with an overview of Alaska’s tourism industry and highlights the cities and towns that experience the most tourist activity each summer.  The section describes the types of jobs available to working travelers and the pros and cons of each job.

The following subsections are included:


This subsection lets workers know how much they can expect to make if they work a full season.  Several occupations are highlighted, and up-front costs and bonuses are discussed.

What It’s Like

This subsection explains where workers in the tourism industry sleep and eat, how much free time they have, and what recreation is available to them.  It also discusses the standards workers must meet in the areas of clothing and hygiene.

When to Go

This subsection reveals when workers should arrive in Alaska and how long they will be expected to stay.

How to Find Work

“How to Find Work” discusses the advantages and disadvantages of lining up work in advance, as opposed to showing up in Alaska and knocking on personnel department doors. This subsection explains that numerous work opportunities open up late in the season because many workers cannot stay for the entire summer.  It also includes tips on how to get a job with smaller companies such as lodges, restaurants, guide services and charter services.

Section 4: Cruise Ships

This section begins with an overview of the small cruise-ship industry operating in the Inside Passage along the coast of Washington state, British Columbia and Alaska.  The overview describes the types of jobs available in the industry and the pros and cons of each job.

The following subsections are included:


The “Money” subsection describes how contracts work and explains how much money an employee can expect to earn aboard a small cruise vessel.  It also lists the daily wages for several different jobs.

What It’s Like

This subsection evaluates living conditions aboard small cruise ships.  It discusses the free time, activities and recreation provided for crewmembers.  It also describes room sizes, galley sizes and the types of food served.

When to Go

This subsection provides guidance on the best times of year to look for work.  It explains that most cruise ships cater to tourists year-round and hire workers on a contract basis.

How to Find Work

This subsection provides information people need in order to apply for a job in the cruise-ship industry.  It explains what human-resources personnel look for in prospective employees and offers tips on how to land a job.

Women in the Cruise-Ship Industry

This subsection addresses concerns women may have if they want to work in Alaska’s cruise-ship industry.

Section 5: State and National Parks

This section begins with an overview of the state- and national-park system in Alaska.  The overview describes the types of jobs that exist in these beautiful parks, as well as the pluses and minuses of each job.

The following subsections are included:


This subsection reveals how much money workers can expect to earn if they stay on for a full season.  It also discusses volunteer opportunities that include free lodging and meals.

What It’s Like

This subsection describes where park workers stay, where they eat, how much free time they are given and what recreation is available to them.  It also discusses what their fellow workers will be like.

When to Go

“When to Go” discusses when park workers should arrive in Alaska, when they should start looking for work, and how long they will be asked to stay.

How to Find Work

This subsection describes the best ways to land a job in Alaska’s park system.  It offers advice on whether to line up a job in advance or simply show up and look for work.

Section 6: Oil and Gas

This section provides an overview of Alaska’s oil and gas industry and lists the general locations where work is available—primarily the North Slope and Prudhoe Bay.  The overview explores the types of work available in the industry, describes the pros and cons of each job, and provides an estimate of how much money a person can expect to make.  It caters to the working traveler who has no prior experience in the oil and gas industry.


35 pages                                                                                                               9 graphics


“Alaska Facts and History” begins with an overview of Alaskan history, including a description of Inupiat and Yupik Eskimos, Aleuts, and Haida, Tsimshian, Athabaskan and Tlingit Indians.  The section discusses the migration of Russians, Norwegians and Chinese to Alaska and the roles these groups played in developing the state.  The history of the people who moved to Alaska to fish, work in canneries, mine for gold and drill for oil also is recounted.  The “History” section explains the impact settlers and foreign industries had on Alaska’s tribes, which were all but wiped out over the course of two centuries.

The Alaskan-Canadian Highway (Alcan)

This section explores the history of the construction of the famous highway and presents information on its current state.

The Inside Passage

This section provides a history of the Inside Passage, beginning with its discovery by Capt. Vancouver.  The section explains where the Inside Passage goes, who travels it, and how important it is to Alaska’s economy.

The Alaska Railroad

This section presents a history of the Alaska Railroad’s construction, including the failed attempts at building it.  It explains where the Alaska Railroad goes and illustrates the extraordinary beauty of the land it travels through.

The Bering Sea

Starting with a description of the people who work and live on the Bering Sea, this section goes on to examine the Bering Sea’s wildlife and climate conditions.  The section also explains what kinds of fish are harvested there.

Cook Inlet

This section provides a history of Cook Inlet, beginning with its discovery by Capt. Cook.  The section also examines the types of wildlife and fish found in Cook Inlet, as well as the tourism industries that depend on the Inlet.

Geography and Climate

Because the extreme nature of Alaska’s weather is directly related to the extreme nature of Alaska’s geography, these two subjects are addressed together.  This section includes a description of Alaskan geography and climate as it relates to the working traveler. 


The “Wildlife” section presents information on animals indigenous to Alaska such as moose, black bears, grizzly bears, wolves, caribou, mountain goats, grouse, ptarmigan, puffins, bald eagles, whales, porpoises, sea lions, steelhead trout, Dolly Varden trout, halibut and the five species of salmon.  This section provides information on how travelers should react if they encounter these animals in the wild.  It also describes safe ways to observe wildlife.


This section examines the significant snow melt in April and May in Alaska and the problems it presents to working travelers who try to camp and travel during this muddy time of year.

The Midnight Sun

The sun does not set in Alaska for most of June.  While that can be wonderful, it also can make it difficult for a person to sleep in a tent.  This section includes an explanation of Alaska’s summer solstice.

The Aurora Borealis

One of Alaska’s signature images is its splendid aurora borealis, or Northern Lights.  This section explains the phenomenon and reveals the best times and places to see it.


The artwork of the Haida, Tlingit and Athabaskan Indians, Eskimos and the Aleuts is illustrated in this section.  Such Native Alaskan art has been celebrated around the world and is considered a bona fide Alaskan treasure by Alaskans and art critics alike.  This section also examines the historical folk art of settlers who came to Alaska during the past century.


22 pages                                                                                                4 graphics

Places to Stay

This section is divided into five subsections: Hotels, Bed and Breakfasts, Youth Hostels, Campgrounds, and Tent Cities.  The subsections discuss cost, comfort level, weather and other factors that make each kind of accommodation unique.


This section summarizes the working traveler’s basic expenses such as food, lodging and transportation, which are more expensive in Alaska than in the Lower 48 states.  It warns travelers not to overestimate their ability to travel cheaply, and it reminds them that paychecks are not guaranteed in Alaska.  The section provides a sample budget, taking into consideration that many travelers may not have very much money to get to Alaska.  The section also describes a worst case scenario to illustrate the importance of careful planning.  Subsections of “Money” include Banking, ATMs, Travelers Checks, American Express and Credit Cards.

Online Services

This section provides information on how to communicate online while traveling and working in Alaska.

Newspapers and Magazines

This section gives an overview of the media in Alaska and lists the major publications.


Alaska once had four time zones before the state switched over to Alaska Standard Time.  This section explains how Alaska Standard Time works in relation to other time zones in the United States.


This section provides the area code for the entire state (907) and describes the cheapest way to make long-distance calls from pay phones in Alaska.


With particular attention to logistics in remote locations, the “Post” section describes Alaska’s postal system and explains how to send packages on bush planes, ferries and small break-bulk cargo vessels.

Sending Fish Home

This section explains how to ship fish from Alaska to the Lower 48 states.  It includes costs and techniques used to keep fish frozen en route.

Laundry and Showers

This section presents information on Laundromats and pay-showers, which are in abundance in Alaska.

Borders and Customs

Since successful passage through Canadian customs is not guaranteed, this section includes a list of reasons why customs officials choose not to let people through.  The section includes information on money, car insurance, driver’s licenses and passports.  It also describes the U.S. Customs Service’s stepped-up efforts to catch drug traffickers.

Safety and Health

This section examines the health risks of working long hours and camping in cold, damp weather for extended periods of time.  It provides tips on how to stay healthy in Alaska’s climate and discusses malnutrition and fish poisoning.

Women Travelers

Specific concerns of women who are working and traveling in Alaska are addressed here.  

What to Bring

This section lists essential items needed for basic comfort and safety while traveling in Alaska.  It encourages readers to travel light and provides examples of items that should be left behind.  

Food and Beverage

This section describes the cheapest places to eat in Alaska, including tips on where to buy the freshest seafood for the least amount of money.  The section highlights good, inexpensive restaurants and discusses the types of food grown and harvested in Alaska.

Night Life

The “Night Life” section describes Alaska’s bars, music venues, beach parties, camp parties, fish cookouts and annual outdoor concerts.


This section provides an overview of museums that showcase Native Alaskan art, historical folk art, marine science and the industrial history of Alaska and the Pacific Northwest.


15 pages                                                                                                               3 graphics

“Roads to Alaska” is divided into three sections: By Land, By Sea and By Air.  Each section provides cost estimates for different methods of travel.  “Roads to Alaska” also describes and provides costs for the AlaskaPass, the only travel pass in Alaska that covers multiple modes of travel.

By Land

This section begins by exploring the trek from the northern border of the United States through Canada and into Alaska via the Alaskan-Canadian Highway (Alcan).  It includes the following subsections:


This subsection lists what people must have with them in order to cross the Canadian border.  It also provides examples of items that cannot be brought into Canada.

Cost and Currency

Costs incurred while driving through Canada are much higher than costs in the U.S.  This subsection explains why that is the case and describes Canadian currency.


This subsection examines the pros and cons of taking your car on the 2,300-mile trip to Alaska from the southern Canadian border.  It discusses the wear and tear on vehicles, the items drivers should bring, and the danger of falling asleep at the wheel.


This subsection explains how the three bus services to Alaska connect to form one route along the Alcan.  It also provides schedule information and ticket prices.


The cost and limitations of going to Alaska using this method of travel are explored here.  The subsection also describes what it is like to travel on trains.


The benefits and dangers of hitchhiking the Alcan are discussed here.

By Sea

This section lists schedules, ticket prices and reservation information for Alaska’s ferry system.  It describes what ferry travel is like and gives pointers on how to save money on food and accommodations while on the ferry.  It explains where the ferry goes and where it doesn’t, highlighting the advantages and limitations of this method of travel.  This section also explores how a traveler might be able to hitch a ride to Alaska on a fishing or pleasure boat in exchange for work.

By Air

This section examines the cost of flying to Alaska at different times of the year.  It includes information on schedules, reservations and ticket availability.


9 pages                                                                                                  No graphics


This section describes what it is like to drive in Alaska.  It provides information on roads, the price of fuel, the most attractive drives and the very real danger of running into a moose.


Since much of Alaska cannot be reached by road, many towns rely on air service.  This section explores the cost-effectiveness of this form of travel for the working traveler.  It also includes information on ticket prices, the dangers of small aircraft and the reasons why small aircraft afford an excellent way to see Alaska.


The least expensive way to get around Southeast Alaska is by boat.  This section examines boat and ferry travel and offers tips on how to hitch rides on fishing and recreational boats.


This section explores the pros and cons of bringing a bicycle to Alaska.  It describes good places to ride and draws attention to the dangers involved in cycling on Alaskan roads.


This section provides train-route and ticket-price information for the Alaska Railroad journey from Seward to Fairbanks.  It includes a brief discussion of whether or not this train trip is a good choice for budget travelers.


This section describes the cost of bus travel in Alaska and explains where buses go and don’t go.


A form of travel almost nonexistent in the Lower 48 states, hitchhiking is a staple of Alaskan life for many working travelers during the summer months.  This section discusses the advantages and disadvantages of hitchhiking in Alaska.  It provides hitchhiking tips and explains some of the dangers associated with the practice.


15 pages                                                                                                               3 graphics

“Outdoor Alaska” begins by illustrating why Alaska is one of the premier destinations in the United States for outdoor enthusiasts.  It then explores the following sections:


The “Hiking” section reveals where some of the best hiking spots are located.  It also examines the unique hiking dangers presented by bad weather, bear and moose.


This section examines kayaking in Alaska, explaining where the best kayaking can be done and where equipment can be rented or purchased.


The unique challenges and dangers of camping in Alaska are addressed in this section.  Topics include weather, bears, moose and other wildlife.  “No-trace” camping methods are encouraged.


The “Fishing” section lists gear needed to fish for salmon, halibut, rainbow trout, steelhead, Dolly Varden trout and grayling.  The section describes different types of lures, baits and techniques used on successful fishing trips.  It identifies the best fishing spots in Alaska and the times of year when the salmon run.  It also offers tips on how to get away from the hordes of fishermen who converge at popular fishing spots on rivers such as the Kenai.  The section provides information on fishing rules and regulations concerning licenses, limits, size restrictions, fishing techniques, and times and locations of catch-and-release fishing.

Outdoor Festivals, Fairs and Concerts

This section lists and briefly describes the many annual festivals, fairs and concerts in Alaska.


189 pages                                                                                           27 graphics

 “Travel Alaska” explores dozens of Alaskan cities and towns and provides specific information on work, accommodations, food, and outdoor activities in each location.  The guide focuses primarily on towns popular with working travelers and includes brief descriptions of towns they aren’t as likely to visit.  The following information will be provided for each popular city and town:



Largest Employers

Fish Processing 



Roads to …






Roads Around …

Places to Stay

Youth Hostels




Bed and Breakfasts

Places to Eat

Grocery Stores

Tourist Information

Things to Do

Night Life

Arts and Theater

Museums and Galleries






Post Office

Internet Access

Banking and ATMs

Laundry and Showers



Medical Services

Public Radio


The following cities and towns will be highlighted:

Cook Inlet and Kenai Peninsula

Kenai Peninsula and Cook Inlet Parks

Prince William Sound

Southeast Alaska

Alaskan Connections in Washington State





15 pages                                                                                                               No graphics

Possibly one of the book’s strongest selling points, this section features a comprehensive list of Alaskan employers who hire seasonal workers.  The section is organized in two ways: by industry sector, and by region of Alaska.  Where possible, it includes contact names of the people who make hiring decisions.



Introduction  Summary  Markets for the book  Why it will succeed  Promotion  Competitive books  Serialization  Resources needed  About the author  The outline  FISHING  BY LAND  HOMER  Contact the author