Royal Coachman Lodge Safety: Boats, Airplanes, Wading, and Bears

Safety Instructions

Emergency contact information

The telephone number at the lodge is 907.644.0641.
You can also call our office in Montana at 406.222.0624, or email

Boats and wading:

Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs) are provided for you in each boat.  We recommend that you wear them whenever the boat is in motion.  Always face forward and pay attention when the boat is moving.  Please stay seated until your guide instructs you to depart when the boat is being landed or docked.  Remember to hold the gunnel for support and be sure the water you’re stepping into is shallow when getting in or out of boats.  We recommend that you never wade deeper than waist high when wading. Remember that bottom conditions and currents are variable. It is important to always follow your guide’s instructions on where it’s safe to wade and always wear a wading belt.

Airplane Safety:

You will be traveling in floatplanes to get to your destination on a daily basis.  First please listen to your pilot and other crew members.  They will inform you of the safety equipment in the plane (life vests, satellite phone, survival equipment, etc...), and let you know when to load and unload. Do not approach an aircraft (running or not) without crew members giving you the ok.   If an aircraft is running do not approach it.  The crew will load your luggage and gear, and will help you load into the aircraft when it is time.  Please wear your seat belt when the aircraft is moving.   If you have problems with your seatbelt notify a crew member before the engine is started.   Ear plugs are available in the plane.     

In the morning, the aircraft will be warming up. Do not go on the docks while an airplane is warming up.   The crew will come get your gear and you when it is time to go. 

Bears: Black and Brown (Including Grizzly)

Alaska is unique with three species of North American bears flourishing in the area. This includes black bears, brown bears (including grizzly), and polar bears.

Black bears are the smallest and most abundant in the area. Adults stand 29 inches at the shoulders and weigh about 200 lbs. Black bears can vary in color from jet black to more white, although black is the most common color. Brown or cinnamon-colored black bears are also often seen. Black bears are different from brown bears because of their straight facial profile and claws that rarely grow more than 1.5 inches in length.

Brown and grizzly bears are classified as the same species. However, there are notable differences between them. Brown bears live along the southern coast where access to seasonal spawning salmon are plentiful and the area has a rich array of vegetation. This combination allows them to grow larger and in higher densities than their "grizzly cousin" which inhabit the northern and interior parts of Alaska. Brown bears are usually larger than black bears. They have a noticeable, prominent  shoulder hump and "pumpkin" like head. They also have longer claws than black bears. This is noticeable in their foot prints.

Alaska Bear Guidelines

You will more than likely see brown bears while you are staying with us. In reading these guidelines, please understand that we have never had a bear incident during the life of the lodge, and you will always have an experienced guide nearby. Your guide will carry bear deterrent devices such as bear spray.   Always stay alert to your guide and follow his instructions if you see or hear a bear.

Always be "bear aware." Look carefully ahead for bears or for tracks. Do not surprise bears and make plenty of noise when fishing. You will almost always be with a guide while you are walking along the river. If you see a bear that is far away or does not see you, turn around and go back, or circle far around. Do not disturb the bear. Alert your guide.

If you see a bear that is close or it sees you, STAY CALM. Attacks are rare. Bears may approach or stand up on their hind legs to get a better look at you. These are curious, not aggressive bears. BE HUMAN. Stand very tall, wave your arms, and speak in a loud and low voice. DO NOT RUN! Stand your ground or back away slowly and diagonally. STOP if the bear follows.

If a bear charges, almost all charges are "bluff charges." DO NOT RUN! Olympic sprinters cannot outrun a bear. Running may trigger an instinctive reaction to "chase." Do not try to climb a tree unless it is right next to you and you can quickly get at least 30 feet up. STAND YOUR GROUND. Wave your arms and speak in a loud low voice. In some instances, charging bears have come within a few feet of a person and then have veered off at the last second.