Red Tape & Fine Print


There are truly no specific qualifications for this race – while the dangers of the Inside Passage are real, people have been traveling this stretch of water successfully on watercraft of all kinds since before written history.

There have also been tragic unsuccessful attempts for just as long, and we want to make sure that you are one of the good statistics.

While there are no absolute qualifications for participation, successful race applicants should be experienced in most of the following, and the sum total of your experience will determine if the vetting team accepts your application:

  • Navigation
  • First aid
  • Big-water long distance crossings
  • Able to row/paddle/sail for long periods of time
  • Radio use
  • Collision awareness and avoidance
  • No-rescue situations
  • Trip planning and voyage logistics
  • Necessary repair skills related to vessel
  • Etc.

Similarly, participant vessels will be considered along with crew qualifications. Factors include:

  • Design and construction
  • Inherent buoyancy
  • Stability
  • Safety equipment

Cancellation policy

The folks over at Race High Command have tried to make the policy as clear as possible, but if further clarification is needed, please reach out to Verity, our race registrar, at

  • All application fees are non-refundable.
  • Cancellations received in writing (email ok) 60 days prior to the event (before April 10, 2024 for R2AK 2024) are refunded minus 30% administration fee. 
  • Cancellations made less than 60 days prior to the event will not be refunded.
  • If NWMC cancels the event for any reason except Force Majeure (or mineure) 100% of payments can be refunded.
  • Cancellation due to force majeure, constitutes a race closure out of the control of the Northwest Maritime Center or Race to Alaska and is conditionally refundable in four ways.
    • Fees already paid may be donated to the parent non-profit of Race to Alaska, the Northwest Maritime Center.
    • Fees paid can become credits used for other maritime center classes, rentals, etc. in the future. This does not include merchandise.
    • Fees paid may be credited towards racing in 2025.*
    • Fees can be refunded, minus a 30% fee. Keep in mind that if it comes down to this option, it’s gonna take a minute to roll all the refunds out the door. It’s coming, but hold on to those horses for a minute.
  • In the event that a registered team is unable to compete due to a government travel restriction (re: covid), that constitutes a… force mineure. If, after our payment deadline, there is a national-level policy change that would prohibit your entry into the full race, you will be eligible for the same conditional refunds as in a force majeure cancellation—except that a 50% fee will be assessed by cancellations within 30 days of the event. 

* If you credit your fees to the 2025 race, you must register for the race no later than December 15, 2024. All application fees will be waived UNLESS there is a change to your team that trips the re-vetting process (e.g. different boat, change in competent crew, really bad haircut). To register, you must request a code from the Registrar after September 15, 2024. 

Lastly, if you are on the fence about donating and you want to know more about the Northwest Maritime Center’s activities, email Race Boss Jesse at He’ll give you a call and share his very good reasons for why he loves this organization and how your donation will help support its programs and mission.


The law dictates what you need to have onboard. We expect you to have a full and complete understanding of the laws that pertain to your vessel – we don’t see it as our job to educate you on this. We’ll be sure to heap on the love in other ways.

In addition to what the law requires, WE will require you to carry two other things – and both of them talk to outer space.

  • EPIRB/PLB – The Canadian Coast Guard asked us nicely to require this. We love them, so yes. If you don’t know what that is, do a google.
  • SPOT Tracker Device – We will issue this to you, along with a refundable deposit. The SPOT tracker is how your friends, family, and fans follow along.

Bottom line is we want everyone to adhere to all safety requirements of both the US and Canadian rules for their specific boat and uses. So know the laws. Depending on your boat type you may be required to carry additional items.


You’ll be crossing a border if you want to do this race. Some of you may cross several. Make sure you’re allowed to do so, and have all the correct documentation, both for yourself and your vessel, before you attempt to enter the Great Maple Syrup North.

Be safe, be warm, be visible

In addition to what is required, prudent racers will consider at least the following list:

  • Emergency smoke signals and dye markers
  • Radar reflectors
  • Emergency shelter
  • Sufficient water and food
  • Clothing and shelter systems that will retain heat when wet
  • Adequate first aid supplies
  • Charts and navigation equipment
  • Anchor and line
  • Redundant systems for safety, navigation, and emergencies

While our litigious society prohibits us from saying what we would bring or offering any useful advice* we encourage you to talk with fellow racers, boating education institutions, other adventure races, and life-saving organizations as to what you should bring.

* Legal counsel has advised us to remind you that this could be pretty dangerous. You should probably just forget about the whole thing.

Look at what other racers have to say about gear and everything else at the Race to Alaska Forum.