Larger sternwheelers carried more than 150 passengers. The upper “Texas” deck had better accommodation than the observation deck (the wheelhouse, on the uppermost level, was known as Monkey Island).
The schedules of sternwheelers with a high proportion of passengers were closely tied to the schedules of coastal vessels at Skagway; boats that carried mostly freight, like the S.S. Klondike I, were not.
Accommodations were fairly basic on most sternwheelers, although the tourist boats were known for wonderful service and great food.
The larger upper river vessels carried 200-250 tons of cargo. The use of barges, introduced in 1905, almost doubled steamers’ cargo capacity, but it also increased fuel consumption and operating time by one half.
For ease of handling, freight was stored on the main deck, called the freight house. Sternwheelers transported everything from “acid, carbonic” to “zinc, in sheets or rolls”. When water levels were low and navigation more difficult, rates were higher to discourage people from shipping. In the summer the boats ran 24 hours a day.
Long summer days and spectacular scenery made the Yukon a popular tourist destination, and tourism became an important part of BYN Co.’s business. The S.S. Tutshi, launched as a tourist boat in 1917, took passengers on excursions on the Southern Lakes.
Yukon Archives, U. of Alaska Archives photograph collection, #3107
Yukon Archives, Bill Roozeboom collection, #6289
Yukon Archives, Scott/Phelps family collection, 89/31 #59
Yukon Archives, MacBride Museum collection, #4006
Yukon Archives, E.J. Hamacher fonds (Margaret and Rolf Hougen collection), 2002/118 #99
Yukon Archives, Bill Hare fonds, #6642
Yukon Archives, WP&YR fonds
Yukon Archives, Fred George Aylwin fonds, 94/57, MSS 287
Yukon Archives, Dennett family fonds, #3174
Yukon Archives, Eldon Bjerke collection, 83/20 #1
Yukon Archives, E.J. Hamacher fonds (Margaret and Rolf Hougen collection), 2002/118 #64
Yukon Archives, E.J. Hamacher fonds (Margaret and Rolf Hougen collection), 2002/118 #95