A week-long conference of harbor and port professionals opened Tuesday at the Sons of Norway Hall in Petersburg. More than 80 people are attending the annual conference of the Alaska Association of Harbormasters and Port Administrators.

Petersburg’s mayor Cindi Lagoudakis welcomed attendees to the conference Tuesday morning. “As you all know around the state our harbors and ports are all unique microcosms of our ocean-dependent communities,” Lagoudakis said. “Your constituents are both local and transient, law abiding and not, appreciative of your expertise and efforts and also largely unaware of all the planning, regulations, engineering, hair-pulling over funding, safety challenges, and hurdles required to accommodate everything from the smallest kayak to the largest cruise ships in a professional responsible courteous and cost effective manner.”

The conference will feature discussions on topics ranging from derelict vessels, marine mammals, clean harbors and accommodating larger cruise ships. It’s also an opportunity for Petersburg to showcase its harbor facilities.

Carl Uchytil, the city and borough of Juneau’s port director and president of the association, joked that he was hoping to steal some ideas from harbor staff here.

“It is not uncommon to get the cranky fisherman, cranky boaters that come into my office and say you suck, your staff sucks, your harbors suck, we’re going to Petersburg where they know how to treat people!” Uchytil said.

The conference runs through Friday.