The MV Matanuska is named after the Matanuska Glacier, which is located in South Central Alaska and is the largest glacier in Alaska accessible by road, via the Glenn Highway. The vessel was designed by Phillip F. Spaulding and Associates of Seattle, Washington and constructed at the Puget Sound Bridge & Dry Dock in Seattle in 1963. The MV Matanuska was one of three sister ships that made up the original AMHS fleet. After fifteen years in operation, the ship underwent lengthening and renovation at the Willamette Iron and Steel Company in Portland, Oregon. Today the vessel is 408 feet long and 74 feet wide, with a domestic gross tonnage of 3,029 and a service speed of 16.5 knots.