COVID-19 Travel Updates

Safety is Washington State Ferries’ number one priority, and this includes the health and well-being of our passengers and employees. WSF is taking a number of steps to help stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus (coronavirus) and keep our facilities as safe as possible. Please read below for some information regarding travel and check back later as we will continue to provide updates as they are available.

Ways WSF is working to limit the spread of COVID-19

All common-touch areas on our ferries and terminals are being routinely cleaned, and workers are reminded to practice good hygiene. These are high touch public spaces, and it’s important for the public to also do your part to protect yourselves and others by practicing good hygiene and reconsider traveling if you are sick.

Passengers are required to wear face mask aboard ferries

Face masks are required at all WSF facilities to limit the spread of COVID-19. The requirement includes both indoor and outdoor spaces. Customers traveling by vehicle are encouraged to remain in their vehicles for the duration of their trip, while those in the cabin should practice safe physical distancing.

Schedule changes due to COVID-19

Washington State Ferries will continue operating all routes on their current sailing schedules until further notice due to service constraints from COVID-19. Service is subject to change in response to the pandemic, and customers are advised to check the WSF schedule page for the most current schedule information. Customers may also sign up to receive travel alerts by email.

Vehicle reservations

Reservations for the Port Townsend/Coupeville and Anacortes/San Juan Islands/Sidney, B.C. routes are available through Jan. 2, 2021.

On Oct. 1, Washington State Ferries will resume charging no-show fees to customers who do not cancel their reservations by 5 p.m. the day before travel. As a courtesy, these fees were suspended in March at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic while travel patterns were disrupted and unpredictable. To avoid incurring a no-show fee, customers should only make reservations that they plan to use.

International service to and from Sidney, B.C. is cancelled until further notice because of continued travel restrictions. Customers will not be able to book travel for this route.

COVID-19 places constraints on WSF service

COVID-19 has placed many challenges on state agencies, and it has been no different for WSF. As many other organizations have done, WSF has had to adjust our way of doing business to keep people safe and healthy during this pandemic.

Even though ridership has been slowly increasing, travel is still limited to “essential” purposes as part of the Governor’s Safe Start plan. And despite heavy demand during peak travel periods in the mornings and afternoons, we’re currently carrying about 45% fewer riders across the entire system.

However, ridership will not be the only variable that determines when we will be able increase service. Before any service increase is implemented, four important factors need to be present:

  1. Ridership: As already mentioned, ridership remains at historic lows. As more restrictions are lifted and non-essential travel is restored, we anticipate more riders will come back to the ferries. It is difficult to predict at what rate they will return, but we know that there will be more demand for service as we move through the Governor’s Safe Start plan.
  2. Crew availability: Washington State Ferries is federally required to have a certain number of qualified crew members to operate each sailing. We currently have about 150 crew members who are “high risk” and unable to sail because of COVID-19 concerns. This has made it a challenge to even maintain this current level of service. Until we have a full workforce available, we will be unable to sufficiently crew the vessels and increase service.
  3. Funding: Finally, WSF cannot increase its level of service without the funding to operate that service. With decreased ridership, fare revenues have also decreased, and overall transportation revenue throughout the State of Washington is projected to have decreased by about $100 million per month.
  4. Vessels: The number of boats that are available also dictate our ability to provide service. If there are not enough boats due to a combination of planned and unplanned maintenance, we cannot operate a full schedule.

We recognize that ferry service provides a critical lifeline for many people. Despite these challenges, we are committed to providing as much service as possible given our very constrained resources.

Customers recommended to use debit/credit card to purchase tickets

Terminals have a limited supply of change due to a national coin shortage caused by COVID-19. Therefore, customers are encouraged to use debit or credit cards when purchasing their tickets at the terminal. Should customers need to pay with cash, please be prepared to pay with exact change.

Tickets can be purchased in advance 

To better protect our customers and employees against the spread of COVID-19, WSF encourages all customers to purchase their tickets in advance online. Tickets can be purchased at Pre-purchasing tickets minimizes the amount of contact and money exchange that needs to take place at tollbooths.

To make it easier for customers to purchase tickets online, WSF has made all of its fares available, including those that normally require in-person purchase and proof of eligibility. These include youth, senior, and disabled fares.

Customer call center remains open

The customer service call center is open daily from 7:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Customers can call 206-464-6400 to speak with an agent or receive automated schedule and fare information. Vehicle reservations can be made, changed or cancelled online or over the phone. Refund requests can also be submitted online, and customers are highly encouraged to do so. Customers may also experience longer than normal hold times depending on call volumes.

Remember to practice safe physical distancing while traveling

On top of maintaining good hygiene habits and washing your hands, we encourage passengers to follow health officials’ recommendations for social distancing when possible. There are several options for ferry riders to maintain a healthy amount of separation from fellow passengers:

  • Customers are encouraged stay in their vehicles if possible when they drive on the ferry.
  • Ferry boats are much larger vessels than most other forms of transit, which gives passengers more opportunity to keep some distance between each other.
  • Restrooms with running water and hand soap are available on all vessels, unlike many other forms of public transit. Riders are encouraged to use these facilities.

International service between Anacortes and Sidney, B.C. is suspended

No. Service between Anacortes and B.C. is suspended until further notice due to ongoing international travel restrictions.

* Please note that this does not affect domestic service. WSF will continue to make its regularly scheduled domestic stops in the San Juan Islands.

Galleys closed on all vessels

All galleys on Washington State Ferries will be closed until further notice in an effort to protect the health and safety of employees and customers. Food vendors at the Anacortes terminal will also be closed. However, vending machines will still be available.

Onboard activities program suspended

WSF is temporarily suspending all memorial, fundraiser, filming shoot, onboard activities at its facilities until further notice to better protect our employees and customers.

We apologize for the inconvenience and will resume these programs as soon as we are able.