Local Information

Fourth of July holiday ferry travel set to skyrocket

Wednesday, July 3, 2019 - 10:00

Ian Sterling, communications, 206-714-1556
WSF media hotline, 206-402-8070

People driving onto a vessel should plan for long wait times

SEATTLE – Prepare to wait awhile if driving onto a state ferry over the Independence Day holiday weekend as more than half a million people pass through Washington State Ferries’ terminals and vessels Wednesday, July 3, through Monday, July 8.

The busiest sailings will likely be in the westbound direction Wednesday, July 3, then eastbound Friday, July 5, and Saturday, July 6, as travelers return from their Independence Day getaways.

What to know before hopping on a ferry over the Fourth of July holiday weekend

The longest wait times for vehicles are likely to be at the Edmonds, Kingston, Mukilteo and Clinton terminals. These routes often have the highest vehicle ridership in the system on any given day. To reduce or eliminate waiting, riders may consider walking on or taking an early morning or late evening sailing.

It is against the law to set off or carry fireworks aboard a ferry.

Lane closures near Seattle's Colman Dock

People driving onto a ferry at the Seattle terminal should also plan for possible delays due to several big construction projects on the waterfront, including Colman Dock and viaduct demolition work.

Increased congestion, especially during peak times, may cause traffic backups getting in and out of the terminal, as well as possible sailing schedule delays. Through Labor Day, uniformed police officers will help manage traffic during busy times on Thursday, Friday and Saturday at South Jackson Street and the toll plaza entrance at Yesler Way.  

Extra sailings

The following sailings are being added to accommodate increased traffic:

  • Wednesday, July 3
    • 6:45 p.m. Anacortes to Lopez Island
    • 7:35 p.m. Lopez Island to Anacortes
  • Friday, July 5
    • 10:30 p.m. Orcas Island to Anacortes

Holiday schedules

There will be a few holiday schedule changes for the Edmonds/Kingston, Mukilteo/Clinton, Point Defiance/Tahlequah, Port Townsend/Coupeville and Anacortes/San Juan Islands routes on Thursday, July 4. The Seattle/Bainbridge Island and Fauntleroy/Vashon/Southworth routes will operate on a weekend timetable that day.

Travel tips

People using state highways to get to the ferry terminal should plan ahead for potential backups and delays with real-time traffic information on the WSDOT traffic app for mobile devices.

Washington State Ferries, a division of the Washington State Department of Transportation, is the largest ferry system in the U.S. and safely and efficiently carries nearly 25 million people a year through some of the most majestic scenery in the world.

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