Rider updates

Find out how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting ferry service, as well as steps we’re taking to help stop the spread of coronavirus and keep our facilities as safe as possible.

Schedule changes

Washington State Ferries temporarily switched to alternate service schedules on most routes on Oct. 16, 2021, to reduce last-minute sailing cancellations caused by crewing challenges. The severe staff shortages are due to a global shortage of mariners, an aging workforce, COVID-19 cases and quarantines, and state vaccine mandate.

We are working hard to recruit new employees so we can incrementally restore service on a route-by-route basis. A fourth boat was added to our Anacortes/San Juan Islands run on Nov. 19, 2021, to operate a full four-boat schedule on a trial basis. Until all routes can be restored to full seasonal service levels, if crewing allows, additional sailings may be added on a day-by-day basis on other routes still operating reduced service.

Here is a route-by-route breakdown of how sailing schedules are different than pre-pandemic levels:

  • Seattle/Bainbridge, Edmonds/Kingston, Mukilteo/Clinton and Seattle/Bremerton: One-boat service instead of two
  • Fauntleroy/Vashon/Southworth: Two-boat service instead of three
  • Anacortes/Friday Harbor/Sidney, British Columbia: International service suspended  until at least spring 2022

Routes not listed are operating the same seasonal schedules as prior to the pandemic. For the latest service updates, sign up for our rider alerts.

Vehicle reservations

New vehicle reservations for our Anacortes/San Juan Islands route remain suspended until it is certain that the full four-boat schedule can be fully crewed on a regular basis. All vehicles will be loaded on a first-come, first-served basis, but people with existing reservations from prior releases will be prioritized over those without one. Because most people are now travelling without a reservation, it is strongly suggested that people driving  vehicle on board should get to the terminal early and expect delays. We are waiving all no-show fees for the route until reservations are reinstated.

Reservations are still available for the Port Townsend/Coupeville run for travel through Jan. 1, 2022.

For updates on when reservations will be reinstated on our Anacortes/San Juan Islands route and when they will be available for travel for Jan. 2, 2022, and beyond, sign up for our rider alerts.

Face masks

A face covering is required in all indoor areas of vessels and terminals in compliance with the governor’s “Washington Ready” proclamation and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s order for public transportation.          

Food galleys

Our food vender is working to slowly reopen our onboard galleys throughout the fall on a vessel-by-vessel basis, as well as the café inside our Anacortes terminal building. The Dockside food kiosk located by the vehicle holding lanes at our Anacortes terminal is open daily from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Drinking fountains

Drinking fountains are back open at our terminals. Onboard fountains will slowly reopen in late 2021 through early 2022 as the potable water aboard each vessel becomes available.

Enhanced cleaning

We are routinely cleaning all common-touch areas aboard our ferries and in our terminals, and our workers are being reminded to practice good hygiene. It’s also important for our riders to protect themselves and others by practicing good hygiene and reconsider traveling if you are sick.

Riders asked 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.

Onboard activities program slowly resuming

We are slowly resuming special events aboard our vessels.

14 fish passage projects were completed in 2020

improving access to 54.2 miles of upstream habitat.

11,959 incidents responded to

by WSDOT’s incident Response teams during second quarter of 2021, 15% more than same quarter in 2020.

41 Pre-existing Funds Projects Advertised

during the eighth quarter of the 2019-2021 biennium.