The Fourth of July is one of the biggest travel holidays for the state ferry system. About 430,000 ferry passengers traveled across the Puget Sound during last year’s holiday weekend, and similar numbers are expected this year.
Along with increased ridership, passengers sailing between Mukilteo and Clinton will also be using a smaller vessel. To help holiday travelers get between the two destinations Washington State Ferries will add extra service as needed late night Monday, July 3 and Tuesday, July 4.
The 144-car Tokitae will be replaced during this upcoming weekend with a smaller 124-car ferry due to a federally required inspection. Ferry travelers will need to plan ahead as the reduction in vehicle space could contribute to longer wait times.
“We want to thank riders in advance for their patience. This was the only time we were able to squeeze the Tokitae in for its inspection to make sure it’s available for the rest of the summer,” said Amy Scarton, assistant secretary for Washington State Ferries. “Not only is there limited availability for these inspections, but the work must be coordinated with the scheduled maintenance of the other 21 ferries in the fleet.”
All ferries are required to undergo a four-week inspection by the United States Coast Guard every two years to ensure sea valves, propellers, rudders and all the other important parts are in proper condition.
There will be additional sailings on the Mukilteo/Clinton route to accommodate for the heavy traffic and smaller ferry size. Extra sailings will also be used during the holiday weekend between Vashon Island and Fauntleroy, along with the Anacortes and San Juan Island routes. Several routes will also be on different schedules.
Monday, July 3
Extra sailing departing Clinton to Mukilteo at 9:00 p.m. and returning at 9:30 p.m.
Extra sailing departing Clinton to Mukilteo at 10:00 p.m. and returning at 10:30 p.m.
Extra sailing departing Clinton to Mukilteo at 1:30 a.m. and returning at 2 a.m.
Tuesday, July 4
Extra sailing departing Vashon to Fauntleroy at 11:25 p.m.
Port Townsend/ Coupeville route will be on Sunday sailing schedule.
Mukilteo/Clinton route will be on Sunday sailing schedule.
Edmonds/Kingston route will be on weekday holiday schedule.
Seattle/Bainbridge route will be on holiday Saturday sailing schedule.
Point Defiance/Tahlequah route will be on Sunday sailing schedule.
Fauntleroy/Vashon/Southworth route will be on weekend schedule
Wednesday, July 5
Extra sailing departing Anacortes to Lopez at 6:45 p.m. and returning at 7:35 p.m.
Extra sailing departing Anacortes to Friday Harbor at 8:45 p.m. and returning at 10:10 p.m.
Extra sailing departing Orcas to Anacortes at 10:30 p.m.
Regardless of the route, all ferry passengers should prepare for longer than usual wait times and plan ahead:
Check terminal conditions before leaving.
Find out about changes to Colman Dock due to waterfront construction.
Sign up for ferry travel alerts.
Follow WSF’s Twitter account for automatic updates on travel conditions.
Review the summer sailing schedule for best times to travel.
Make a vehicle reservation to the San Juan Islands, Sidney, BC or Port Townsend/Coupeville.
Drivers can also plan ahead for increased congestion on highways as they make their way to the ferry terminals with real-time traffic information on the WSDOT traffic app for their mobile device.