Sound Stories. Sound Voices.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
You are on the KUOW archive site. Click here to go to our current site.

Frustrated With Ferry Backup? Now You Can Reserve A Spot On San Juan Routes

A Washington State ferry travels to Friday Harbor.
Flickr Photo/James N (CC-BY-NC-ND)
A Washington State ferry travels to Friday Harbor.

Travelers to the San Juan Islands have always had to cope with uncertainty. Up to now there’s been no way to guarantee a spot on a particular ferry.

But Washington ferries are now taking reservations for the San Juan Islands. The first ferries to fill up under the new system leave Monday morning.


The change means this is the week to set up an account with an email address and one of those hard passwords people really can’t remember. The Washington State Department of Transportation site has a video that explains it. Or you could just call in your reservation.

A change this big means the most to people who live on the San Juans. Barbara Marrett speaks for the San Juan Islands visitors bureau.

Marrett: “The biggest concerns that people had was that they would not be able to get on the ferry because all of the reservations would have been made months and months in advance by visitors.”

But that can’t happen. You can’t take all the reservations months and years out: 10 percent of tickets will always be set aside for the day of sailing. People with urgent needs get special priority.

Marrett: “Yes, if there’s room, they will be on the ferry. Plus those who make reservations a certain percentage of those won’t show up. So there will be more spaces available.”

If you end up being a no-show, you’ll lose your deposit. No fine, but they sell your ticket to someone else.