Goodbye long ferry waits, hello vehicle reservations (to the San Juan Islands)!

Friday, January 2, 2015

Washington State Ferries sails into 2015 by taking the hesitation out of your vacation plans to the San Juan Islands. It all starts Monday, Jan. 5, 2015. To help get you going, here are some of the top questions (and answers) about saving a spot for your car on a San Juan Islands ferry.

Why should I make a reservation? 

Have more time. Long ferry wait times at Anacortes and other San Juan Islands often cut into time spent soaking in the islands. Reserving a spot for your vehicle guarantees a space on the ferry, so you can have more time to do what you want, instead of waiting at the terminal. 

How do I make a reservation? 

Customers can book travel online or by phone.
You can book single reservations or sign up for an account for faster transactions

Please click on the image to view video content.

Is there a fee to make a reservation? 

No. There is no fee to make a reservation; however there is a no-show fee (PDF 298kb) if you do not travel on your reserved sailing or any time within the same service day from the reserved departure terminal.

Can I change or cancel my reservation? 

Yes, you can cancel or change a vehicle reservation without penalty until 5 p.m. the day before your reserved sailing. One change is allowed after 5 p.m., but it has to be done three hours prior to sailing. 

Where in the San Juans can I go? 
Please click on the map to enlarge (PDF 518kb)

Westbound vehicle reservations are available from Anacortes to San Juan (Friday Harbor), Orcas, Shaw and Lopez islands. 

Eastbound reservations are available from San Juan (Friday Harbor) and Orcas islands to Anacortes.

Why are there no reservations from Lopez and Shaw? 

The ferry terminal car holding area is too narrow at both Lopez and Shaw islands to accommodate eastbound reservations. For now, we can only reserve eastbound vehicle space from San Juan (Friday Harbor) and Orcas islands. 

How far in advance can I make a reservation? 

Reservations are available for all sailings when the seasonal schedule is released, usually two months before the season begins. However, we don't release all of the available spaces at once. 

Here's how it works: 
  • 30 percent of reservable space is released 1-2 months before the sailing season begins (there are four sailing seasons: fall, winter, spring and summer).
  • 30 percent of reservable space is released two weeks before a sailing.
  • 30 percent of reservable space is released two days before a sailing.
Releasing reservations in three tiers provides equal access to reservation space for customers who plan far in advance and those who make travel plans closer to the sailing date. 

For more information about Save A Spot to the San Juan Islands, visit, leave a comment below or email us at

Anchors Aweigh!