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Washington State Ferries Environmental Program

Environmental Commitment

Through innovative environmental programs and partnerships with maritime stakeholders, Washington State Ferries (WSF) is conserving fuel, reducing pollution and saving taxpayers' dollars.

Protecting the environment encompasses every aspect of WSF's work - from planning, design and construction, through operation and maintenance of the ferry system. Our teams of policy and science experts foster environmental stewardship throughout WSF and support the transportation system and project delivery needs of the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT).

WSF is committed to protecting the environment while improving and maintaining Washington's transportation system.

Visit the WSDOT environmental Web site to learn more about our environmental commitment.

Environmental Programs

Liquefied Natural Gas
WSF is exploring an option to use liquefied natural gas as a source of fuel to lower costs and significantly reduce emissions.

MV Hyak Hybrid Project
WSF will contract to convert the Hyak propulsion system to use cutting-edge hybrid technology, saving fuel and reducing emissions.

As of February 2013, all of WSF’s 22 vessels use B5 biodiesel – a blend of 5 percent biodiesel and 95 percent ultra-low sulfur diesel. Biodiesel is a fuel made from vegetable oils such as soybeans, animal fats or cooking greases. It contains almost no sulfur and reduces toxic pollutants and greenhouse-gas emissions. Each year, WSF burns approximately 17 million gallons of fuel. Operating on biodiesel fuel blends can reduce emissions of particulate matter, the leading airborne health risk in Puget Sound.

EnviroStars certification for WSF terminals
EnviroStars certification is a no-cost third-party verification of good business practices that protect our waters and reduce waste. Ten of WSF’s terminals are certified by EnviroStars. The rest are located in areas not covered by the EnviroStars program. Our terminals are maintained using Green Seal certified cleaning products for public facilities and integrated pest management on the grounds. The lots and roads are kept clean and spill free through the careful oversight of the terminal workers. The ferries and dockside equipment are maintained using methods that keep fuels and oils out of the water. 
 WSF employees holding EnviroStars banner at Fauntleroy terminal
WSF employees proudly display the EnviroStars banner at the 5-star certified Fauntleroy terminal

PVA Waters certification for WSF vessels
The national Passenger Vessel Association has granted certification in its PVA Waters program for all of WSF’s 22 vessels. PVA Waters is a voluntary program that provides a comprehensive look at the “green" movement, while offering realistic ideas for ways in which PVA members can easily adopt or expand environmentally friendly practices.

Fuel Conservation
In 2012 the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials recognized WSF with the President’s Transportation Award for WSF’s innovative work to save 180,000 gallons of fuel and more than $700,000 per year on the Edmonds/Kingston route, one of the most well-traveled routes in the system. Employees studied the effect of vessel speed on fuel consumption and suggested revised throttle settings to maximize fuel efficiency. Following a successful pilot project, WSF management adopted and implemented their suggestion, which is now the operating standard for the vessels on the route. These fuel conservation efforts have also helped reduce vessel exhaust emissions.


Drive or sail: comparing cost, time, and greenhouse gas emissions