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WSDOT Ferries Division (WSF) E-mail Alert Terms

The following terms are commonly used in WSF email alerts. Email alerts are issued throughout the day by route to help inform customers of service disruptions, planned closures and other changes. Sign up to receive route-specific alerts.

Customs and Border Protection delays: Service delay on Anacortes/San Juan Islands/Sidney routes caused by U.S. Customs and Border Protection operations.

Elevators are out of service: WSF will notify customers via email alert any time an
elevator is out of service and as soon as it comes back into service.

Emergency medical transport: Service delay or cancellation caused by the transport of patients in critical condition on board ferries. WSF provides emergency medical transport from Vashon Island and Whidbey Island.

Fog delays: Service delay caused by limited visibility due to fog.

High winds: Service delay caused by higher than normal winds. These types of delays typically happen on north Sound routes such as Mukilteo/Clinton, Port Townsend/Coupeville and the San Juan Islands, but wind can affect any route.

Heavier than normal marine traffic: Service delay caused by freighters, barges, tugboats and naval vessels, among many others in Puget Sound.

Heavier than normal vehicle traffic boarding the vessel: Service delay caused by a large number of vehicles boarding a ferry. This type of delay typically happens during peak commute periods and holidays.

Law enforcement activity: Service delay caused by law enforcement activity at a terminal or on board a vessel.

Loading/unloading commercial vehicles: Service delay caused by higher than normal commercial vehicle traffic on board a ferry.

Necessary cleanup: Service delay caused by a spill cleanup on board the vessel, usually on the vehicle deck. A spill could be oil, fuel, lubricant, sewage and other substances.

Necessary repairs: Service delay resulting from unplanned vessel or terminal repairs.

Required quarterly inspection: Service delay caused by quarterly U.S. Coast Guard inspection. These inspections are random and integral to maintaining the safety of WSF operations.

Required safety drills: Service delay caused by crew safety drills aboard the vessel. These drills are required by the U.S. Coast Guard and are usually performed during off-peak hours.

Staffing issues: Service delay resulting when an employee arrives late or is not properly dispatched for their shift.

Tally system has been activated: Washington State Patrol hands out tally slips to vehicles in queue on State Route 104 at the Lindvog Road intersection waiting for the Kingston ferry on Sunday afternoons. Tally slips indicate that you are waiting in line for the ferry. Distribution of slips begins at various times based on traffic volume. Vehicles arriving at the auto ticket booth without a tally slip will be directed to the end of the line. This program was initiated at the request of the community to help reduce traffic congestion in the downtown corridor.

Tidal cancellations: Service cancellations on the Port Townsend/Coupeville and other routes caused by lower than normal tides. WSF also publishes vehicle clearance advisories for vehicles with less than 14 inches of clearance traveling on the Fauntleroy/Vashon/Southworth route during lower than normal tides.

Vashon, San Juan Islands Special Events: WSF briefly diverts sailings to Vashon Island and the San Juan Islands for special events so that students and event participants can disembark. WSF will provide email alerts in advance of these events. WSF also publishes email alerts for annual events that impact service which include but are not limited to:

  • Chilly Hilly Bicycle Ride (Bainbridge Island, February)
  • Oyster Run (Anacortes, September)
  • July Fourth (Edmonds, San Juan Islands)

Vehicle reservations: WSF publishes email alerts with information on vehicle reservation availability for the Port Townsend/Coupeville route.