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Washington State Ferries Environmental Program

Environmental Policy

WSF is committed to conducting our business in a safe, secure, and environmentally sustainable manner that protects employees, customers and the natural environment of the Puget Sound Region.

Environmental Approach

The environmental management system is part of the WSF Safety Management System (SMS). The SMS is a set of policies and procedures that covers safety, security and the environment. WSF employees protect the Puget Sound Environment while providing a sustainable transportation services for Washington state residents and visitors by following these policies and procedures. 

Water quality in Puget Sound
The Puget Sound Partnership Puget Sound Marine Waters 2017 Overview provides information used to understand and protect Puget Sound waters. The report is an overview of 2017 marine water quality and conditions derived from comprehensive monitoring and observing programs.


The Environmental Program Manager oversees vessel and terminal operations interactions with the environment. There are programs for stormwater, integrated pest management, waste management, fuel/emissions, sustainability and marine mammals.


A permits group overseas all construction and capital maintenance permitting. Local, state and federal permits are required for new terminals, reconstruction of terminals, capital maintenance and new vessels. The group analyzes the effects of terminal construction on marine mammals, birds and people and prepares permit applications.


WSDOT Ferries Division 
Environmental Program Manager

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 researched converting the Hyak to a hybrid electric propulsion system and continues to explore opportunities to deploy hybrid electric technology.

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 (pdf 1.33 mb)