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FAQs - School Groups

Washington State Ferries welcomes school groups aboard our ferries, and hope we can help make your next school outing as easy and enjoyable as possible. With a little preparation, taking a ferry with a school group can be fast, affordable and fun. Follow these steps to make sure your school group gets on the boat and benefits from all the discounts and privileges WSF offers for schools and students.

What is the school group rate?

Effective October 1, 2018, the school group rate increased to $5($10 roundtrip) per passenger group, plus the vehicle fare if driving onto the ferry.

Please note: If taking multiple vehicles, each vehicle group is required to pay vehicle fare plus the school group rate. Each vehicle also needs to have an authorization letter with original signature (no copies).


Who qualifies for the school group rate?

  • Public or private K-12 school groups on school-sponsored travel, including travel for extracurricular activities.
  • Home schools who have a Declaration of Intent filed with their school district
  • University or college groups on school-sponsored travel that serves a cultural or academic purpose.

Do pre-schools qualify?
No, preschools do not qualify for the school group rate. However, children under 6 years old travel free.

Do education-focused nonprofit programs/organizations qualify?
No, the school group rate only applies to school-sponsored activities.

Before you travel

Taking your school group on a ferry is easy, but there a few things you’ll need to do before you travel.

Let us know you’re coming
Fill out the Advanced Travel Notification & Student Safety form a minimum of 72 hours before travel. We need this information to make sure we have the right number and size of life preservers onboard as required by the U.S Coast Guard, and to ensure we have space for you onboard.

Bring a valid authorization letter with you
Complete the School Discount Authorization letter and be sure you have it with you when you arrive at the terminal.

  • Public or private K-12 schools, and college/university authorization letters must be printed on school letterhead and contain an original signature of the school administrator or transportation coordinator.
  • Homeschool group authorization letters may be printed without letterhead and must be accompanied by a copy of the Declaration of Intent (DOI) that was filed with the school district.
  • If traveling with more than one vehicle, you will need an authorization letter with an original signature for each vehicle traveling. Photocopies are not accepted.

Make a reservation
If taking a vehicle onto the ferry on a San Juan Islands route or the Port Townsend/Coupeville route, a reservation is recommended. Reservations can be made online through Save-a-Spot Vehicle Reservations or by calling customer service. Reservations are not available for other routes, but the terminal will be notified of your travel plans when you submit your Advanced Travel Notification form.


Contact WSF customer service at 206-464-6400 or online .