Setting up a ferry reservation account, step by step

As Kathy Booth noted in yesterday’s post, it’s a good idea to get prepared early for using the new reservation system. Don’t wait until the busy summer season is upon us to set up your account and practice using the new system.

You may, of course, use the system as Guest without creating an account—but residents would probably want to create a Universal Account as your info is saved for faster transactions. You need to have an email address in order to create a Universal Account.

To help you get started, I went through the process for signing up for a Universal Account today and put together these detailed instructions and  screenshots.

Create a Universal Account

Note: areas that I found issues are highlighted in red.

Updated 5/31/2015 with revisions to first screenshot and Item 10.

  1. Go to
  2. Click on Create a Reservation Account link (see the orange arrow in the image below): universal-acct-desktop-1-REVISED
  3. You’ll be taken to the page shown below. Note: as of now there is no mobile-optimized version of these signup pages. Another reason to create your account now, at home!universal-acct-desktop-2
  4. In the Username and Password section, fill in your email address and create a password. The password must be at least 8 characters long and use at least one uppercase, one lowercase, and one special character !@#$.
  5. In the Contact Information section, fill in your contact info. The page might reload while you are filling in your address info. I noticed that you must check Subscribe for Mobile Alerts before you can enter your Mobile Phone number.
  6. Select your security questions and provide the answers. These security questions will be used whenever you call to access your account, so be sure to use answers that you can remember!
  7. Under the Account Activation section, check the terms and conditions box. The page will reload, and then you can enter the Verification Code shown in the scrambled box above.
  8. Click the green Continue button.
  9. If you have mis-entered the Verification Code, you will receive an error message Incorrect Verification Code.It is case-sensitive!
  10. I noticed that if you enter the Verification Code incorrectly, you will not receive an error message: the page will simply reload. If you click the green Continue button and you can’t proceed, check the Verification Code: it is case-sensitive.
  11. If you can’t read the Verification Code, there is no auditory alternative. You must keep trying until you get the Verification Code correct.
  12. Once you have successfully completed the signup form, you’ll be taken to this page: universal-acct-desktop-3
  13. Now you need to verify your email address. Go to the email account that you used to sign up with and look for the verification email.
  14. Open the activation email and click the confirm your email address link.
  15. After clicking the confirmation link, you’ll be taken to this page: universal-acct-desktop-4

You could stop here, but while we’re at it let’s go ahead and log in to your new account and add some more info.

Add vehicle and payment info to your Universal Account

  1. Log in to your new account at For faster access, consider bookmarking this URL & saving the login info on your computer and/or mobile device. Note: you can also access the login screen from the main reservations page. Click the button labeled Login to Account to Make, Change, Cancel or View My Reservations.
  2. Once logged in, you’ll be taken to the My Account page: universal-acct-desktop-5
  3. Add your vehicle(s) to your account for future use. Click the My Favorites tab (see the orange arrow in the screenshot above)
  4. Click the green Add a Vehicle button.
  5. Enter the vehicle name, and select the vehicle type. The page will reload and you can enter the vehicle height: universal-acct-desktop-6
  6. Click the green Save button. Repeat the steps to add additional vehicles, as desired.
  7. Add your payment info for future use. Click the Payment Information tab, then click the green Add a Credit Card button. You’ll be taken to this page: universal-acct-desktop-7
  8. Enter your credit card info. Check the Use Reservation Holder Details box to automatically fill in your contact info. Click the green Save button.
  9. On the following screen, click the Add a Credit Card button to add additional cards to your account, if desired. You can also designate a card as your Primary Card.
  10. The other tabs on this page allow you to update your contact info, security questions, etc.
  11. When you are ready to make a reservation, click the green Make a Reservation button at the top right of the page.

Additional Accounts

The Universal accounts are individual accounts. Each household member who wishes to make reservations in his/her name will need to set up an account in their name. According to the Reservation FAQs, it appears that you can make a reservation for another known person [emphasis added]:

At this time, there is no limit to the number of reservations you can make at one time. However, it is WSF policy that customers may only make reservations on behalf of another known customer. The reservation maker must know the customer’s name and vehicle size prior to making the reservation. A customer may not make reservations in anticipation of unknown customers, guests or event attendees.

More Info:

Terminal Operating Scenarios

The FAQs above include diagrams of operating scenarios at the Anacortes, Orcas, and Friday Harbor terminals (no reservations will be used at Lopez and Shaw.) It might be helpful to check these out to get a sense of how you will be staged by terminal personnel, depending on your reservation status.

FAQ: Make a Reservation as an Account Holder

FAQ: Make a Reservation as a Guest

FAQ: No-show Fees



2 thoughts on “Setting up a ferry reservation account, step by step

  1. danfromsj

    It may just be a glitch in the current version of the website, but even though you select a vehicle as a “favorite”, when making a reservation from my universal account I must still enter the vehicle details (length & height).


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