Policies, Regulations and Safety

Pierce County Ferry Policies

General Information 

Any instructions given by the ferry crew during the trip and during loading and disembarking must be observed. (CFR 49 Chapter 176.89(9)). Ferry crew members are obligated to report violations of any of the above regulations by recording and reporting vehicle licenses to the appropriate authorities. Violations may cause you to be refused passage. 
Animals (except service animals for people with disabilities) are not allowed in terminals or within the passenger deck waiting area. Animals must be on a leash or in a pet container when on the vehicle deck. Animals that are not people-friendly must be muzzled or transported in a pet container. Owners are required to clean up (scoop) after their pets.
Medical Priority Boarding
Passengers may be allowed medical preferential loading aboard the ferry after submitting the medical priority boarding application form where their physician certifies that an extended wait to board the ferry would cause a detrimental health risk to the passenger.
Firearms on Ferry
The weapon must be unloaded and stored in a case. Identify to crew that you are transporting a weapon. Minors transporting weapons must be accompanied by an adult. Individuals carrying a concealed pistol must be licensed to do so and follow RCW 9.41.050 for carrying firearms.
Navigation Bridge & Pilothouse
Per 46CFR78.10, all passengers and animals are excluded from the navigation bridge and pilothouse.
Open Flames / Smoking
Open flames, including heaters or stoves, are prohibited on the ferry vessel. No smoking is allowed anywhere aboard the ferry vessel, in vehicles, or on the ferry landing dock. All smoking materials must be extinguished prior to boarding the ferry vessel.
Propane / Gasoline Containers
U.S. Coast Guard regulations require that propane tanks be shut off and sealed prior to boarding unless they are the primary fuel source for your vehicle. You may carry up to two freestanding propane tanks in addition to those in recreational vehicles, not to exceed 100 pounds water equivalent weight each (approximately 25 gallons). All propane tanks must be secured.

Gasoline and gasoline containers are not allowed aboard except in the internal tank of your vehicle or boat. Trailered boats may carry two U.S. Coast Guard approved outboard motor fuel tanks of gasoline up to six gallons each. Gasoline in spare gas cans and empty cans are both prohibited. All vehicles must have gas caps.
Running Vehicles
It is prohibited to run vehicle engines while the ferry vessel is underway, or to start engines before the ferry vessel has docked and walk-on passengers have disembarked.
Unattended Vehicles
Leaving vehicles unattended in the ferry loading lanes is prohibited and may result in the vehicle being towed at the owner's expense.
Vehicle Fare Structure Applicability
The fare structure applies to all motorized vehicles including automobiles, motorcycles and trucks. The rates apply to all vehicles pulling trailers, unlicensed vehicles and road machinery on wheels.  
Transporting Unlicensed Vehicles
All vehicles must have a valid vehicle registration to drive onto a ferry.  All other vehicles must be transported using a trailer.

Vehicle size

Oversize loads
Vehicles over 8.5 feet wide, 14 feet high, 80 feet long must communicate with the ferry operator in advance to determine if the vehicle/load is suitable for transport onboard the ferry. Please call (253) 588-1950 or complete this form and email to [email protected].
Vehicle length is measured from the furthest protruding point at the front and/or top of the vehicle to the furthest protruding point at the rear and/or top of the vehicle and trailer. Ferry crew can help with measurements before you buy tickets.
Maximum Vehicle Height
Vehicles and loads may not exceed 14 feet in height.
Maximum Vehicle Weight
All legal loads (not requiring DOT permit) are allowed on the ferries.

Code of Conduct
Please take a few moments to read the following guidelines that are applicable while aboard the ferry vessel and at the ferry landings. These are provided to ferry passengers so that a safe and secure trip is available to all.

Follow Directions
Follow all directions from the ferry crew regarding safety, emergencies, orderly behavior, boarding and disembarking procedures.
Be Respectful
Act respectfully toward each other and the ferry crew. Please no quarreling, pushing, loud noises, vulgar or obscene language or gestures, fighting, spitting, etc.
Line cutting 
As of July 1, 2019, cutting in the ferry loading lanes may be subject to $48 fine. Line cutting is defined as a vehicle pulling into a gap when the ferry has begun loading, or pulling into the end of a lane that is loading when there are additional lanes that need to be loaded. If the ferry has not begun loading and there is a gap, a vehicle can pull into the gap. For this reason, we encourage all passengers to park directly behind the vehicle ahead of them without leaving a gap, and staying with your vehicle. Matching codes were enacted by Pierce County and the Town of Steilacoom to manage all loading lanes on the route.
Safety Equipment
Do not tamper with safety or life-saving equipment.
Do not litter, including throwing objects on the ferry vessel or overboard.
Safety and Health
Use of weapons, illegal drugs, alcohol or tobacco products will not be tolerated.
No use of open flames or engagement in any actions that may be hazardous to others or to the ferry vessel is allowed.
Respect Property
No destruction, defacement, damage or theft to any personal or county property. Any vandalism or theft will be reported to the appropriate authorities.
Authorized Passenger Areas
Remain in areas designated for passengers. Do not enter any unauthorized area.
Listening to Music
Smartphones, radios, other electronic equipment or musical equipment may be used only if earphones are used with sound audible only to the individual listener.
Contact Us
Customer Service & Refunds: 
(253) 588-1950

After Hours Emergency: 
(253) 798-6000
Steilacoom Landing:
56 Union Ave.
Steilacoom, WA 98388

Office Location:
9850 64th Street W.
University Place, WA 98467