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WSF increases capacity between Anacortes and San Juan Islands for Memorial Day weekend; CBP warns of travel delays at border crossings

Right, Duty Free retail assistant Phyllis Martino sorts out orders on the international ferry, during the inaugural run of the season March 28. The 144-car Elwha is filling in for the 124-car Chelan for service on the Anacortes/Sidney, B.C. and Anacortes/San Juan Islands routes, a 20-vehicle increase in capacity.  - Jane K. Fox / March 28, 2010
Right, Duty Free retail assistant Phyllis Martino sorts out orders on the international ferry, during the inaugural run of the season March 28. The 144-car Elwha is filling in for the 124-car Chelan for service on the Anacortes/Sidney, B.C. and Anacortes/San Juan Islands routes, a 20-vehicle increase in capacity.
— image credit: Jane K. Fox / March 28, 2010

Washington State Ferries is providing extra capacity and sailings for Memorial Day weekend travelers going to and from Anacortes and the San Juan Islands.

The 144-car Elwha is filling in for the 124-car Chelan for service on the Anacortes/Sidney, B.C. and Anacortes/San Juan Islands routes – a 20-vehicle increase in capacity. The 144-car Kaleetan and the 144-car Hyak are providing service between Anacortes and the islands, maintaining capacity for those sailings.

WSF is also adding sailings to better accommodate the heavy holiday weekend traffic.

— On May 28, WSF will provide an extra sailing from Anacortes to Orcas, at 2:05 p.m.

— On May 31, WSF will provide an extra sailing from Orcas to Anacortes, at 3:20 p.m. Also, the 2:20 p.m. sailing from Friday Harbor will go directly to and from Anacortes instead of making inter-island stops.

The series of vessel moves earlier this week was necessary to facilitate repairs on the Chelan. This resulted in temporarily reduced capacity on interisland sailings, with the 34-car Hiyu operating in place of the 87-car Evergreen State.

“Our crews are working hard to complete repairs to the Chelan, and it may be possible to restore interisland capacity early in the holiday weekend,” Assistant Transportation Secretary David Moseley said in a press release.

For more ferry system information, visit, www.wsdot.wa.gov/ferries.

CBP encourages travelers to plan ahead this Memorial Day weekend
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is reminding travelers planning trips across the border to make sure they have the proper documents and to anticipate heavy traffic during the Memorial Day weekend.

“Memorial Day is observed as a day of remembrance for those soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines who have sacrificed their lives in service to our country,” Area Port Director Gregory Alvarez said in a press release. “For many, it is also the start of the summer travel season and will result in heavy traffic entering the United States through Blaine area ports. We are once again advising all travelers to plan their trips ahead of time and to please allow extra time for crossing the border.”

Travelers should consider alternate ports of entry as the best way to avoid long delays, and avoid peak travel times when at all possible. The heaviest traffic periods are typically between the hours of 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.

In the Blaine area, during the reconstruction phase of the Peace Arch port of entry, border crossers may want to use the nearby and less heavily traveled ports of entry at the Pacific Highway crossing on State Highway 543 or Sumas on State Highway 9. The Lynden port of entry is also available from 8 a.m. until midnight on State Highway 539.

The Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, implemented on June 1, 2009, requires U.S. and Canadian citizens age 16 and older to present a valid, acceptable travel document that denotes both identity and citizenship when entering the U.S by land or sea.

CBP encourages travelers to obtain a radio frequency identification (RFID)-enabled travel document such as a U.S. Passport Card, Enhanced Driver’s License/Enhanced Identification Card or Trusted Traveler Program card (NEXUS, SENTRI or FAST/EXPRES) to expedite their entry and make crossing the border more efficient.

CBP officials continually monitor traffic and border crossing times at area ports of entry and fully staff all inspection lanes during peak periods.

— Tip No. 1: Passengers can help speed up the screening process by packing their carry-ons in an organized manner. This helps our officers efficiently see what's inside to quickly process it through screening.

— Tip No. 2: Existing procedures like 3-1-1 and removing shoes and laptops for screening remain in place.

— Tip No. 3: TSA has Family Lanes at every security checkpoint which are designed for passengers with special needs and who may need more time to process through the security checkpoint.

— Tip No. 4: Remember these three simple steps for security:
— Have your ID and boarding pass out and ready.
— Take off shoes and jackets.
— Take out liquids (in a baggie) and laptops.

For more information, visit www.CBP.gov or www.TSA.gov.

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