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Arno's Nantucket Restaurant

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Martha's Vineyard Online

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Arno's Nantucket Restaurant

Main Street, Reopens Breakfast/Lunch 2015 Daffodil Weekend.

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Martha's Vineyard Online

Your online & mobile guide to all things Martha’s Vineyard

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FAQs


General Passenger Information

Passenger Tickets and Fares

High-Speed Passenger-Only Ferry Between Hyannis and Nantucket

Parking Information

Information for Passengers with Disabilities

Steamship Authority Security Procedures

General Information for Customers Traveling with Their Vehicles

Vehicle Fares

Vehicle Reservations

Preferred Space Reservation Program

Headstart Reservation Program

Customers Traveling with Vehicle Reservations

Traveling without Vehicle Reservations on the Martha's Vineyard Route

Traveling without Vehicle Reservations on the Nantucket Route

General Passenger Information

How do I access the SSA's News, including Board Meeting Summaries, Meeting Notices & Agendas and Invitations for Bids?

To access the SSA's news, including Board Meeting Summaries, Meeting Notices and Agendas and Invitations for Bids, please visit the About section of our website and navigate to the News link. Or simply click this link: https://www.steamshipauthority.com/about/news.

Am I required to make a passenger reservation for the traditional ferry to Nantucket or Martha's Vineyard?

Passenger reservations are not needed for our traditional ferries to Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket. Passengers traveling without a vehicle may purchase their tickets at our terminals on the day of sailing.  

If you are planning to take your vehicle to either island then you are required to make an advance vehicle reservation.

If you are planning to take the high-speed passenger ferry to Nantucket, reservations are recommended especially during peak travel times including holiday weekends and the summer months of July and August.

Are there any special precautions I should take while riding on the ferry?

The Steamship Authority has the largest, safest and most seaworthy vessels manned by U.S. Coast Guard-certified crews. However, as with any vessel, you should always conduct yourself with care while on-board and pay particular attention to any children traveling with you. In particular, when a ferry is approaching or docking at a terminal, position yourself as safely as possible so that you are not thrown off balance when the ferry reaches the dock. Please remember, passengers are not allowed to stand on any stairs of a vessel or at the top of any vessel stairwell while it is approaching or docking at a terminal.

How much baggage may I bring with me on the ferry?

Passengers may travel with their personal baggage, at no additional charge, except for bicycles, surfboards (including wind surfboards) and other large objects for which a fare may be charged. Please note, for security reasons, no baggage may be left unattended or placed on any passenger seat or table. Passengers traveling without vehicles may be required to place some or all of their baggage on luggage carts for the safety and convenience of other passengers. While luggage carts are provided at no additional charge, the Steamship Authority assumes no responsibility for any baggage placed on any luggage carts.

Can children travel on the ferries unaccompanied?

Children under the age of 13 must be accompanied by an adult (a person 13 years of age or older) who is responsible for their care and conduct during the passage.

Do any passengers have priority in boarding the ferry?

Although the Steamship Authority’s larger ferries will generally have sufficient capacity for all passengers who wish to travel on a particular trip, if the Steamship Authority determines that the vessel’s carrying capacity will be reached before sailing time, passengers traveling in vehicles with reservations have boarding priority over both passengers traveling in standby vehicles and walk-on passengers. In addition, passengers with vehicles traveling on a standby basis have boarding priority over walk-on passengers.

May I bring pets with me on the ferry?

Pets are welcome on board our ferries. Your pets are carried free of charge, but they must be accompanied by the passenger who is responsible for their care and conduct during the passage. Owners are required to clean up after their pets. All pets must be kept on a leash or in a container, and must be under the control of the passenger at all times. No pets (except for service assistance animals) are allowed in any food service area. No pets are allowed on any passenger seat or table.

Can I transport or consume alcoholic beverages aboard the ferry?

Massachusetts law also prohibits passengers from consuming alcoholic beverages aboard any Steamship Authority vessel other than those sold by our licensed concessionaire. Passengers are not allowed to bring alcoholic beverages on or off a vessel except for beverages that they are transporting as personal baggage in unopened containers, which may not be opened while the vessel is underway. Further, the Steamship Authority’s licensed concessionaire may not serve alcoholic beverages to any passenger while the vessel is at dockside or prior to casting off. Nor may alcoholic beverages be served on trips of more than two hours to any passenger within one-half hour before the vessel docks.

Can I smoke cigarettes or cigars on the ferry?

Under Massachusetts law, you are prohibited from smoking anywhere in or upon any Steamship Authority vessel. All smoking materials (including but not limited to matches, cigars, cigarettes and pipes) must be extinguished prior to boarding.

Do I need a reservation for my bicycle?

No. Bicycles do not require reservations, and tickets for their transportation can be purchased on the day of sailing at the terminal. However, they will be transported only on a space-available basis.

Passenger Tickets and Fares

Can I receive a lower fare if I buy a book of multiple tickets?

Yes. We sell 10-ride ticket books for our traditional ferries to Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket which significantly lower the fare on a per-ticket basis. These 10-ride ticket books are also sold for the high-speed passenger-only ferry between Hyannis and Nantucket.

Are group fares available?

Yes. Generally, 20 or more individuals must travel together as a group in order for the individuals to be eligible for a regular group fare. All individuals in the group must travel together on the same dates, from the same point of origin to the same destination and back. One person in the group must be designated as the individual responsible for picking up the group’s tickets and for coordinating all other aspects of the group’s travel. Please consult the Customer Handbook for eligibility requirements. 

Are there any restrictions on the use of the 10-ride ticket books?

Generally there are no restrictions on the use of these books. Certain ticket books are transferable among passengers, and multiple tickets from the same ticket book may be used for travel for different passengers on the same trip. 10-ride ticket books are valid forever on the Nantucket route, although they are valid on the Martha's Vineyard route for one year from the end of the calendar month that the book is purchased.  Please consult the Customer Handbook to view specific ticket book restrictions.

I have purchased individual passenger tickets at the regular fare. Are there any restrictions on their use?

Passenger tickets are transferable among individuals who are eligible for the fare charged. Generally, each ticket is valid for passage only if used within one year from the date the ticket is sold.

Do you charge the same fares for adults and children?

Individuals who are 13 years of age or over are charged the adult fare; children who are five (5) years of age or over and under thirteen (13) years of age are charged the child fare, unless eligible for a lower fare, but must be accompanied by an adult (a person 13 years of age or older) who is responsible for their care and conduct during the passage.

Is anyone eligible for a discounted fare?

Yes. Senior citizens (age 65 or older) who are residents of Martha's Vineyard, Nantucket, Barnstable or Falmouth are eligible for a senior citizen fare. Other individuals who are eligible for discounted fares include individuals with disabilities with Steamship Authority Transportation Access Passes and legally blind passengers (together with their helper or companion). Under certain circumstances, military and Coast Guard personnel in active service, as well as reservists, are also eligible for discounted fares. Please consult the Customer Handbook for eligibility requirements. 

Does the Steamship Authority have any special group fares for student and youth groups?

Yes. Individuals traveling as a group for student-related travel in connection with an event authorized by a school or a recognized youth group are charged the student group fare under certain conditions. Generally, 10 or more individuals must travel together as a group in order for the individuals to be eligible for this student group fare. Please consult the Customer Handbook for eligibility requirements.

High-Speed Passenger-Only Ferry Between Hyannis and Nantucket

Can I change or cancel my high-speed passenger-only reservation?

You may change or cancel your reservation in person or by telephone during normal operating hours (or at any time on our website). Reservations cancelled at least two hours before the scheduled departure will be fully refunded. If the reservation was paid for with a ticket from a 10-trip ticket book, we will return a ticket to your ticket book for future use in lieu of a refund.

Can I make a passenger reservation to travel on a particular trip of the high-speed passenger-only ferry?

Yes. In fact, we encourage customers to make such reservations, especially during the summer and other popular times of year, as the high-speed passenger-only ferry between Hyannis and Nantucket often reaches its capacity during those times.

What happens if I simply do not use my high-speed passenger-only reservation?

Unfortunately, no refund can be issued for an unused reservation that was not cancelled or changed with advance notice. However, your ticket will remain valid for travel on a standby basis if it is used within one year from the date the reservation was originally booked. If the reservation was paid for with a ticket from a 10-ride ticket book, we will return a ticket to your ticket book for future use in lieu of a refund. There will be no one-year limitation on that ticket's validity.

When can I make a reservation for the high-speed passenger-only ferry?

Customers may make passenger reservations for our high-speed passenger-only ferry at any time of the year to the extent that we have made such reservations available. Reservations can be made up to two hours before the scheduled departure.

Parking Information

Are parking permits generally available?

We generally have an unlimited number of off-site parking permits in connection with our Woods Hole and Hyannis Terminal operations. However, because of the limited number of parking spaces available at the terminals themselves, we annually issue permits that allow parking at each terminal to customers with physical disabilities (we rely on whether a customer has been issued a handicap license plate to determine whether that person should be issued an on-site terminal parking permit based upon his or her disability).

Click Here to view the Parking Permits page

Are parking permits transferable?

A permit is good for one vehicle only. The permit is only allowed to be transferred from one vehicle to another in certain circumstances, such as when a permitted vehicle is wrecked and/or the customer purchases a new vehicle. In those circumstances, we will impose a fee for the transfer.

Can I obtain a parking permit instead of paying the daily parking rates?

Yes. Customers may purchase parking permits that allow them to park at specific parking lots on the mainland for a flat fee. We allow bona-fide students and teachers to have off-season permits which are valid for a time period that coincides with thier fall/winter semester. We do not offer a Student / Teacher permit during the summer months.

For information on how to purchase Woods Hole/Falmouth parking permits, please call the Steamship Authority’s Parking Lot office at (508) 548-5011, ext. 291. For Hyannis parking permits, please call the Hyannis Parking Lot Office at (508) 771-0418. Click Here to view the Parking Permits page.

I am driving to one of the Steamship Authority’s mainland terminals and then traveling to one of the Islands without my car. Will I be able to park my car at your terminal?

We offer seamless parking with our own parking lots and free shuttle service directly to our terminals. We have a number of parking lots convenient to our terminals, which are opened based on space availability and passenger demand. Current/real-time parking lot information is readily available as you approach the terminals by:

• Calling our parking info lines
• Tuning in to 1610AM
• Visiting our mobile website at m.SteamshipAuthority.com
• Watching for road signs on approaching highways

We strongly recommend that you check current parking availability prior to arriving at a specific parking lot.

For Martha's Vineyard Travelers

Due to space limitations, parking at our Woods Hole Terminal is restricted to Permitted and Handicap patrons only. We strongly recommend utilizing one of our off-site parking facilities as your first and best options. The off-site parking facilities for the Woods Hole Terminal are located in Falmouth (on Palmer Avenue and Gifford Street) and Bourne (on Route 28A in the village of Cataumet during the summer only.) If your car is parked at an off-site parking facility, we provide free shuttle bus service between that facility and the terminal. Current/real-time parking lot information is readily available by logging onto our mobile website at m.steamshipauthority.com, by calling our parking information line at (508) 457-7275 (PARK), or tuning into 1610 AM on your radio.

For Nantucket Travelers

There are limited premium parking as well as handicap spaces, available at our Hyannis Terminal. You may also park in one of our off-site parking facilities located at three addresses in the village of Hyannis (Lewis Bay Road, Yarmouth Road and Brooks Road). If your car is parked at an off-site parking facility, we provide free shuttle bus service between that facility and the terminal. Current/real-time parking lot information is readily available by logging onto our mobile website at m.steamshipauthority.com, by calling our parking information line at (508) 775-7275 (PARK), or tuning into 1610 AM on your radio.

There are also private parking lots within walking distance of our Hyannis Terminal.

What happens if I lose my parking ticket?

If you are unable to present a ticket for collection upon exiting the lot, we will have to charge you an amount equivalent to the aggregate of the charges that you would have incurred for parking in that lot for each calendar day your vehicle has been there, but no less than for a minimum of 7 calendar days. If you later submit your parking ticket showing that your vehicle was not parked in that lot for 7 calendar days, together with the receipt for the 7-day minimum amount you have paid, we will refund you the difference.

What do I do if the parking lot does not have an entrance or exit gate?

Vehicles parked at parking lots that are not equipped with parking ticket dispensers are still subject to parking charges. Upon entering the lot, it is your responsibility to inform the parking lot attendant on duty the number of calendar days (or portions thereof) that your vehicle will be parked there. You will then pay the appropriate parking charges for that time period in advance. Upon payment, the attendant will provide you with a receipt stating the time period for which you have paid.

In the event that you do not remove your vehicle within the time period for which the parking charges have been paid, you will be required to pay all additional parking charges due before you can remove your vehicle from the lot.

Further, we may tow any vehicle left in the lot beyond the time period for which a customer has paid for parking, and may then store the vehicle at any of our other facilities until the customer pays all additional parking charges due. In such an event, we may also require the customer to reimburse us for all reasonable towing and other expenses incurred. 

Can I park at the Nantucket Terminal?

Our Nantucket Terminal has only a few parking spaces for use by our customers. The spaces are made available on a first-come, first-served basis at the discretion of the Nantucket Terminal Manager and/or the Terminal Agent on duty. Parking for the first calendar day (or portion thereof) is free, but thereafter, you must pay parking charges for each subsequent calendar day or portion thereof that your vehicle is parked or stored there.

Can I park at the Vineyard Haven Terminal?

Parking spaces are limited at the Vineyard Haven Terminal and only available for medical emergencies. Should you need to park there for a medical emergency, you should contact the Vineyard Haven Terminal Manager or the Terminal Agent on duty. You may be required to provide documentation of such an emergency before being allowed to use any parking that may be available. You will also be required to pay parking charges for the use of the space.

Can I park at the Oak Bluffs Terminal?

No. There is no parking at the Oak Bluffs Terminal.

What is the charge for parking?

Our daily parking rates vary depending on the time of year and the location of the parking facility. The rate is based on the number of calendar days-or portion thereof-that your vehicle is parked or stored there.

Information for Passengers with Disabilities

Are the Steamship Authority's ferries accessible for passengers with disabilities?

All passenger areas of the following vessels are accessible by elevator for passengers with disabilities: the M/V Eagle, the M/V Island Home, the M/V Martha's Vineyard, and the M/V Nantucket.

While the passenger areas of the following vessels are not entirely accessible by elevator, those that are accessible enable our passengers with disabilities to be provided with all amenities: the M/V Iyanough, the M/V Governor and the M/V Sankaty.

Because none of the passenger areas on the following vessels are accessible by elevator, passengers with disabilities will have limited access to passenger amenities: the M/V Gay Head and the M/V Katama. For more info, check out the Accessibility page.

I have a disability. Is there anything special I should do?

We attempt to accommodate the special reservations needs of customers with disabilities or those who are traveling with someone with a disability. If you require this type of assistance, please contact us so we can discuss your particular situation and review what accommodations we can provide.

If you’ll be traveling with a vehicle reservation and will require assistance because of a disability, our Reservation Office will add this information to your reservation so that our employees at the departure terminal will be alerted to your needs. Similarly, if you’re making your reservation online, you can check a box during the check-out process indicating that you will require assistance boarding a vessel and/or to access to the vessel's elevator. At the time of boarding, our terminal employees will also inform the vessel’s crew of any assistance you will require while aboard the vessel. For more info, check out the Accessibility page.

Does the Steamship Authority have any policies to assist individuals with disabilities?

Yes. We reserve a certain number of parking spaces at each of our terminals for use as handicapped parking spaces.

We also allow the preferential boarding of vehicles of individuals traveling on a standby basis and who must travel with the vehicles due to their disabilities, in accordance with the guidelines set forth in the Customer Handbook.

In certain emergency situations, we also allow the preferential boarding of a customer's vehicle so that an individual can receive emergency medical care on the mainland which is not available on the island, in accordance with the Authority's Emergency Transportation Policy.

Individuals with disabilities who receive a Steamship Authority Transportation Access Pass are eligible for discounted passenger fares. Blind passengers are also eligible to travel for free with proper identification from either the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind or a similar agency from another State. For more info, check out the Accessibility page.

Steamship Authority Security Procedures

Can I bring a firearm or other dangerous article with me on the ferry?

Firearms, other weapons, explosives, incendiaries and other dangerous articles will not be accepted for transportation except as specifically provided in Part J of the Customer Handbook.

Does the Steamship Authority have any security procedures?

Yes. In compliance with the Maritime Transportation Security Act of 2002, we have developed and implemented certain policies to assure the security of our terminals and vessels, as well as the safe sailing for our passengers and crews. Although most of these security measures should not in any way inconvenience you, some will require your cooperation.

For example:

  • Only baggage accompanied by a ticketed passenger is permitted on the luggage carts.
  • Access to our vessels is limited to those individuals with tickets or official Steamship Authority identification.
  • Once boarded, passengers are not permitted to disembark without the Captain’s permission until the vessel has reached its destination. 

Will I be subject to screening?

At our discretion, we may randomly confirm passengers’ identification, and may randomly screen passengers, their belongings and their vehicles. Passengers who refuse to submit to such screening, searches and inspection will not be allowed to board any vessel.

May I travel on the Steamship Authority's ferries with any gasoline, propane or other flammable product?

Motor vehicles and motor boats transported on the Authority’s vessels may have gasoline in their fuel tanks, provided that their gas caps are secured. A motor boat may also have up to two other containers of gasoline not exceeding six gallons capacity each if they are in the motor boat, closed and in good condition, as more fully described in Part L of the Customer Handbook.

One propane tank, acetylene tank or oxygen tank may also be transported by a customer in a vehicle only in compliance with Part L of the Customer Handbook. No customer traveling without a vehicle may carry any gasoline, propane, acetylene or oxygen on board any vessel, unless a passenger needs oxygen for medical reasons.

General Information for Customers Traveling with Their Vehicles

Am I responsible for driving my own vehicle onto and off of the ferry?

Each customer transporting a motor vehicle is required to have a driver available to operate the vehicle at all times while it is on one of our properties or vessels. It is your responsibility to operate your vehicle whenever it is moved under its own power, including driving it on and off the vessel. The Steamship Authority is not responsible in any way for the operation of the customer's motor vehicle. However, on our Hyannis-Nantucket route only, we can provide drive-on/drive-off services subject to certain conditions and for an additional charge.

How do the drive-on/drive-off services work on the Hyannis-Nantucket route?

On the Hyannis-Nantucket route only, if you are unable to have someone on hand to drive your vehicle on or off the vessel, we can provide you with an employee to perform this service, for an additional charge, subject to certain conditions (including the execution of a release and indemnification agreement).

If you have purchased this service, you may remove your vehicle within 24 hours after the vehicle's arrival during the destination terminal’s hours of operation, without incurring any additional parking or storage charges. Vehicles remaining at the destination terminal for more than 24 hours are subject to parking and additional charges. For more information, check out the Fares page.

My vehicle will be pulling a trailer. Are there any ferries that I should avoid traveling on?

Yes. Because customers traveling on the M/V Gay Head, the M/V Katama and the M/V Sankaty are required to back their vehicles on or off those vessels, we strongly discourage vehicles towing trailers (except tractor-trailers) from traveling on those vessels.

Should you decide to travel on any of those vessels with a vehicle towing a trailer, you will be responsible for loading and unloading your vehicle safely and quickly within the normal time constraints of the loading and unloading process. Failure to do so will result in the imposition of a drive-on/drive-off charge, if the Steamship Authority elects to load the vehicle and trailer on your behalf (available on the Hyannis-Nantucket route only) or in a refusal to allow you to board the vessel with your vehicle and trailer. This will result in the forfeiture of your reservation.

My car won't start and I need to transport it off-island for repairs. Can it be towed onto and off of the ferry?

Generally yes. We can provide you with towing/pushing services, where an employee and a vehicle (such as a tow motor) tows or pushes your vehicle onto or off of a ferry at the time of the vessel’s loading or unloading. This service is available for an additional charge and is subject to certain conditions (including the execution of a release and indemnification agreement).

We may refuse to move a vehicle that cannot be loaded onto or unloaded from a ferry under its own power if, for example, the loading of the ferry may be unduly delayed, or if the appropriate equipment is not available to tow, push or transport the vehicle safely.

If you utilize our towing/pushing service, you will be required to immediately remove your vehicle from the terminal upon reaching your destination, or you will be subject to parking and additional charges.

Vehicle Fares

Can I receive a lower vehicle fare if I buy a book of multiple tickets?

Yes. For trips between Woods Hole and Martha’s Vineyard, we sell 10-ride automobile ticket books that significantly lower the fare on a per-ticket basis. The tickets in these books are valid for transportation for one year from the date the ticket book is sold.

For trips between Hyannis and Nantucket, customers have a choice of two types of 6-ride automobile ticket books. One significantly lowers the fare on a per-ticket basis (with the tickets in the book valid for transportation for two years from the date the ticket book is sold). Though the second book is sold at a price that reflects no discount from our regular automobile fare, the tickets in that book have no expiration date. 

The use of all ticket books is restricted to no more than two passenger automobiles, with common ownership and registration numbers that are electronically recorded at the time of the ticket book's issuance. 

How are vehicle fares determined?

Generally, we charge different vehicle fares based upon whether a vehicle is a non-commercial vehicle (which we define as any vehicle that is less than 20 feet in length, designed and equipped primarily for carriage of passengers and not registered as a commercial vehicle) or a commercial vehicle.

Does the Steamship Authority also carry motorcycles and other items?

Yes. Fares for the transportation of motorcycles, bicycles, mopeds, golf carts, surfboards (including wind surfboards), kayaks and other large items are established at our discretion. Tickets for the transportation of such items can be purchased on the day of sailing at any ferry terminal.

What is included in the regular automobile fare?

A regular non-commercial automobile fare is for the transportation of the vehicle only. The fare does not include transportation for the vehicle's driver or any other passengers.

Is every automobile charged the same regular fare?

Automobiles under 17 feet in length are charged the regular fare.  Fare increases are based upon the vehicle’s length over 17 feet. The automobile’s length also includes any load on the vehicle extending beyond the front or rear bumper (including but not limited to a bicycle rack).

Will I pay more if I am towing a trailer?

Yes. We charge an additional fare for any trailer towed by an automobile.

Will I pay more if my vehicle is tall or if I have a container or a bicycle rack on top of my vehicle?

No. However, vehicles over 6 feet, 6 inches in height may be restricted to particular vessels, trips or spaces in vessels.

I am traveling in a camper. Do I pay a normal commercial fare?

No. Although we consider campers to be commercial vehicles, we have established special commercial vehicle fares for certain vehicles such as campers. Usually such special fares are still increased based upon their length and width, but they are generally lower than our normal commercial fares.

What is an excursion fare?

Certain vehicles less than 22 feet in length, originating from either Martha's Vineyard or Nantucket and traveling on a round-trip basis, are eligible for island-to-mainland round-trip excursion fares, under certain conditions. 

Generally, these fares are available only to residents of Martha's Vineyard or Nantucket who are traveling with vehicles registered on either Island. This special fare may not be used for commercial or business purposes in either direction. In addition, individuals traveling on an excursion fare must start and complete their travel within a 31-day period. In other words, they must make their return trip to the Island no later than 30 calendar days after the date of the vehicle’s initial trip from the Island under the ticket’s first segment.

Thus, if an individual leaves the Island on Friday, January 1, he or she must return to the Island by Sunday, January 31, in order for his or her return excursion-fare ticket to be valid. An excursion fare is for the transportation of the vehicle and its load, if any. The fare also includes transportation for up to two adults and two children who are passengers in the automobile. The children must be 12 years of age or younger. No additional passengers are included in the excursion fare. 

Vehicle Reservations

Can I cancel my reservation?

You may cancel a reservation online, by telephone, or in person at our Reservation Office during normal operating hours. 

The value of the cancelled reservation, less applicable charges, will be refunded to you, subject to certain conditions and restrictions:

  • Any reservation made and cancelled on the same day is fully refundable without the payment of any additional processing fee. Otherwise, if the cancellation notice is received at least 14 days in advance of the scheduled departure (or at least 24 hours in advance of the scheduled departure for a commercial vehicle over 20 feet), you will be issued a full refund less a $10.00 processing fee, unless the reservation was previously changed with less than 14 days notice (or with less than 24 hours notice for a commercial vehicle reservation) prior to the previously scheduled departure.
  • No refund will be issued for a reservation cancelled later than 14 days (or later than 24 hours for a commercial vehicle over 20 feet) before the scheduled departure or for a reservation reflecting a change in a previous reservation with less than 14 days notice (or 24 hours notice for a commercial vehicle over 20 feet) prior to the previously scheduled departure.
  • Customers should be aware that pre-paid passenger fares might be eligible for a refund even if the associated vehicle reservation is not. Further, a customer will not be charged any processing fee and/or denied a refund if the reservation is cancelled due to an error on the part of our reservation clerks when making the reservation (but only if we have been notified of the error within 10 days after the reservation confirmation is issued to the customer), or because of a medical emergency or death in the customer's immediate family, or because of a missed connection due to adverse weather conditions, or because of an interruption or lack of boat service as reserved by the customer. 

Can I change my vehicle reservation?

Your vehicle reservation can be changed online, by telephone or in person during our Reservation Office’s normal operating hours, or in person at any of our ferry terminals, whenever those terminals are open.

All changes are subject to certain conditions and restrictions:

  • Reservations may be changed up to one hour before the scheduled departure, with the first date change at no charge. However, your change must be made at least 14 days in advance of the scheduled departure (up to 24 hours in advance of the scheduled departure for commercial vehicle reservations) for the revised reservation to be eligible for a refund if subsequently cancelled.
  • If the reservation date has already has been changed one or more times, you may change the reservation again only upon payment of an additional $10.00 charge. Certain changes are not subject to the above restrictions. For example, you may always change your license plate numbers, add or subtract passengers, and change your reservation to another trip on the same day without any additional charges or penalties.
  • If you wish to change a reservation to another date on which a different fare applies, you will generally have to pay the difference between the new fare and the previous fare.

In the event that your reservation is neither changed with at least one hour advance notice nor used as reserved, no refund shall be issued, although the reservation may be used for standby travel on the date for which the trip was scheduled or at our discretion, on the following day. 

Are there any restrictions on my vehicle reservation?

Yes. Vehicle reservations must be made in the name of the person traveling with the vehicle and are non-transferable from one person to another once made. Vehicle reservations also must be made for a specific vehicle. Inaccurate information about the vehicle traveling could result in the reservation being invalid for transportation and/or the imposition of additional charges.

Can I make a reservation to travel with a vehicle on a particular trip?

Yes, to the extent that space is available. We accept reservations for vehicles on all of our passenger/vehicle ferries and routes. (Some trips, however, may be restricted to vehicles carrying hazardous commodities.) We do not accept passenger reservations for those traveling on any of our passenger/vehicle ferries, as these generally have sufficient capacity for all passengers who arrive to sail on a particular trip.

Do I need a reservation for my motorcycle or bicycle?

Generally, motorcycles, bicycles and mopeds do not require reservations, and tickets for their transportation can be purchased on the day of sailing at any ferry terminal. However, they will be transported only on a space-available basis.

If you are traveling in a group with five or more motorcycles, we encourage you to make reservations to ensure that there will be sufficient space for your motorcycles on the vessel. 

What is a “Profile Account”?

A customer who provides us with certain identifying information will be issued a “Profile Account” number.  You can provide us with this number when making vehicle reservations either online or by telephone.

When can I make a vehicle reservation?

Customers may make reservations for vehicles at any time of the year to the extent we have made spaces available for such reservations. Reservations can be made up to one hour before the requested scheduled departure. For more information, check out the Reservation Openings page.

I am traveling in a rental car. Can I make a reservation even though I don’t yet have any information about the car?

Yes. Customers traveling in rental vehicles may make reservations in their own name. At the time of booking, you should provide as much vehicle information as possible regarding the rental vehicle. You may also use your name instead of a license plate number and for other information necessary to make the reservation. If you prefer, you may provide vehicle information about your own vehicle (as opposed to the rental vehicle). Once you arrive at the departure terminal, our employees can verify that you are the person for whom the reservation has been made. One caution: do not underestimate the length or height of your rental vehicle, as that could result in the forfeiture of your reservation.

Do I need to pay the fares for my passengers at the time I make my vehicle reservation?

No. If you are unsure about of the number of passengers who will be traveling in your party, you may want to pay the fare for the vehicle’s driver only and purchase additional passenger tickets upon arrival at our terminal.

What if I can't get a reservation for the particular trip I want? Does the Authority have a wait list for reservations?

Our computerized reservation system has a wait list capability. If you are unable to make a reservation for your desired date or time, you may request that your reservation be moved to other dates and/or times if they become available.

Do I need to have a written confirmation of my reservation?

Customers need only have their reservation confirmation or reservation number upon checking in at a terminal in the event the terminal employees are unable to confirm their reservations. Customers making reservations online may print copies of their confirmations on their own printers. Customers making reservations by telephone will be told their reservation numbers by our reservation clerks. Customers may also obtain copies of their reservation confirmations at any of our ferry terminals or Reservation Offices (upon presentation of proper identification). A new reservation confirmation (with the same reservation number) will be issued for any change made to a reservation. Although we do not routinely mail reservation confirmations, we will do so upon a customer’s request if the request is received more than 10 calendar days in advance of the scheduled sailing.

What happens if I simply do not use my reservation?

In the event a reservation is neither cancelled with at least 14 days advance notice (or with at least 24 hours advance notice for commercial vehicle over 20 feet), nor changed with at least one hour advance notice, nor used as reserved, no refund shall be issued for the reservation.

In these circumstances, the reservation shall be valid only for standby travel on the date for which the trip was scheduled. At our discretion, the reservation may instead be valid only for standby travel on the following day. In either case, the vehicle shall have no priority over other standby vehicles. 

Preferred Space Reservation Program

What is the Authority's “Preferred Space” Reservation Program?

Our Preferred Space Reservation program allocates a limited number of vehicle spaces to assist island residents traveling back and forth to the mainland for medical and personal needs. This program provides island residents with the opportunity to make reservations to travel either seven days or one day before the date they wish to travel. If any of these allocated spaces are not reserved within the specified time periods, they are transferred back to the pool of spaces available for reservations by the general public.

Who is eligible for the Preferred Space Program?

Any person who is eligible to travel on an Auto Excursion Fare as well as anyone who is a year-round or seasonal resident of Martha's Vineyard or Nantucket is eligible for the Preferred Space program. Check out our 'Ways to Save' for residents page!

Are there any restrictions on the use of Preferred Spaces?

Yes. To travel under the Steamship Authority’s Preferred Space Program, your vehicle must be less than 22 feet in length and listed on your Profile account.

Preferred Space reservations may be used for both segments or either segment of a round-trip originating on one of the Islands, or for a one-way trip originating on one of the Islands.

A person traveling under the Preferred Space Program must use the same vehicle on each segment of a round-trip, unless we specifically approve the customer's use of a different vehicle on the trip's return segment. In addition, travel under the Preferred Space Program may not be used for commercial or business purposes. Preferred Space reservations are non-refundable and non-transferable. 

When do Preferred Space reservations become available?

Available Preferred Space may be reserved as follows:

Travel between Nantucket and Hyannis: At the Nantucket Terminal, reservations can be booked in person only beginning at 6:45 am on the day prior to the island departure date; or online or by calling our Mashpee Reservation Office beginning at 7:30 am on the day prior to the scheduled sailing.

Travel between Martha's Vineyard and Woods Hole: A portion of the available Preferred Spaces are sold beginning at 7:30 am seven days prior to the island departure date, and the remaining portion of the available Preferred Spaces are sold beginning at 7:30 am on the day prior to the island departure date. Such reservations are available online or by calling either our Mashpee Reservation Office or the Martha's Vineyard Airport Reservation Office, or in person at the Island terminals or the Martha's Vineyard Airport Reservation Office. 

Headstart Reservation Program

What is the Steamship Authority's Headstart Reservation Program?

To provide island residents more assistance in traveling back and forth to the mainland for their medical and other daily living needs during the summer season when vehicle reservations are more difficult to obtain, the Headstart Reservation Program provides island residents a short opportunity to make a limited number of reservations for travel during the summer season before most of our remaining spaces are made available for reservations by the general public. After the completion of the Headstart Reservation Program, the remaining spaces for periods during our summer schedules are placed into the pool of spaces available for reservations by the general public.

How many Headstart reservations can I make?

Each eligible customer is allowed to make up to five Headstart vehicle reservations (one-way or round-trip). The reservations may be made in either your own name, or in another person's name. If desired, you may temporarily designate up to three of your Headstart reservations as transferable reservations. This means they will be held under your name until you provide information regarding the specific person (or vehicle) who will be using the reservation.

For these transferable reservations to remain valid,  we must receive the  transfer slip no later than May 15th of that year or thirty (30) days in advance of the scheduled departure of the first segment of the reservation—even if you decide to keep the reservation for your own use. The transfer slip must contain the information regarding the person (or vehicle) using the reservation. Any transferable Headstart reservation for which we have not received a completed transfer slip by the appropriate deadline will be cancelled. In addition, we will assess a $10.00 processing fee for any refund of a cancelled transferable reservation, regardless of when the cancellation is made. 

When do Headstart reservations become available?

Headstart reservations are available to eligible customers who have applied through the mail (addressed to our Mashpee Reservation Office only) or on our website, beginning on a date designated as “Opening Day” –usually during the first week of January.

Who is eligible for the Steamship Authority's Headstart Reservation Program?

If you have registered for our Preferred Space Program, you are also able to use our Headstart Reservation Program.

Customers Traveling with Vehicle Reservations

Are there any circumstances in which other vehicles will be boarded instead of mine even though I have a reservation?

In certain circumstances, an ambulance or a private vehicle may be boarded on a preferential basis, in accordance with the provisions of the Steamship Authority's Emergency Transportation Policy. (Please refer to our Customer Handbook.) In that case, other vehicles with reservations may be bumped from their reserved trips in order to accommodate the ambulance or customer needing to travel on an emergency basis.

In an emergency, the Terminal Agent will first ask for volunteers, informing them when they will be transported if they agree to be bumped from that particular trip. If an insufficient number of customers volunteer to be bumped to meet the emergency situation, the Terminal Agent will then bump the last vehicle(s) which checked in at the terminal for that particular trip.

We will refund each affected customer's one-way fare for both the bumped vehicle and its passengers. Bumped vehicles will have priority for boarding on the next vessel leaving the terminal (except for vessels carrying hazardous cargo), and vehicles bumped as a result from that subsequent trip will similarly be considered as having been bumped due to an emergency situation. 

I have a vehicle reservation for a particular sailing. When should I arrive at the terminal?

If you have a vehicle reservation, you must be at the departure terminal and ready for boarding at least 30 minutes prior to your scheduled departure, with your reservation confirmation and proper identification readily available.

What if I arrive later than 30 minutes before sailing but before the ferry leaves?

Those who arrive later than 30 minutes before the scheduled departure may still be boarded at the Terminal Agent’s discretion. This means that we have not yet completed loading vehicles for that trip and boarding this vehicle will not otherwise affect the loading of the vessel. 

No standby vehicles already selected for boarding will be bumped from a trip to allow the boarding of any late-arriving vehicle with a reservation. 

What happens if I miss the trip for which I have a reservation?

If a customer with a vehicle reservation is not boarded due to a late arrival at the departure terminal, the reserved space will be used for another vehicle, and the customer's vehicle will only be able to travel on a standby basis, on the date for which the reserved trip was scheduled. At our discretion, the customer's vehicle may instead travel on a standby basis the following day. In either case, the vehicle will have no priority over other standby vehicles. 

What happens if my trip is cancelled?

In the event of a disruption in service, customers with reservations on cancelled trips may make new reservations or travel on standby status when service resumes. Customer service is important to us and we will endeavor to help those customers make new reservations at the terminal, even though the general public may not be able to make reservations at that time. In these situations, we will also create a special standby line for customers holding reservations on cancelled trips. When service resumes, we will board vehicles in the order described in the Customer Handbook.

Traveling without Vehicle Reservations on the Martha's Vineyard Route

Can I travel with my vehicle between Woods Hole and Martha's Vineyard without a reservation?

Yes, except during our Reservation Only Periods. Traveling with your vehicle without a reservation is called traveling on a standby basis.


Vehicle travel on a standby basis is not available on the Martha's Vineyard route during the Memorial Day Weekend, the Independence Day Holiday Week, the Labor Day Weekend, the Columbus Day Weekend, and on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays during the summer from late June through Labor Day. For more information about our standby procedures, please click here.

How does standby work on the Martha's Vineyard route?

On days that customers can travel on a standby basis, standby vehicles are generally boarded onto vessels after vehicles with reservations, as long as space is available, in the order of their arrival and check in at the departure terminal. Exceptions are made for customers with disabilities who need to travel with their vehicles, emergency situations, disruptions in service and other unusual circumstances. Standby vehicles that are not transported by the end of the day are required to leave our property when the terminal closes for the night, and they are not given any priority for boarding the following day. For more information about our standby procedures, please click here.

Traveling without Vehicle Reservations on the Nantucket Route

Can I travel with my vehicle between Hyannis and Nantucket without a reservation?

Yes. Standby travel is available on the Nantucket route every day of the year. For more information about our standby procedures, please click here.

How does standby work on the Nantucket route?

Standby vehicles are accepted year-round for travel between Hyannis and Nantucket, though space is limited. If you desire to travel on a standby basis from Hyannis you are required to go in person to the terminal and place your name on the standby list. If you want to travel on a standby basis from Nantucket, you may either call or go in person to the terminal to place your name on the list. At that time, you must provide all pertinent information about your vehicle. 

Your name will be added to our standby list. You will receive a standby slip with your standby number and date. This standby slip contains a telephone number and website link where you can access the terminal's current vehicle standby status as well as the date and time that you should be at the terminal.

Once you receive your standby slip:

Nantucket Terminal:
Unless you are informed that you should remain at the terminal for possible travel on the next scheduled trip, you must depart with your vehicle from the Nantucket Terminal. (No spaces are available to accommodate standby vehicles at that terminal, and therefore there is no physical vehicle standby line there.) You must regularly check our website and/or call the telephone number on your standby slip to find out what time you must return to the terminal for possible travel on a standby basis. It is your responsibility to return to the terminal at the appropriate time, and your failure to do so will result in forfeiting your place and being dropped from the standby list.

Hyannis Terminal:
If the terminal is able to accommodate the parking of standby vehicles of customers using our drive-on/drive-off services, you may leave your vehicle at the terminal and it will be transported on a standby basis on the next available trip. Otherwise, you must depart with your vehicle from the terminal instead of waiting there for the next available trip. You must regularly check our website and/or call the telephone number on your standby slip to find out what time you must return to the terminal, potentially to travel on a standby basis. It is your responsibility to return to the terminal at the appropriate time, and your failure to do so will result in forfeiting your place and being dropped from the standby list.

Customers who are required to return to the terminal at a particular time are not guaranteed travel on the next scheduled trip, as we generally will require more standby customers to return to the terminal than can be accommodated on the next trip. Vehicles traveling on a standby basis are generally boarded onto vessels after vehicles with reservations, as long as space is available, in the order that they have been placed on the standby list. Exceptions are made for customers with disabilities who need to travel with their vehicles, emergency situations, disruptions in service and other unusual circumstances.

General Passenger Information

Passenger Tickets and Fares

Parking Information

Information for Passengers with Disabilities

Steamship Authority Security Procedures

General Information for Customers Traveling with Their Vehicles

Vehicle Fares

Vehicle Reservations

Preferred Space Reservation Program

Headstart Reservation Program

Customers Traveling with Vehicle Reservations

Traveling without Vehicle Reservations on the Martha's Vineyard Route

General Passenger Information

Are there any special precautions I should take while riding on the ferry?

The Steamship Authority has the largest, safest and most seaworthy vessels manned by U.S. Coast Guard-certified crews. However, as with any vessel, you should always conduct yourself with care while on-board and pay particular attention to any children traveling with you. In particular, when a ferry is approaching or docking at a terminal, position yourself as safely as possible so that you are not thrown off balance when the ferry reaches the dock. Please remember, passengers are not allowed to stand on any stairs of a vessel or at the top of any vessel stairwell while it is approaching or docking at a terminal.

Do any passengers have priority in boarding the ferry?

Although the Steamship Authority’s larger ferries will generally have sufficient capacity for all passengers who wish to travel on a particular trip, if the Steamship Authority determines that the vessel’s carrying capacity will be reached before sailing time, passengers traveling in vehicles with reservations have boarding priority over both passengers traveling in standby vehicles and walk-on passengers. In addition, passengers with vehicles traveling on a standby basis have boarding priority over walk-on passengers.

May I bring pets with me on the ferry?

Pets are welcome on board our ferries. Your pets are carried free of charge, but they must be accompanied by the passenger who is responsible for their care and conduct during the passage. Owners are required to clean up after their pets. All pets must be kept on a leash or in a container, and must be under the control of the passenger at all times. No pets (except for service assistance animals) are allowed in any food service area. No pets are allowed on any passenger seat or table.

Can I transport or consume alcoholic beverages aboard the ferry?

Massachusetts law also prohibits passengers from consuming alcoholic beverages aboard any Steamship Authority vessel other than those sold by our licensed concessionaire. Passengers are not allowed to bring alcoholic beverages on or off a vessel except for beverages that they are transporting as personal baggage in unopened containers, which may not be opened while the vessel is underway. Further, the Steamship Authority’s licensed concessionaire may not serve alcoholic beverages to any passenger while the vessel is at dockside or prior to casting off. Nor may alcoholic beverages be served on trips of more than two hours to any passenger within one-half hour before the vessel docks.

Can I smoke cigarettes or cigars on the ferry?

Under Massachusetts law, you are prohibited from smoking anywhere in or upon any Steamship Authority vessel. All smoking materials (including but not limited to matches, cigars, cigarettes and pipes) must be extinguished prior to boarding.

How much baggage may I bring with me on the ferry?

Passengers may travel with their personal baggage, at no additional charge, except for bicycles, surfboards (including wind surfboards) and other large objects for which a fare may be charged. Please note, for security reasons, no baggage may be left unattended or placed on any passenger seat or table. Passengers traveling without vehicles may be required to place some or all of their baggage on luggage carts for the safety and convenience of other passengers. While luggage carts are provided at no additional charge, the Steamship Authority assumes no responsibility for any baggage placed on any luggage carts.

Am I required to make a passenger reservation for the traditional ferry to Nantucket or Martha's Vineyard?

Passenger reservations are not needed for our traditional ferries to Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket. Passengers traveling without a vehicle may purchase their tickets at our terminals on the day of sailing.  

If you are planning to take your vehicle to either island then you are required to make an advance vehicle reservation.

If you are planning to take the high-speed passenger ferry to Nantucket, reservations are recommended especially during peak travel times including holiday weekends and the summer months of July and August.

Do I need a reservation for my bicycle?

No. Bicycles do not require reservations, and tickets for their transportation can be purchased on the day of sailing at the terminal. However, they will be transported only on a space-available basis.

Can children travel on the ferries unaccompanied?

Children under the age of 13 must be accompanied by an adult (a person 13 years of age or older) who is responsible for their care and conduct during the passage.

How do I access the SSA's News, including Board Meeting Summaries, Meeting Notices & Agendas and Invitations for Bids?

To access the SSA's news, including Board Meeting Summaries, Meeting Notices and Agendas and Invitations for Bids, please visit the About section of our website and navigate to the News link. Or simply click this link: https://www.steamshipauthority.com/about/news.

Passenger Tickets and Fares

Can I receive a lower fare if I buy a book of multiple tickets?

Yes. We sell 10-ride ticket books for our traditional ferries to Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket which significantly lower the fare on a per-ticket basis. These 10-ride ticket books are also sold for the high-speed passenger-only ferry between Hyannis and Nantucket.

Are group fares available?

Yes. Generally, 20 or more individuals must travel together as a group in order for the individuals to be eligible for a regular group fare. All individuals in the group must travel together on the same dates, from the same point of origin to the same destination and back. One person in the group must be designated as the individual responsible for picking up the group’s tickets and for coordinating all other aspects of the group’s travel. Please consult the Customer Handbook for eligibility requirements. 

Are there any restrictions on the use of the 10-ride ticket books?

Generally there are no restrictions on the use of these books. Certain ticket books are transferable among passengers, and multiple tickets from the same ticket book may be used for travel for different passengers on the same trip. 10-ride ticket books are valid forever on the Nantucket route, although they are valid on the Martha's Vineyard route for one year from the end of the calendar month that the book is purchased.  Please consult the Customer Handbook to view specific ticket book restrictions.

I have purchased individual passenger tickets at the regular fare. Are there any restrictions on their use?

Passenger tickets are transferable among individuals who are eligible for the fare charged. Generally, each ticket is valid for passage only if used within one year from the date the ticket is sold.

Do you charge the same fares for adults and children?

Individuals who are 13 years of age or over are charged the adult fare; children who are five (5) years of age or over and under thirteen (13) years of age are charged the child fare, unless eligible for a lower fare, but must be accompanied by an adult (a person 13 years of age or older) who is responsible for their care and conduct during the passage.

Is anyone eligible for a discounted fare?

Yes. Senior citizens (age 65 or older) who are residents of Martha's Vineyard, Nantucket, Barnstable or Falmouth are eligible for a senior citizen fare. Other individuals who are eligible for discounted fares include individuals with disabilities with Steamship Authority Transportation Access Passes and legally blind passengers (together with their helper or companion). Under certain circumstances, military and Coast Guard personnel in active service, as well as reservists, are also eligible for discounted fares. Please consult the Customer Handbook for eligibility requirements. 

Does the Steamship Authority have any special group fares for student and youth groups?

Yes. Individuals traveling as a group for student-related travel in connection with an event authorized by a school or a recognized youth group are charged the student group fare under certain conditions. Generally, 10 or more individuals must travel together as a group in order for the individuals to be eligible for this student group fare. Please consult the Customer Handbook for eligibility requirements.

Parking Information

Are parking permits generally available?

We generally have an unlimited number of off-site parking permits in connection with our Woods Hole and Hyannis Terminal operations. However, because of the limited number of parking spaces available at the terminals themselves, we annually issue permits that allow parking at each terminal to customers with physical disabilities (we rely on whether a customer has been issued a handicap license plate to determine whether that person should be issued an on-site terminal parking permit based upon his or her disability).

Click Here to view the Parking Permits page

Are parking permits transferable?

A permit is good for one vehicle only. The permit is only allowed to be transferred from one vehicle to another in certain circumstances, such as when a permitted vehicle is wrecked and/or the customer purchases a new vehicle. In those circumstances, we will impose a fee for the transfer.

Can I obtain a parking permit instead of paying the daily parking rates?

Yes. Customers may purchase parking permits that allow them to park at specific parking lots on the mainland for a flat fee. We allow bona-fide students and teachers to have off-season permits which are valid for a time period that coincides with thier fall/winter semester. We do not offer a Student / Teacher permit during the summer months.

For information on how to purchase Woods Hole/Falmouth parking permits, please call the Steamship Authority’s Parking Lot office at (508) 548-5011, ext. 291. For Hyannis parking permits, please call the Hyannis Parking Lot Office at (508) 771-0418. Click Here to view the Parking Permits page.

I am driving to one of the Steamship Authority’s mainland terminals and then traveling to one of the Islands without my car. Will I be able to park my car at your terminal?

We offer seamless parking with our own parking lots and free shuttle service directly to our terminals. We have a number of parking lots convenient to our terminals, which are opened based on space availability and passenger demand. Current/real-time parking lot information is readily available as you approach the terminals by:

• Calling our parking info lines
• Tuning in to 1610AM
• Visiting our mobile website at m.SteamshipAuthority.com
• Watching for road signs on approaching highways

We strongly recommend that you check current parking availability prior to arriving at a specific parking lot.

For Martha's Vineyard Travelers

Due to space limitations, parking at our Woods Hole Terminal is restricted to Permitted and Handicap patrons only. We strongly recommend utilizing one of our off-site parking facilities as your first and best options. The off-site parking facilities for the Woods Hole Terminal are located in Falmouth (on Palmer Avenue and Gifford Street) and Bourne (on Route 28A in the village of Cataumet during the summer only.) If your car is parked at an off-site parking facility, we provide free shuttle bus service between that facility and the terminal. Current/real-time parking lot information is readily available by logging onto our mobile website at m.steamshipauthority.com, by calling our parking information line at (508) 457-7275 (PARK), or tuning into 1610 AM on your radio.

For Nantucket Travelers

There are limited premium parking as well as handicap spaces, available at our Hyannis Terminal. You may also park in one of our off-site parking facilities located at three addresses in the village of Hyannis (Lewis Bay Road, Yarmouth Road and Brooks Road). If your car is parked at an off-site parking facility, we provide free shuttle bus service between that facility and the terminal. Current/real-time parking lot information is readily available by logging onto our mobile website at m.steamshipauthority.com, by calling our parking information line at (508) 775-7275 (PARK), or tuning into 1610 AM on your radio.

There are also private parking lots within walking distance of our Hyannis Terminal.

What happens if I lose my parking ticket?

If you are unable to present a ticket for collection upon exiting the lot, we will have to charge you an amount equivalent to the aggregate of the charges that you would have incurred for parking in that lot for each calendar day your vehicle has been there, but no less than for a minimum of 7 calendar days. If you later submit your parking ticket showing that your vehicle was not parked in that lot for 7 calendar days, together with the receipt for the 7-day minimum amount you have paid, we will refund you the difference.

What do I do if the parking lot does not have an entrance or exit gate?

Vehicles parked at parking lots that are not equipped with parking ticket dispensers are still subject to parking charges. Upon entering the lot, it is your responsibility to inform the parking lot attendant on duty the number of calendar days (or portions thereof) that your vehicle will be parked there. You will then pay the appropriate parking charges for that time period in advance. Upon payment, the attendant will provide you with a receipt stating the time period for which you have paid.

In the event that you do not remove your vehicle within the time period for which the parking charges have been paid, you will be required to pay all additional parking charges due before you can remove your vehicle from the lot.

Further, we may tow any vehicle left in the lot beyond the time period for which a customer has paid for parking, and may then store the vehicle at any of our other facilities until the customer pays all additional parking charges due. In such an event, we may also require the customer to reimburse us for all reasonable towing and other expenses incurred. 

Can I park at the Oak Bluffs Terminal?

No. There is no parking at the Oak Bluffs Terminal.

Can I park at the Vineyard Haven Terminal?

Parking spaces are limited at the Vineyard Haven Terminal and only available for medical emergencies. Should you need to park there for a medical emergency, you should contact the Vineyard Haven Terminal Manager or the Terminal Agent on duty. You may be required to provide documentation of such an emergency before being allowed to use any parking that may be available. You will also be required to pay parking charges for the use of the space.

What is the charge for parking?

Our daily parking rates vary depending on the time of year and the location of the parking facility. The rate is based on the number of calendar days-or portion thereof-that your vehicle is parked or stored there.

Information for Passengers with Disabilities

Are the Steamship Authority's ferries accessible for passengers with disabilities?

All passenger areas of the following vessels are accessible by elevator for passengers with disabilities: the M/V Eagle, the M/V Island Home, the M/V Martha's Vineyard, and the M/V Nantucket.

While the passenger areas of the following vessels are not entirely accessible by elevator, those that are accessible enable our passengers with disabilities to be provided with all amenities: the M/V Iyanough, the M/V Governor and the M/V Sankaty.

Because none of the passenger areas on the following vessels are accessible by elevator, passengers with disabilities will have limited access to passenger amenities: the M/V Gay Head and the M/V Katama. For more info, check out the Accessibility page.

I have a disability. Is there anything special I should do?

We attempt to accommodate the special reservations needs of customers with disabilities or those who are traveling with someone with a disability. If you require this type of assistance, please contact us so we can discuss your particular situation and review what accommodations we can provide.

If you’ll be traveling with a vehicle reservation and will require assistance because of a disability, our Reservation Office will add this information to your reservation so that our employees at the departure terminal will be alerted to your needs. Similarly, if you’re making your reservation online, you can check a box during the check-out process indicating that you will require assistance boarding a vessel and/or to access to the vessel's elevator. At the time of boarding, our terminal employees will also inform the vessel’s crew of any assistance you will require while aboard the vessel. For more info, check out the Accessibility page.

Does the Steamship Authority have any policies to assist individuals with disabilities?

Yes. We reserve a certain number of parking spaces at each of our terminals for use as handicapped parking spaces.

We also allow the preferential boarding of vehicles of individuals traveling on a standby basis and who must travel with the vehicles due to their disabilities, in accordance with the guidelines set forth in the Customer Handbook.

In certain emergency situations, we also allow the preferential boarding of a customer's vehicle so that an individual can receive emergency medical care on the mainland which is not available on the island, in accordance with the Authority's Emergency Transportation Policy.

Individuals with disabilities who receive a Steamship Authority Transportation Access Pass are eligible for discounted passenger fares. Blind passengers are also eligible to travel for free with proper identification from either the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind or a similar agency from another State. For more info, check out the Accessibility page.

Steamship Authority Security Procedures

Can I bring a firearm or other dangerous article with me on the ferry?

Firearms, other weapons, explosives, incendiaries and other dangerous articles will not be accepted for transportation except as specifically provided in Part J of the Customer Handbook.

Does the Steamship Authority have any security procedures?

Yes. In compliance with the Maritime Transportation Security Act of 2002, we have developed and implemented certain policies to assure the security of our terminals and vessels, as well as the safe sailing for our passengers and crews. Although most of these security measures should not in any way inconvenience you, some will require your cooperation.

For example:

  • Only baggage accompanied by a ticketed passenger is permitted on the luggage carts.
  • Access to our vessels is limited to those individuals with tickets or official Steamship Authority identification.
  • Once boarded, passengers are not permitted to disembark without the Captain’s permission until the vessel has reached its destination. 

Will I be subject to screening?

At our discretion, we may randomly confirm passengers’ identification, and may randomly screen passengers, their belongings and their vehicles. Passengers who refuse to submit to such screening, searches and inspection will not be allowed to board any vessel.

May I travel on the Steamship Authority's ferries with any gasoline, propane or other flammable product?

Motor vehicles and motor boats transported on the Authority’s vessels may have gasoline in their fuel tanks, provided that their gas caps are secured. A motor boat may also have up to two other containers of gasoline not exceeding six gallons capacity each if they are in the motor boat, closed and in good condition, as more fully described in Part L of the Customer Handbook.

One propane tank, acetylene tank or oxygen tank may also be transported by a customer in a vehicle only in compliance with Part L of the Customer Handbook. No customer traveling without a vehicle may carry any gasoline, propane, acetylene or oxygen on board any vessel, unless a passenger needs oxygen for medical reasons.

General Information for Customers Traveling with Their Vehicles

Am I responsible for driving my own vehicle onto and off of the ferry?

Each customer transporting a motor vehicle is required to have a driver available to operate the vehicle at all times while it is on one of our properties or vessels. It is your responsibility to operate your vehicle whenever it is moved under its own power, including driving it on and off the vessel. The Steamship Authority is not responsible in any way for the operation of the customer's motor vehicle. However, on our Hyannis-Nantucket route only, we can provide drive-on/drive-off services subject to certain conditions and for an additional charge.

My vehicle will be pulling a trailer. Are there any ferries that I should avoid traveling on?

Yes. Because customers traveling on the M/V Gay Head, the M/V Katama and the M/V Sankaty are required to back their vehicles on or off those vessels, we strongly discourage vehicles towing trailers (except tractor-trailers) from traveling on those vessels.

Should you decide to travel on any of those vessels with a vehicle towing a trailer, you will be responsible for loading and unloading your vehicle safely and quickly within the normal time constraints of the loading and unloading process. Failure to do so will result in the imposition of a drive-on/drive-off charge, if the Steamship Authority elects to load the vehicle and trailer on your behalf (available on the Hyannis-Nantucket route only) or in a refusal to allow you to board the vessel with your vehicle and trailer. This will result in the forfeiture of your reservation.

My car won't start and I need to transport it off-island for repairs. Can it be towed onto and off of the ferry?

Generally yes. We can provide you with towing/pushing services, where an employee and a vehicle (such as a tow motor) tows or pushes your vehicle onto or off of a ferry at the time of the vessel’s loading or unloading. This service is available for an additional charge and is subject to certain conditions (including the execution of a release and indemnification agreement).

We may refuse to move a vehicle that cannot be loaded onto or unloaded from a ferry under its own power if, for example, the loading of the ferry may be unduly delayed, or if the appropriate equipment is not available to tow, push or transport the vehicle safely.

If you utilize our towing/pushing service, you will be required to immediately remove your vehicle from the terminal upon reaching your destination, or you will be subject to parking and additional charges.

Vehicle Fares

Can I receive a lower vehicle fare if I buy a book of multiple tickets?

Yes. For trips between Woods Hole and Martha’s Vineyard, we sell 10-ride automobile ticket books that significantly lower the fare on a per-ticket basis. The tickets in these books are valid for transportation for one year from the date the ticket book is sold.

For trips between Hyannis and Nantucket, customers have a choice of two types of 6-ride automobile ticket books. One significantly lowers the fare on a per-ticket basis (with the tickets in the book valid for transportation for two years from the date the ticket book is sold). Though the second book is sold at a price that reflects no discount from our regular automobile fare, the tickets in that book have no expiration date. 

The use of all ticket books is restricted to no more than two passenger automobiles, with common ownership and registration numbers that are electronically recorded at the time of the ticket book's issuance. 

How are vehicle fares determined?

Generally, we charge different vehicle fares based upon whether a vehicle is a non-commercial vehicle (which we define as any vehicle that is less than 20 feet in length, designed and equipped primarily for carriage of passengers and not registered as a commercial vehicle) or a commercial vehicle.

Does the Steamship Authority also carry motorcycles and other items?

Yes. Fares for the transportation of motorcycles, bicycles, mopeds, golf carts, surfboards (including wind surfboards), kayaks and other large items are established at our discretion. Tickets for the transportation of such items can be purchased on the day of sailing at any ferry terminal.

What is included in the regular automobile fare?

A regular non-commercial automobile fare is for the transportation of the vehicle only. The fare does not include transportation for the vehicle's driver or any other passengers.

Is every automobile charged the same regular fare?

Automobiles under 17 feet in length are charged the regular fare.  Fare increases are based upon the vehicle’s length over 17 feet. The automobile’s length also includes any load on the vehicle extending beyond the front or rear bumper (including but not limited to a bicycle rack).

Will I pay more if I am towing a trailer?

Yes. We charge an additional fare for any trailer towed by an automobile.

Will I pay more if my vehicle is tall or if I have a container or a bicycle rack on top of my vehicle?

No. However, vehicles over 6 feet, 6 inches in height may be restricted to particular vessels, trips or spaces in vessels.

I am traveling in a camper. Do I pay a normal commercial fare?

No. Although we consider campers to be commercial vehicles, we have established special commercial vehicle fares for certain vehicles such as campers. Usually such special fares are still increased based upon their length and width, but they are generally lower than our normal commercial fares.

What is an excursion fare?

Certain vehicles less than 22 feet in length, originating from either Martha's Vineyard or Nantucket and traveling on a round-trip basis, are eligible for island-to-mainland round-trip excursion fares, under certain conditions. 

Generally, these fares are available only to residents of Martha's Vineyard or Nantucket who are traveling with vehicles registered on either Island. This special fare may not be used for commercial or business purposes in either direction. In addition, individuals traveling on an excursion fare must start and complete their travel within a 31-day period. In other words, they must make their return trip to the Island no later than 30 calendar days after the date of the vehicle’s initial trip from the Island under the ticket’s first segment.

Thus, if an individual leaves the Island on Friday, January 1, he or she must return to the Island by Sunday, January 31, in order for his or her return excursion-fare ticket to be valid. An excursion fare is for the transportation of the vehicle and its load, if any. The fare also includes transportation for up to two adults and two children who are passengers in the automobile. The children must be 12 years of age or younger. No additional passengers are included in the excursion fare. 

Vehicle Reservations

Can I cancel my reservation?

You may cancel a reservation online, by telephone, or in person at our Reservation Office during normal operating hours. 

The value of the cancelled reservation, less applicable charges, will be refunded to you, subject to certain conditions and restrictions:

  • Any reservation made and cancelled on the same day is fully refundable without the payment of any additional processing fee. Otherwise, if the cancellation notice is received at least 14 days in advance of the scheduled departure (or at least 24 hours in advance of the scheduled departure for a commercial vehicle over 20 feet), you will be issued a full refund less a $10.00 processing fee, unless the reservation was previously changed with less than 14 days notice (or with less than 24 hours notice for a commercial vehicle reservation) prior to the previously scheduled departure.
  • No refund will be issued for a reservation cancelled later than 14 days (or later than 24 hours for a commercial vehicle over 20 feet) before the scheduled departure or for a reservation reflecting a change in a previous reservation with less than 14 days notice (or 24 hours notice for a commercial vehicle over 20 feet) prior to the previously scheduled departure.
  • Customers should be aware that pre-paid passenger fares might be eligible for a refund even if the associated vehicle reservation is not. Further, a customer will not be charged any processing fee and/or denied a refund if the reservation is cancelled due to an error on the part of our reservation clerks when making the reservation (but only if we have been notified of the error within 10 days after the reservation confirmation is issued to the customer), or because of a medical emergency or death in the customer's immediate family, or because of a missed connection due to adverse weather conditions, or because of an interruption or lack of boat service as reserved by the customer. 

Can I change my vehicle reservation?

Your vehicle reservation can be changed online, by telephone or in person during our Reservation Office’s normal operating hours, or in person at any of our ferry terminals, whenever those terminals are open.

All changes are subject to certain conditions and restrictions:

  • Reservations may be changed up to one hour before the scheduled departure, with the first date change at no charge. However, your change must be made at least 14 days in advance of the scheduled departure (up to 24 hours in advance of the scheduled departure for commercial vehicle reservations) for the revised reservation to be eligible for a refund if subsequently cancelled.
  • If the reservation date has already has been changed one or more times, you may change the reservation again only upon payment of an additional $10.00 charge. Certain changes are not subject to the above restrictions. For example, you may always change your license plate numbers, add or subtract passengers, and change your reservation to another trip on the same day without any additional charges or penalties.
  • If you wish to change a reservation to another date on which a different fare applies, you will generally have to pay the difference between the new fare and the previous fare.

In the event that your reservation is neither changed with at least one hour advance notice nor used as reserved, no refund shall be issued, although the reservation may be used for standby travel on the date for which the trip was scheduled or at our discretion, on the following day. 

Are there any restrictions on my vehicle reservation?

Yes. Vehicle reservations must be made in the name of the person traveling with the vehicle and are non-transferable from one person to another once made. Vehicle reservations also must be made for a specific vehicle. Inaccurate information about the vehicle traveling could result in the reservation being invalid for transportation and/or the imposition of additional charges.

Can I make a reservation to travel with a vehicle on a particular trip?

Yes, to the extent that space is available. We accept reservations for vehicles on all of our passenger/vehicle ferries and routes. (Some trips, however, may be restricted to vehicles carrying hazardous commodities.) We do not accept passenger reservations for those traveling on any of our passenger/vehicle ferries, as these generally have sufficient capacity for all passengers who arrive to sail on a particular trip.

Do I need a reservation for my motorcycle or bicycle?

Generally, motorcycles, bicycles and mopeds do not require reservations, and tickets for their transportation can be purchased on the day of sailing at any ferry terminal. However, they will be transported only on a space-available basis.

If you are traveling in a group with five or more motorcycles, we encourage you to make reservations to ensure that there will be sufficient space for your motorcycles on the vessel. 

What is a “Profile Account”?

A customer who provides us with certain identifying information will be issued a “Profile Account” number.  You can provide us with this number when making vehicle reservations either online or by telephone.

When can I make a vehicle reservation?

Customers may make reservations for vehicles at any time of the year to the extent we have made spaces available for such reservations. Reservations can be made up to one hour before the requested scheduled departure. For more information, check out the Reservation Openings page.

I am traveling in a rental car. Can I make a reservation even though I don’t yet have any information about the car?

Yes. Customers traveling in rental vehicles may make reservations in their own name. At the time of booking, you should provide as much vehicle information as possible regarding the rental vehicle. You may also use your name instead of a license plate number and for other information necessary to make the reservation. If you prefer, you may provide vehicle information about your own vehicle (as opposed to the rental vehicle). Once you arrive at the departure terminal, our employees can verify that you are the person for whom the reservation has been made. One caution: do not underestimate the length or height of your rental vehicle, as that could result in the forfeiture of your reservation.

Do I need to pay the fares for my passengers at the time I make my vehicle reservation?

No. If you are unsure about of the number of passengers who will be traveling in your party, you may want to pay the fare for the vehicle’s driver only and purchase additional passenger tickets upon arrival at our terminal.

What if I can't get a reservation for the particular trip I want? Does the Authority have a wait list for reservations?

Our computerized reservation system has a wait list capability. If you are unable to make a reservation for your desired date or time, you may request that your reservation be moved to other dates and/or times if they become available.

Do I need to have a written confirmation of my reservation?

Customers need only have their reservation confirmation or reservation number upon checking in at a terminal in the event the terminal employees are unable to confirm their reservations. Customers making reservations online may print copies of their confirmations on their own printers. Customers making reservations by telephone will be told their reservation numbers by our reservation clerks. Customers may also obtain copies of their reservation confirmations at any of our ferry terminals or Reservation Offices (upon presentation of proper identification). A new reservation confirmation (with the same reservation number) will be issued for any change made to a reservation. Although we do not routinely mail reservation confirmations, we will do so upon a customer’s request if the request is received more than 10 calendar days in advance of the scheduled sailing.

What happens if I simply do not use my reservation?

In the event a reservation is neither cancelled with at least 14 days advance notice (or with at least 24 hours advance notice for commercial vehicle over 20 feet), nor changed with at least one hour advance notice, nor used as reserved, no refund shall be issued for the reservation.

In these circumstances, the reservation shall be valid only for standby travel on the date for which the trip was scheduled. At our discretion, the reservation may instead be valid only for standby travel on the following day. In either case, the vehicle shall have no priority over other standby vehicles. 

Preferred Space Reservation Program

What is the Authority's “Preferred Space” Reservation Program?

Our Preferred Space Reservation program allocates a limited number of vehicle spaces to assist island residents traveling back and forth to the mainland for medical and personal needs. This program provides island residents with the opportunity to make reservations to travel either seven days or one day before the date they wish to travel. If any of these allocated spaces are not reserved within the specified time periods, they are transferred back to the pool of spaces available for reservations by the general public.

Who is eligible for the Preferred Space Program?

Any person who is eligible to travel on an Auto Excursion Fare as well as anyone who is a year-round or seasonal resident of Martha's Vineyard or Nantucket is eligible for the Preferred Space program. Check out our 'Ways to Save' for residents page!

Are there any restrictions on the use of Preferred Spaces?

Yes. To travel under the Steamship Authority’s Preferred Space Program, your vehicle must be less than 22 feet in length and listed on your Profile account.

Preferred Space reservations may be used for both segments or either segment of a round-trip originating on one of the Islands, or for a one-way trip originating on one of the Islands.

A person traveling under the Preferred Space Program must use the same vehicle on each segment of a round-trip, unless we specifically approve the customer's use of a different vehicle on the trip's return segment. In addition, travel under the Preferred Space Program may not be used for commercial or business purposes. Preferred Space reservations are non-refundable and non-transferable. 

When do Preferred Space reservations become available?

Available Preferred Space may be reserved as follows:

Travel between Nantucket and Hyannis: At the Nantucket Terminal, reservations can be booked in person only beginning at 6:45 am on the day prior to the island departure date; or online or by calling our Mashpee Reservation Office beginning at 7:30 am on the day prior to the scheduled sailing.

Travel between Martha's Vineyard and Woods Hole: A portion of the available Preferred Spaces are sold beginning at 7:30 am seven days prior to the island departure date, and the remaining portion of the available Preferred Spaces are sold beginning at 7:30 am on the day prior to the island departure date. Such reservations are available online or by calling either our Mashpee Reservation Office or the Martha's Vineyard Airport Reservation Office, or in person at the Island terminals or the Martha's Vineyard Airport Reservation Office. 

Headstart Reservation Program

What is the Steamship Authority's Headstart Reservation Program?

To provide island residents more assistance in traveling back and forth to the mainland for their medical and other daily living needs during the summer season when vehicle reservations are more difficult to obtain, the Headstart Reservation Program provides island residents a short opportunity to make a limited number of reservations for travel during the summer season before most of our remaining spaces are made available for reservations by the general public. After the completion of the Headstart Reservation Program, the remaining spaces for periods during our summer schedules are placed into the pool of spaces available for reservations by the general public.

How many Headstart reservations can I make?

Each eligible customer is allowed to make up to five Headstart vehicle reservations (one-way or round-trip). The reservations may be made in either your own name, or in another person's name. If desired, you may temporarily designate up to three of your Headstart reservations as transferable reservations. This means they will be held under your name until you provide information regarding the specific person (or vehicle) who will be using the reservation.

For these transferable reservations to remain valid,  we must receive the  transfer slip no later than May 15th of that year or thirty (30) days in advance of the scheduled departure of the first segment of the reservation—even if you decide to keep the reservation for your own use. The transfer slip must contain the information regarding the person (or vehicle) using the reservation. Any transferable Headstart reservation for which we have not received a completed transfer slip by the appropriate deadline will be cancelled. In addition, we will assess a $10.00 processing fee for any refund of a cancelled transferable reservation, regardless of when the cancellation is made. 

When do Headstart reservations become available?

Headstart reservations are available to eligible customers who have applied through the mail (addressed to our Mashpee Reservation Office only) or on our website, beginning on a date designated as “Opening Day” –usually during the first week of January.

Who is eligible for the Steamship Authority's Headstart Reservation Program?

If you have registered for our Preferred Space Program, you are also able to use our Headstart Reservation Program.

Customers Traveling with Vehicle Reservations

Are there any circumstances in which other vehicles will be boarded instead of mine even though I have a reservation?

In certain circumstances, an ambulance or a private vehicle may be boarded on a preferential basis, in accordance with the provisions of the Steamship Authority's Emergency Transportation Policy. (Please refer to our Customer Handbook.) In that case, other vehicles with reservations may be bumped from their reserved trips in order to accommodate the ambulance or customer needing to travel on an emergency basis.

In an emergency, the Terminal Agent will first ask for volunteers, informing them when they will be transported if they agree to be bumped from that particular trip. If an insufficient number of customers volunteer to be bumped to meet the emergency situation, the Terminal Agent will then bump the last vehicle(s) which checked in at the terminal for that particular trip.

We will refund each affected customer's one-way fare for both the bumped vehicle and its passengers. Bumped vehicles will have priority for boarding on the next vessel leaving the terminal (except for vessels carrying hazardous cargo), and vehicles bumped as a result from that subsequent trip will similarly be considered as having been bumped due to an emergency situation. 

I have a vehicle reservation for a particular sailing. When should I arrive at the terminal?

If you have a vehicle reservation, you must be at the departure terminal and ready for boarding at least 30 minutes prior to your scheduled departure, with your reservation confirmation and proper identification readily available.

What if I arrive later than 30 minutes before sailing but before the ferry leaves?

Those who arrive later than 30 minutes before the scheduled departure may still be boarded at the Terminal Agent’s discretion. This means that we have not yet completed loading vehicles for that trip and boarding this vehicle will not otherwise affect the loading of the vessel. 

No standby vehicles already selected for boarding will be bumped from a trip to allow the boarding of any late-arriving vehicle with a reservation. 

What happens if I miss the trip for which I have a reservation?

If a customer with a vehicle reservation is not boarded due to a late arrival at the departure terminal, the reserved space will be used for another vehicle, and the customer's vehicle will only be able to travel on a standby basis, on the date for which the reserved trip was scheduled. At our discretion, the customer's vehicle may instead travel on a standby basis the following day. In either case, the vehicle will have no priority over other standby vehicles. 

What happens if my trip is cancelled?

In the event of a disruption in service, customers with reservations on cancelled trips may make new reservations or travel on standby status when service resumes. Customer service is important to us and we will endeavor to help those customers make new reservations at the terminal, even though the general public may not be able to make reservations at that time. In these situations, we will also create a special standby line for customers holding reservations on cancelled trips. When service resumes, we will board vehicles in the order described in the Customer Handbook.

Traveling without Vehicle Reservations on the Martha's Vineyard Route

How does standby work on the Martha's Vineyard route?

On days that customers can travel on a standby basis, standby vehicles are generally boarded onto vessels after vehicles with reservations, as long as space is available, in the order of their arrival and check in at the departure terminal. Exceptions are made for customers with disabilities who need to travel with their vehicles, emergency situations, disruptions in service and other unusual circumstances. Standby vehicles that are not transported by the end of the day are required to leave our property when the terminal closes for the night, and they are not given any priority for boarding the following day. For more information about our standby procedures, please click here.

Can I travel with my vehicle between Woods Hole and Martha's Vineyard without a reservation?

Yes, except during our Reservation Only Periods. Traveling with your vehicle without a reservation is called traveling on a standby basis.


Vehicle travel on a standby basis is not available on the Martha's Vineyard route during the Memorial Day Weekend, the Independence Day Holiday Week, the Labor Day Weekend, the Columbus Day Weekend, and on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays during the summer from late June through Labor Day. For more information about our standby procedures, please click here.

General Passenger Information

Passenger Tickets and Fares

High-Speed Passenger-Only Ferry Between Hyannis and Nantucket

Parking Information

Information for Passengers with Disabilities

Steamship Authority Security Procedures

General Information for Customers Traveling with Their Vehicles

Vehicle Fares

Vehicle Reservations

Preferred Space Reservation Program

Headstart Reservation Program

Customers Traveling with Vehicle Reservations

Traveling without Vehicle Reservations on the Nantucket Route

General Passenger Information

Are there any special precautions I should take while riding on the ferry?

The Steamship Authority has the largest, safest and most seaworthy vessels manned by U.S. Coast Guard-certified crews. However, as with any vessel, you should always conduct yourself with care while on-board and pay particular attention to any children traveling with you. In particular, when a ferry is approaching or docking at a terminal, position yourself as safely as possible so that you are not thrown off balance when the ferry reaches the dock. Please remember, passengers are not allowed to stand on any stairs of a vessel or at the top of any vessel stairwell while it is approaching or docking at a terminal.

Do any passengers have priority in boarding the ferry?

Although the Steamship Authority’s larger ferries will generally have sufficient capacity for all passengers who wish to travel on a particular trip, if the Steamship Authority determines that the vessel’s carrying capacity will be reached before sailing time, passengers traveling in vehicles with reservations have boarding priority over both passengers traveling in standby vehicles and walk-on passengers. In addition, passengers with vehicles traveling on a standby basis have boarding priority over walk-on passengers.

May I bring pets with me on the ferry?

Pets are welcome on board our ferries. Your pets are carried free of charge, but they must be accompanied by the passenger who is responsible for their care and conduct during the passage. Owners are required to clean up after their pets. All pets must be kept on a leash or in a container, and must be under the control of the passenger at all times. No pets (except for service assistance animals) are allowed in any food service area. No pets are allowed on any passenger seat or table.

Can I transport or consume alcoholic beverages aboard the ferry?

Massachusetts law also prohibits passengers from consuming alcoholic beverages aboard any Steamship Authority vessel other than those sold by our licensed concessionaire. Passengers are not allowed to bring alcoholic beverages on or off a vessel except for beverages that they are transporting as personal baggage in unopened containers, which may not be opened while the vessel is underway. Further, the Steamship Authority’s licensed concessionaire may not serve alcoholic beverages to any passenger while the vessel is at dockside or prior to casting off. Nor may alcoholic beverages be served on trips of more than two hours to any passenger within one-half hour before the vessel docks.

Can I smoke cigarettes or cigars on the ferry?

Under Massachusetts law, you are prohibited from smoking anywhere in or upon any Steamship Authority vessel. All smoking materials (including but not limited to matches, cigars, cigarettes and pipes) must be extinguished prior to boarding.

How much baggage may I bring with me on the ferry?

Passengers may travel with their personal baggage, at no additional charge, except for bicycles, surfboards (including wind surfboards) and other large objects for which a fare may be charged. Please note, for security reasons, no baggage may be left unattended or placed on any passenger seat or table. Passengers traveling without vehicles may be required to place some or all of their baggage on luggage carts for the safety and convenience of other passengers. While luggage carts are provided at no additional charge, the Steamship Authority assumes no responsibility for any baggage placed on any luggage carts.

Am I required to make a passenger reservation for the traditional ferry to Nantucket or Martha's Vineyard?

Passenger reservations are not needed for our traditional ferries to Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket. Passengers traveling without a vehicle may purchase their tickets at our terminals on the day of sailing.  

If you are planning to take your vehicle to either island then you are required to make an advance vehicle reservation.

If you are planning to take the high-speed passenger ferry to Nantucket, reservations are recommended especially during peak travel times including holiday weekends and the summer months of July and August.

Do I need a reservation for my bicycle?

No. Bicycles do not require reservations, and tickets for their transportation can be purchased on the day of sailing at the terminal. However, they will be transported only on a space-available basis.

Can children travel on the ferries unaccompanied?

Children under the age of 13 must be accompanied by an adult (a person 13 years of age or older) who is responsible for their care and conduct during the passage.

How do I access the SSA's News, including Board Meeting Summaries, Meeting Notices & Agendas and Invitations for Bids?

To access the SSA's news, including Board Meeting Summaries, Meeting Notices and Agendas and Invitations for Bids, please visit the About section of our website and navigate to the News link. Or simply click this link: https://www.steamshipauthority.com/about/news.

Passenger Tickets and Fares

Can I receive a lower fare if I buy a book of multiple tickets?

Yes. We sell 10-ride ticket books for our traditional ferries to Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket which significantly lower the fare on a per-ticket basis. These 10-ride ticket books are also sold for the high-speed passenger-only ferry between Hyannis and Nantucket.

Are group fares available?

Yes. Generally, 20 or more individuals must travel together as a group in order for the individuals to be eligible for a regular group fare. All individuals in the group must travel together on the same dates, from the same point of origin to the same destination and back. One person in the group must be designated as the individual responsible for picking up the group’s tickets and for coordinating all other aspects of the group’s travel. Please consult the Customer Handbook for eligibility requirements. 

Are there any restrictions on the use of the 10-ride ticket books?

Generally there are no restrictions on the use of these books. Certain ticket books are transferable among passengers, and multiple tickets from the same ticket book may be used for travel for different passengers on the same trip. 10-ride ticket books are valid forever on the Nantucket route, although they are valid on the Martha's Vineyard route for one year from the end of the calendar month that the book is purchased.  Please consult the Customer Handbook to view specific ticket book restrictions.

I have purchased individual passenger tickets at the regular fare. Are there any restrictions on their use?

Passenger tickets are transferable among individuals who are eligible for the fare charged. Generally, each ticket is valid for passage only if used within one year from the date the ticket is sold.

Do you charge the same fares for adults and children?

Individuals who are 13 years of age or over are charged the adult fare; children who are five (5) years of age or over and under thirteen (13) years of age are charged the child fare, unless eligible for a lower fare, but must be accompanied by an adult (a person 13 years of age or older) who is responsible for their care and conduct during the passage.

Is anyone eligible for a discounted fare?

Yes. Senior citizens (age 65 or older) who are residents of Martha's Vineyard, Nantucket, Barnstable or Falmouth are eligible for a senior citizen fare. Other individuals who are eligible for discounted fares include individuals with disabilities with Steamship Authority Transportation Access Passes and legally blind passengers (together with their helper or companion). Under certain circumstances, military and Coast Guard personnel in active service, as well as reservists, are also eligible for discounted fares. Please consult the Customer Handbook for eligibility requirements. 

Does the Steamship Authority have any special group fares for student and youth groups?

Yes. Individuals traveling as a group for student-related travel in connection with an event authorized by a school or a recognized youth group are charged the student group fare under certain conditions. Generally, 10 or more individuals must travel together as a group in order for the individuals to be eligible for this student group fare. Please consult the Customer Handbook for eligibility requirements.

High-Speed Passenger-Only Ferry Between Hyannis and Nantucket

Can I make a passenger reservation to travel on a particular trip of the high-speed passenger-only ferry?

Yes. In fact, we encourage customers to make such reservations, especially during the summer and other popular times of year, as the high-speed passenger-only ferry between Hyannis and Nantucket often reaches its capacity during those times.

Can I change or cancel my high-speed passenger-only reservation?

You may change or cancel your reservation in person or by telephone during normal operating hours (or at any time on our website). Reservations cancelled at least two hours before the scheduled departure will be fully refunded. If the reservation was paid for with a ticket from a 10-trip ticket book, we will return a ticket to your ticket book for future use in lieu of a refund.

When can I make a reservation for the high-speed passenger-only ferry?

Customers may make passenger reservations for our high-speed passenger-only ferry at any time of the year to the extent that we have made such reservations available. Reservations can be made up to two hours before the scheduled departure.

What happens if I simply do not use my high-speed passenger-only reservation?

Unfortunately, no refund can be issued for an unused reservation that was not cancelled or changed with advance notice. However, your ticket will remain valid for travel on a standby basis if it is used within one year from the date the reservation was originally booked. If the reservation was paid for with a ticket from a 10-ride ticket book, we will return a ticket to your ticket book for future use in lieu of a refund. There will be no one-year limitation on that ticket's validity.

Parking Information

Are parking permits generally available?

We generally have an unlimited number of off-site parking permits in connection with our Woods Hole and Hyannis Terminal operations. However, because of the limited number of parking spaces available at the terminals themselves, we annually issue permits that allow parking at each terminal to customers with physical disabilities (we rely on whether a customer has been issued a handicap license plate to determine whether that person should be issued an on-site terminal parking permit based upon his or her disability).

Click Here to view the Parking Permits page

Are parking permits transferable?

A permit is good for one vehicle only. The permit is only allowed to be transferred from one vehicle to another in certain circumstances, such as when a permitted vehicle is wrecked and/or the customer purchases a new vehicle. In those circumstances, we will impose a fee for the transfer.

Can I obtain a parking permit instead of paying the daily parking rates?

Yes. Customers may purchase parking permits that allow them to park at specific parking lots on the mainland for a flat fee. We allow bona-fide students and teachers to have off-season permits which are valid for a time period that coincides with thier fall/winter semester. We do not offer a Student / Teacher permit during the summer months.

For information on how to purchase Woods Hole/Falmouth parking permits, please call the Steamship Authority’s Parking Lot office at (508) 548-5011, ext. 291. For Hyannis parking permits, please call the Hyannis Parking Lot Office at (508) 771-0418. Click Here to view the Parking Permits page.

Can I park at the Nantucket Terminal?

Our Nantucket Terminal has only a few parking spaces for use by our customers. The spaces are made available on a first-come, first-served basis at the discretion of the Nantucket Terminal Manager and/or the Terminal Agent on duty. Parking for the first calendar day (or portion thereof) is free, but thereafter, you must pay parking charges for each subsequent calendar day or portion thereof that your vehicle is parked or stored there.

I am driving to one of the Steamship Authority’s mainland terminals and then traveling to one of the Islands without my car. Will I be able to park my car at your terminal?

We offer seamless parking with our own parking lots and free shuttle service directly to our terminals. We have a number of parking lots convenient to our terminals, which are opened based on space availability and passenger demand. Current/real-time parking lot information is readily available as you approach the terminals by:

• Calling our parking info lines
• Tuning in to 1610AM
• Visiting our mobile website at m.SteamshipAuthority.com
• Watching for road signs on approaching highways

We strongly recommend that you check current parking availability prior to arriving at a specific parking lot.

For Martha's Vineyard Travelers

Due to space limitations, parking at our Woods Hole Terminal is restricted to Permitted and Handicap patrons only. We strongly recommend utilizing one of our off-site parking facilities as your first and best options. The off-site parking facilities for the Woods Hole Terminal are located in Falmouth (on Palmer Avenue and Gifford Street) and Bourne (on Route 28A in the village of Cataumet during the summer only.) If your car is parked at an off-site parking facility, we provide free shuttle bus service between that facility and the terminal. Current/real-time parking lot information is readily available by logging onto our mobile website at m.steamshipauthority.com, by calling our parking information line at (508) 457-7275 (PARK), or tuning into 1610 AM on your radio.

For Nantucket Travelers

There are limited premium parking as well as handicap spaces, available at our Hyannis Terminal. You may also park in one of our off-site parking facilities located at three addresses in the village of Hyannis (Lewis Bay Road, Yarmouth Road and Brooks Road). If your car is parked at an off-site parking facility, we provide free shuttle bus service between that facility and the terminal. Current/real-time parking lot information is readily available by logging onto our mobile website at m.steamshipauthority.com, by calling our parking information line at (508) 775-7275 (PARK), or tuning into 1610 AM on your radio.

There are also private parking lots within walking distance of our Hyannis Terminal.

What happens if I lose my parking ticket?

If you are unable to present a ticket for collection upon exiting the lot, we will have to charge you an amount equivalent to the aggregate of the charges that you would have incurred for parking in that lot for each calendar day your vehicle has been there, but no less than for a minimum of 7 calendar days. If you later submit your parking ticket showing that your vehicle was not parked in that lot for 7 calendar days, together with the receipt for the 7-day minimum amount you have paid, we will refund you the difference.

What do I do if the parking lot does not have an entrance or exit gate?

Vehicles parked at parking lots that are not equipped with parking ticket dispensers are still subject to parking charges. Upon entering the lot, it is your responsibility to inform the parking lot attendant on duty the number of calendar days (or portions thereof) that your vehicle will be parked there. You will then pay the appropriate parking charges for that time period in advance. Upon payment, the attendant will provide you with a receipt stating the time period for which you have paid.

In the event that you do not remove your vehicle within the time period for which the parking charges have been paid, you will be required to pay all additional parking charges due before you can remove your vehicle from the lot.

Further, we may tow any vehicle left in the lot beyond the time period for which a customer has paid for parking, and may then store the vehicle at any of our other facilities until the customer pays all additional parking charges due. In such an event, we may also require the customer to reimburse us for all reasonable towing and other expenses incurred. 

What is the charge for parking?

Our daily parking rates vary depending on the time of year and the location of the parking facility. The rate is based on the number of calendar days-or portion thereof-that your vehicle is parked or stored there.

What is the charge for parking?

Our daily parking rates vary depending on the time of year and the location of the parking facility. The rate is based on the number of calendar days-or portion thereof-that your vehicle is parked or stored there.

What is the charge for parking?

Our daily parking rates vary depending on the time of year and the location of the parking facility. The rate is based on the number of calendar days-or portion thereof-that your vehicle is parked or stored there.

What is the charge for parking?

Our daily parking rates vary depending on the time of year and the location of the parking facility. The rate is based on the number of calendar days-or portion thereof-that your vehicle is parked or stored there.

What is the charge for parking?

Our daily parking rates vary depending on the time of year and the location of the parking facility. The rate is based on the number of calendar days-or portion thereof-that your vehicle is parked or stored there.

What is the charge for parking?

Our daily parking rates vary depending on the time of year and the location of the parking facility. The rate is based on the number of calendar days-or portion thereof-that your vehicle is parked or stored there.

What is the charge for parking?

Our daily parking rates vary depending on the time of year and the location of the parking facility. The rate is based on the number of calendar days-or portion thereof-that your vehicle is parked or stored there.

What is the charge for parking?

Our daily parking rates vary depending on the time of year and the location of the parking facility. The rate is based on the number of calendar days-or portion thereof-that your vehicle is parked or stored there.

What is the charge for parking?

Our daily parking rates vary depending on the time of year and the location of the parking facility. The rate is based on the number of calendar days-or portion thereof-that your vehicle is parked or stored there.

What is the charge for parking?

Our daily parking rates vary depending on the time of year and the location of the parking facility. The rate is based on the number of calendar days-or portion thereof-that your vehicle is parked or stored there.

What is the charge for parking?

Our daily parking rates vary depending on the time of year and the location of the parking facility. The rate is based on the number of calendar days-or portion thereof-that your vehicle is parked or stored there.

What is the charge for parking?

Our daily parking rates vary depending on the time of year and the location of the parking facility. The rate is based on the number of calendar days-or portion thereof-that your vehicle is parked or stored there.

What is the charge for parking?

Our daily parking rates vary depending on the time of year and the location of the parking facility. The rate is based on the number of calendar days-or portion thereof-that your vehicle is parked or stored there.

What is the charge for parking?

Our daily parking rates vary depending on the time of year and the location of the parking facility. The rate is based on the number of calendar days-or portion thereof-that your vehicle is parked or stored there.

Information for Passengers with Disabilities

Are the Steamship Authority's ferries accessible for passengers with disabilities?

All passenger areas of the following vessels are accessible by elevator for passengers with disabilities: the M/V Eagle, the M/V Island Home, the M/V Martha's Vineyard, and the M/V Nantucket.

While the passenger areas of the following vessels are not entirely accessible by elevator, those that are accessible enable our passengers with disabilities to be provided with all amenities: the M/V Iyanough, the M/V Governor and the M/V Sankaty.

Because none of the passenger areas on the following vessels are accessible by elevator, passengers with disabilities will have limited access to passenger amenities: the M/V Gay Head and the M/V Katama. For more info, check out the Accessibility page.

I have a disability. Is there anything special I should do?

We attempt to accommodate the special reservations needs of customers with disabilities or those who are traveling with someone with a disability. If you require this type of assistance, please contact us so we can discuss your particular situation and review what accommodations we can provide.

If you’ll be traveling with a vehicle reservation and will require assistance because of a disability, our Reservation Office will add this information to your reservation so that our employees at the departure terminal will be alerted to your needs. Similarly, if you’re making your reservation online, you can check a box during the check-out process indicating that you will require assistance boarding a vessel and/or to access to the vessel's elevator. At the time of boarding, our terminal employees will also inform the vessel’s crew of any assistance you will require while aboard the vessel. For more info, check out the Accessibility page.

Does the Steamship Authority have any policies to assist individuals with disabilities?

Yes. We reserve a certain number of parking spaces at each of our terminals for use as handicapped parking spaces.

We also allow the preferential boarding of vehicles of individuals traveling on a standby basis and who must travel with the vehicles due to their disabilities, in accordance with the guidelines set forth in the Customer Handbook.

In certain emergency situations, we also allow the preferential boarding of a customer's vehicle so that an individual can receive emergency medical care on the mainland which is not available on the island, in accordance with the Authority's Emergency Transportation Policy.

Individuals with disabilities who receive a Steamship Authority Transportation Access Pass are eligible for discounted passenger fares. Blind passengers are also eligible to travel for free with proper identification from either the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind or a similar agency from another State. For more info, check out the Accessibility page.

Steamship Authority Security Procedures

Can I bring a firearm or other dangerous article with me on the ferry?

Firearms, other weapons, explosives, incendiaries and other dangerous articles will not be accepted for transportation except as specifically provided in Part J of the Customer Handbook.

Does the Steamship Authority have any security procedures?

Yes. In compliance with the Maritime Transportation Security Act of 2002, we have developed and implemented certain policies to assure the security of our terminals and vessels, as well as the safe sailing for our passengers and crews. Although most of these security measures should not in any way inconvenience you, some will require your cooperation.

For example:

  • Only baggage accompanied by a ticketed passenger is permitted on the luggage carts.
  • Access to our vessels is limited to those individuals with tickets or official Steamship Authority identification.
  • Once boarded, passengers are not permitted to disembark without the Captain’s permission until the vessel has reached its destination. 

Will I be subject to screening?

At our discretion, we may randomly confirm passengers’ identification, and may randomly screen passengers, their belongings and their vehicles. Passengers who refuse to submit to such screening, searches and inspection will not be allowed to board any vessel.

May I travel on the Steamship Authority's ferries with any gasoline, propane or other flammable product?

Motor vehicles and motor boats transported on the Authority’s vessels may have gasoline in their fuel tanks, provided that their gas caps are secured. A motor boat may also have up to two other containers of gasoline not exceeding six gallons capacity each if they are in the motor boat, closed and in good condition, as more fully described in Part L of the Customer Handbook.

One propane tank, acetylene tank or oxygen tank may also be transported by a customer in a vehicle only in compliance with Part L of the Customer Handbook. No customer traveling without a vehicle may carry any gasoline, propane, acetylene or oxygen on board any vessel, unless a passenger needs oxygen for medical reasons.

General Information for Customers Traveling with Their Vehicles

Am I responsible for driving my own vehicle onto and off of the ferry?

Each customer transporting a motor vehicle is required to have a driver available to operate the vehicle at all times while it is on one of our properties or vessels. It is your responsibility to operate your vehicle whenever it is moved under its own power, including driving it on and off the vessel. The Steamship Authority is not responsible in any way for the operation of the customer's motor vehicle. However, on our Hyannis-Nantucket route only, we can provide drive-on/drive-off services subject to certain conditions and for an additional charge.

How do the drive-on/drive-off services work on the Hyannis-Nantucket route?

On the Hyannis-Nantucket route only, if you are unable to have someone on hand to drive your vehicle on or off the vessel, we can provide you with an employee to perform this service, for an additional charge, subject to certain conditions (including the execution of a release and indemnification agreement).

If you have purchased this service, you may remove your vehicle within 24 hours after the vehicle's arrival during the destination terminal’s hours of operation, without incurring any additional parking or storage charges. Vehicles remaining at the destination terminal for more than 24 hours are subject to parking and additional charges. For more information, check out the Fares page.

My vehicle will be pulling a trailer. Are there any ferries that I should avoid traveling on?

Yes. Because customers traveling on the M/V Gay Head, the M/V Katama and the M/V Sankaty are required to back their vehicles on or off those vessels, we strongly discourage vehicles towing trailers (except tractor-trailers) from traveling on those vessels.

Should you decide to travel on any of those vessels with a vehicle towing a trailer, you will be responsible for loading and unloading your vehicle safely and quickly within the normal time constraints of the loading and unloading process. Failure to do so will result in the imposition of a drive-on/drive-off charge, if the Steamship Authority elects to load the vehicle and trailer on your behalf (available on the Hyannis-Nantucket route only) or in a refusal to allow you to board the vessel with your vehicle and trailer. This will result in the forfeiture of your reservation.

My car won't start and I need to transport it off-island for repairs. Can it be towed onto and off of the ferry?

Generally yes. We can provide you with towing/pushing services, where an employee and a vehicle (such as a tow motor) tows or pushes your vehicle onto or off of a ferry at the time of the vessel’s loading or unloading. This service is available for an additional charge and is subject to certain conditions (including the execution of a release and indemnification agreement).

We may refuse to move a vehicle that cannot be loaded onto or unloaded from a ferry under its own power if, for example, the loading of the ferry may be unduly delayed, or if the appropriate equipment is not available to tow, push or transport the vehicle safely.

If you utilize our towing/pushing service, you will be required to immediately remove your vehicle from the terminal upon reaching your destination, or you will be subject to parking and additional charges.

Vehicle Fares

Can I receive a lower vehicle fare if I buy a book of multiple tickets?

Yes. For trips between Woods Hole and Martha’s Vineyard, we sell 10-ride automobile ticket books that significantly lower the fare on a per-ticket basis. The tickets in these books are valid for transportation for one year from the date the ticket book is sold.

For trips between Hyannis and Nantucket, customers have a choice of two types of 6-ride automobile ticket books. One significantly lowers the fare on a per-ticket basis (with the tickets in the book valid for transportation for two years from the date the ticket book is sold). Though the second book is sold at a price that reflects no discount from our regular automobile fare, the tickets in that book have no expiration date. 

The use of all ticket books is restricted to no more than two passenger automobiles, with common ownership and registration numbers that are electronically recorded at the time of the ticket book's issuance. 

How are vehicle fares determined?

Generally, we charge different vehicle fares based upon whether a vehicle is a non-commercial vehicle (which we define as any vehicle that is less than 20 feet in length, designed and equipped primarily for carriage of passengers and not registered as a commercial vehicle) or a commercial vehicle.

Does the Steamship Authority also carry motorcycles and other items?

Yes. Fares for the transportation of motorcycles, bicycles, mopeds, golf carts, surfboards (including wind surfboards), kayaks and other large items are established at our discretion. Tickets for the transportation of such items can be purchased on the day of sailing at any ferry terminal.

What is included in the regular automobile fare?

A regular non-commercial automobile fare is for the transportation of the vehicle only. The fare does not include transportation for the vehicle's driver or any other passengers.

Is every automobile charged the same regular fare?

Automobiles under 17 feet in length are charged the regular fare.  Fare increases are based upon the vehicle’s length over 17 feet. The automobile’s length also includes any load on the vehicle extending beyond the front or rear bumper (including but not limited to a bicycle rack).

Will I pay more if I am towing a trailer?

Yes. We charge an additional fare for any trailer towed by an automobile.

Will I pay more if my vehicle is tall or if I have a container or a bicycle rack on top of my vehicle?

No. However, vehicles over 6 feet, 6 inches in height may be restricted to particular vessels, trips or spaces in vessels.

I am traveling in a camper. Do I pay a normal commercial fare?

No. Although we consider campers to be commercial vehicles, we have established special commercial vehicle fares for certain vehicles such as campers. Usually such special fares are still increased based upon their length and width, but they are generally lower than our normal commercial fares.

What is an excursion fare?

Certain vehicles less than 22 feet in length, originating from either Martha's Vineyard or Nantucket and traveling on a round-trip basis, are eligible for island-to-mainland round-trip excursion fares, under certain conditions. 

Generally, these fares are available only to residents of Martha's Vineyard or Nantucket who are traveling with vehicles registered on either Island. This special fare may not be used for commercial or business purposes in either direction. In addition, individuals traveling on an excursion fare must start and complete their travel within a 31-day period. In other words, they must make their return trip to the Island no later than 30 calendar days after the date of the vehicle’s initial trip from the Island under the ticket’s first segment.

Thus, if an individual leaves the Island on Friday, January 1, he or she must return to the Island by Sunday, January 31, in order for his or her return excursion-fare ticket to be valid. An excursion fare is for the transportation of the vehicle and its load, if any. The fare also includes transportation for up to two adults and two children who are passengers in the automobile. The children must be 12 years of age or younger. No additional passengers are included in the excursion fare. 

Vehicle Reservations

Can I cancel my reservation?

You may cancel a reservation online, by telephone, or in person at our Reservation Office during normal operating hours. 

The value of the cancelled reservation, less applicable charges, will be refunded to you, subject to certain conditions and restrictions:

  • Any reservation made and cancelled on the same day is fully refundable without the payment of any additional processing fee. Otherwise, if the cancellation notice is received at least 14 days in advance of the scheduled departure (or at least 24 hours in advance of the scheduled departure for a commercial vehicle over 20 feet), you will be issued a full refund less a $10.00 processing fee, unless the reservation was previously changed with less than 14 days notice (or with less than 24 hours notice for a commercial vehicle reservation) prior to the previously scheduled departure.
  • No refund will be issued for a reservation cancelled later than 14 days (or later than 24 hours for a commercial vehicle over 20 feet) before the scheduled departure or for a reservation reflecting a change in a previous reservation with less than 14 days notice (or 24 hours notice for a commercial vehicle over 20 feet) prior to the previously scheduled departure.
  • Customers should be aware that pre-paid passenger fares might be eligible for a refund even if the associated vehicle reservation is not. Further, a customer will not be charged any processing fee and/or denied a refund if the reservation is cancelled due to an error on the part of our reservation clerks when making the reservation (but only if we have been notified of the error within 10 days after the reservation confirmation is issued to the customer), or because of a medical emergency or death in the customer's immediate family, or because of a missed connection due to adverse weather conditions, or because of an interruption or lack of boat service as reserved by the customer. 

Can I change my vehicle reservation?

Your vehicle reservation can be changed online, by telephone or in person during our Reservation Office’s normal operating hours, or in person at any of our ferry terminals, whenever those terminals are open.

All changes are subject to certain conditions and restrictions:

  • Reservations may be changed up to one hour before the scheduled departure, with the first date change at no charge. However, your change must be made at least 14 days in advance of the scheduled departure (up to 24 hours in advance of the scheduled departure for commercial vehicle reservations) for the revised reservation to be eligible for a refund if subsequently cancelled.
  • If the reservation date has already has been changed one or more times, you may change the reservation again only upon payment of an additional $10.00 charge. Certain changes are not subject to the above restrictions. For example, you may always change your license plate numbers, add or subtract passengers, and change your reservation to another trip on the same day without any additional charges or penalties.
  • If you wish to change a reservation to another date on which a different fare applies, you will generally have to pay the difference between the new fare and the previous fare.

In the event that your reservation is neither changed with at least one hour advance notice nor used as reserved, no refund shall be issued, although the reservation may be used for standby travel on the date for which the trip was scheduled or at our discretion, on the following day. 

Are there any restrictions on my vehicle reservation?

Yes. Vehicle reservations must be made in the name of the person traveling with the vehicle and are non-transferable from one person to another once made. Vehicle reservations also must be made for a specific vehicle. Inaccurate information about the vehicle traveling could result in the reservation being invalid for transportation and/or the imposition of additional charges.

Can I make a reservation to travel with a vehicle on a particular trip?

Yes, to the extent that space is available. We accept reservations for vehicles on all of our passenger/vehicle ferries and routes. (Some trips, however, may be restricted to vehicles carrying hazardous commodities.) We do not accept passenger reservations for those traveling on any of our passenger/vehicle ferries, as these generally have sufficient capacity for all passengers who arrive to sail on a particular trip.

Do I need a reservation for my motorcycle or bicycle?

Generally, motorcycles, bicycles and mopeds do not require reservations, and tickets for their transportation can be purchased on the day of sailing at any ferry terminal. However, they will be transported only on a space-available basis.

If you are traveling in a group with five or more motorcycles, we encourage you to make reservations to ensure that there will be sufficient space for your motorcycles on the vessel. 

What is a “Profile Account”?

A customer who provides us with certain identifying information will be issued a “Profile Account” number.  You can provide us with this number when making vehicle reservations either online or by telephone.

When can I make a vehicle reservation?

Customers may make reservations for vehicles at any time of the year to the extent we have made spaces available for such reservations. Reservations can be made up to one hour before the requested scheduled departure. For more information, check out the Reservation Openings page.

I am traveling in a rental car. Can I make a reservation even though I don’t yet have any information about the car?

Yes. Customers traveling in rental vehicles may make reservations in their own name. At the time of booking, you should provide as much vehicle information as possible regarding the rental vehicle. You may also use your name instead of a license plate number and for other information necessary to make the reservation. If you prefer, you may provide vehicle information about your own vehicle (as opposed to the rental vehicle). Once you arrive at the departure terminal, our employees can verify that you are the person for whom the reservation has been made. One caution: do not underestimate the length or height of your rental vehicle, as that could result in the forfeiture of your reservation.

Do I need to pay the fares for my passengers at the time I make my vehicle reservation?

No. If you are unsure about of the number of passengers who will be traveling in your party, you may want to pay the fare for the vehicle’s driver only and purchase additional passenger tickets upon arrival at our terminal.

What if I can't get a reservation for the particular trip I want? Does the Authority have a wait list for reservations?

Our computerized reservation system has a wait list capability. If you are unable to make a reservation for your desired date or time, you may request that your reservation be moved to other dates and/or times if they become available.

Do I need to have a written confirmation of my reservation?

Customers need only have their reservation confirmation or reservation number upon checking in at a terminal in the event the terminal employees are unable to confirm their reservations. Customers making reservations online may print copies of their confirmations on their own printers. Customers making reservations by telephone will be told their reservation numbers by our reservation clerks. Customers may also obtain copies of their reservation confirmations at any of our ferry terminals or Reservation Offices (upon presentation of proper identification). A new reservation confirmation (with the same reservation number) will be issued for any change made to a reservation. Although we do not routinely mail reservation confirmations, we will do so upon a customer’s request if the request is received more than 10 calendar days in advance of the scheduled sailing.

What happens if I simply do not use my reservation?

In the event a reservation is neither cancelled with at least 14 days advance notice (or with at least 24 hours advance notice for commercial vehicle over 20 feet), nor changed with at least one hour advance notice, nor used as reserved, no refund shall be issued for the reservation.

In these circumstances, the reservation shall be valid only for standby travel on the date for which the trip was scheduled. At our discretion, the reservation may instead be valid only for standby travel on the following day. In either case, the vehicle shall have no priority over other standby vehicles. 

Preferred Space Reservation Program

What is the Authority's “Preferred Space” Reservation Program?

Our Preferred Space Reservation program allocates a limited number of vehicle spaces to assist island residents traveling back and forth to the mainland for medical and personal needs. This program provides island residents with the opportunity to make reservations to travel either seven days or one day before the date they wish to travel. If any of these allocated spaces are not reserved within the specified time periods, they are transferred back to the pool of spaces available for reservations by the general public.

Who is eligible for the Preferred Space Program?

Any person who is eligible to travel on an Auto Excursion Fare as well as anyone who is a year-round or seasonal resident of Martha's Vineyard or Nantucket is eligible for the Preferred Space program. Check out our 'Ways to Save' for residents page!

Are there any restrictions on the use of Preferred Spaces?

Yes. To travel under the Steamship Authority’s Preferred Space Program, your vehicle must be less than 22 feet in length and listed on your Profile account.

Preferred Space reservations may be used for both segments or either segment of a round-trip originating on one of the Islands, or for a one-way trip originating on one of the Islands.

A person traveling under the Preferred Space Program must use the same vehicle on each segment of a round-trip, unless we specifically approve the customer's use of a different vehicle on the trip's return segment. In addition, travel under the Preferred Space Program may not be used for commercial or business purposes. Preferred Space reservations are non-refundable and non-transferable. 

When do Preferred Space reservations become available?

Available Preferred Space may be reserved as follows:

Travel between Nantucket and Hyannis: At the Nantucket Terminal, reservations can be booked in person only beginning at 6:45 am on the day prior to the island departure date; or online or by calling our Mashpee Reservation Office beginning at 7:30 am on the day prior to the scheduled sailing.

Travel between Martha's Vineyard and Woods Hole: A portion of the available Preferred Spaces are sold beginning at 7:30 am seven days prior to the island departure date, and the remaining portion of the available Preferred Spaces are sold beginning at 7:30 am on the day prior to the island departure date. Such reservations are available online or by calling either our Mashpee Reservation Office or the Martha's Vineyard Airport Reservation Office, or in person at the Island terminals or the Martha's Vineyard Airport Reservation Office. 

Headstart Reservation Program

What is the Steamship Authority's Headstart Reservation Program?

To provide island residents more assistance in traveling back and forth to the mainland for their medical and other daily living needs during the summer season when vehicle reservations are more difficult to obtain, the Headstart Reservation Program provides island residents a short opportunity to make a limited number of reservations for travel during the summer season before most of our remaining spaces are made available for reservations by the general public. After the completion of the Headstart Reservation Program, the remaining spaces for periods during our summer schedules are placed into the pool of spaces available for reservations by the general public.

How many Headstart reservations can I make?

Each eligible customer is allowed to make up to five Headstart vehicle reservations (one-way or round-trip). The reservations may be made in either your own name, or in another person's name. If desired, you may temporarily designate up to three of your Headstart reservations as transferable reservations. This means they will be held under your name until you provide information regarding the specific person (or vehicle) who will be using the reservation.

For these transferable reservations to remain valid,  we must receive the  transfer slip no later than May 15th of that year or thirty (30) days in advance of the scheduled departure of the first segment of the reservation—even if you decide to keep the reservation for your own use. The transfer slip must contain the information regarding the person (or vehicle) using the reservation. Any transferable Headstart reservation for which we have not received a completed transfer slip by the appropriate deadline will be cancelled. In addition, we will assess a $10.00 processing fee for any refund of a cancelled transferable reservation, regardless of when the cancellation is made. 

When do Headstart reservations become available?

Headstart reservations are available to eligible customers who have applied through the mail (addressed to our Mashpee Reservation Office only) or on our website, beginning on a date designated as “Opening Day” –usually during the first week of January.

Who is eligible for the Steamship Authority's Headstart Reservation Program?

If you have registered for our Preferred Space Program, you are also able to use our Headstart Reservation Program.

Customers Traveling with Vehicle Reservations

Are there any circumstances in which other vehicles will be boarded instead of mine even though I have a reservation?

In certain circumstances, an ambulance or a private vehicle may be boarded on a preferential basis, in accordance with the provisions of the Steamship Authority's Emergency Transportation Policy. (Please refer to our Customer Handbook.) In that case, other vehicles with reservations may be bumped from their reserved trips in order to accommodate the ambulance or customer needing to travel on an emergency basis.

In an emergency, the Terminal Agent will first ask for volunteers, informing them when they will be transported if they agree to be bumped from that particular trip. If an insufficient number of customers volunteer to be bumped to meet the emergency situation, the Terminal Agent will then bump the last vehicle(s) which checked in at the terminal for that particular trip.

We will refund each affected customer's one-way fare for both the bumped vehicle and its passengers. Bumped vehicles will have priority for boarding on the next vessel leaving the terminal (except for vessels carrying hazardous cargo), and vehicles bumped as a result from that subsequent trip will similarly be considered as having been bumped due to an emergency situation. 

I have a vehicle reservation for a particular sailing. When should I arrive at the terminal?

If you have a vehicle reservation, you must be at the departure terminal and ready for boarding at least 30 minutes prior to your scheduled departure, with your reservation confirmation and proper identification readily available.

What if I arrive later than 30 minutes before sailing but before the ferry leaves?

Those who arrive later than 30 minutes before the scheduled departure may still be boarded at the Terminal Agent’s discretion. This means that we have not yet completed loading vehicles for that trip and boarding this vehicle will not otherwise affect the loading of the vessel. 

No standby vehicles already selected for boarding will be bumped from a trip to allow the boarding of any late-arriving vehicle with a reservation. 

What happens if I miss the trip for which I have a reservation?

If a customer with a vehicle reservation is not boarded due to a late arrival at the departure terminal, the reserved space will be used for another vehicle, and the customer's vehicle will only be able to travel on a standby basis, on the date for which the reserved trip was scheduled. At our discretion, the customer's vehicle may instead travel on a standby basis the following day. In either case, the vehicle will have no priority over other standby vehicles. 

What happens if my trip is cancelled?

In the event of a disruption in service, customers with reservations on cancelled trips may make new reservations or travel on standby status when service resumes. Customer service is important to us and we will endeavor to help those customers make new reservations at the terminal, even though the general public may not be able to make reservations at that time. In these situations, we will also create a special standby line for customers holding reservations on cancelled trips. When service resumes, we will board vehicles in the order described in the Customer Handbook.

Traveling without Vehicle Reservations on the Nantucket Route

Can I travel with my vehicle between Hyannis and Nantucket without a reservation?

Yes. Standby travel is available on the Nantucket route every day of the year. For more information about our standby procedures, please click here.

How does standby work on the Nantucket route?

Standby vehicles are accepted year-round for travel between Hyannis and Nantucket, though space is limited. If you desire to travel on a standby basis from Hyannis you are required to go in person to the terminal and place your name on the standby list. If you want to travel on a standby basis from Nantucket, you may either call or go in person to the terminal to place your name on the list. At that time, you must provide all pertinent information about your vehicle. 

Your name will be added to our standby list. You will receive a standby slip with your standby number and date. This standby slip contains a telephone number and website link where you can access the terminal's current vehicle standby status as well as the date and time that you should be at the terminal.

Once you receive your standby slip:

Nantucket Terminal:
Unless you are informed that you should remain at the terminal for possible travel on the next scheduled trip, you must depart with your vehicle from the Nantucket Terminal. (No spaces are available to accommodate standby vehicles at that terminal, and therefore there is no physical vehicle standby line there.) You must regularly check our website and/or call the telephone number on your standby slip to find out what time you must return to the terminal for possible travel on a standby basis. It is your responsibility to return to the terminal at the appropriate time, and your failure to do so will result in forfeiting your place and being dropped from the standby list.

Hyannis Terminal:
If the terminal is able to accommodate the parking of standby vehicles of customers using our drive-on/drive-off services, you may leave your vehicle at the terminal and it will be transported on a standby basis on the next available trip. Otherwise, you must depart with your vehicle from the terminal instead of waiting there for the next available trip. You must regularly check our website and/or call the telephone number on your standby slip to find out what time you must return to the terminal, potentially to travel on a standby basis. It is your responsibility to return to the terminal at the appropriate time, and your failure to do so will result in forfeiting your place and being dropped from the standby list.

Customers who are required to return to the terminal at a particular time are not guaranteed travel on the next scheduled trip, as we generally will require more standby customers to return to the terminal than can be accommodated on the next trip. Vehicles traveling on a standby basis are generally boarded onto vessels after vehicles with reservations, as long as space is available, in the order that they have been placed on the standby list. Exceptions are made for customers with disabilities who need to travel with their vehicles, emergency situations, disruptions in service and other unusual circumstances.