Reserve and Plan

Accessibility at BC Ferries

PLEASE NOTE: Persons with disabilities who will require special assistance, in the event of an emergency, are asked to advise the ticket agent on arrival at the terminal. Once you have boarded the vessel please discuss your specific needs with the Chief Steward or request to speak with the ship’s First Officer.



BC Ferries provides a variety of services for persons with disabilities to ensure a safe and comfortable journey for our passengers.

BC Residents Fare – Permanent Disability

Discount fares are available for residents of British Columbia who have a permanent disability (this applies to passenger fares only). To receive the discounted fare you must apply for a BC Ferries Disabled Status Identification (DSI) Card, which you will present to the Ticket Agent when you arrive at the terminal.

Download the Disabled Status Identification Application and submit it to BC Ferries at:

Suite 500, 1321 Blanshard Street, Victoria, BC V8W 0B7
Attention: Customer Service Support

As of January 1, 2012, all DSI card holders must present government issued photo identification to receive the discounted rate. If you would prefer to have your old card updated with a photograph, give us a call for assistance at 1-888-BCFERRY (223-3779).

Please note: If the above documentation is not provided at the ticket booth you will be charged the regular fare.

Travelling in a Vehicle

Elevator access can be facilitated for customers travelling with a wheelchair on a first come first served basis. If you use a wheelchair, please tell the ticket agent when you arrive at the terminal. Please note that limited elevator parking is available and that these vehicles may be loaded first to assist with placement on the car deck, but in most cases will be unloaded last.

As you drive onboard, (please use your vehicle’s hazard lights) you will be directed to a location that is as close to the elevator as possible. Park so that your vehicle door can be opened for easy exiting and access to the elevator. There are limited vehicle spaces next to the elevators, so if parking next to an elevator is imperative, and all spaces are taken, you may need to wait for the next available sailing.

Customers who use a walking aid should also inform the ticket agent if they require access to an elevator. Your vehicle will be loaded as close to an elevator as possible.

Please note that in conditions of extreme weather, passenger elevators on the vessels may be unavailable due to safety regulations.

Travelling without a Vehicle

We have a limited number of wheelchairs at our Metro Vancouver to Vancouver Island and Sunshine Coast terminals and onboard our larger vessels, available to customers travelling without a vehicle. Reservations are required. Please call 1 888 BCFERRY (223-3779) at least 24 hours in advance of your travels to reserve a wheelchair or arrange assistance.

If you are travelling through one of our Gulf Island or Northern terminals and require assistance please give us a call at least 48 hours in advance of your travels at 1 888 BCFERRY (223-3779) to see how we can assist you.

Customers travelling without a vehicle, using our wheelchair assistance program, will need to check their baggage in advance of being assisted to the pre-board lounge or to the ship.

It can take approximately 15 minutes for us to assist one customer to the pre-board lounge or ship and return to help the next customer. If three customers require assistance with boarding the same sailing, this process can take up to 45 minutes. We ask customers to arrive 60 minutes in advance of the sailing to ensure there is enough time to help everyone. Customers arriving without a reservation may not be accommodated on the sailing of their choice.

Persons with disabilities can have a friend or relative assist them to the ship using our Visitor Pass process. Please call 1 888 BCFERRY (223-3779) to reserve a wheelchair and enquire about the Visitor Pass process.

Personal Assistance

BC Ferries staff are available to answer any questions you might have and familiarize customers with the available amenities. Customers who require personal assistance while onboard our ships, are asked to travel with a companion who is able to provide the personal assistance required. If you have any questions about what assistance we can provide please call 1 888 BCFERRY (223-3779).

C-MIST – A Functional Needs Framework

Planning a trip with BC Ferries? Consider using the C-MIST system to organize and communicate your needs.

C-MIST stands for Communication, Medical, Independence, Supervision and Transportation.

When arriving at one of BC Ferries’ terminals please let the ticket agent know that you will require assistance in the event of an emergency. Once you have boarded the vessel please discuss your specific needs with the Chief Steward or request to speak with the ship’s First Officer.

To help communicate your needs to BC Ferries’ staff, consider printing and filling out the form below to take with you when you travel.

C-MIST form

Accessible Services Within BC Ferries

AEDs

Each vessel has designated crew members trained in the use of Automatic External Defibrillators.

  Assistive Technology for Navigating the Web

BC Ferries, in partnership with eSSENTIAL Accessibility, provides free assistive technology to help people with disabilities navigate our website.  Learn more >>

Bus and Coach Services

BC Ferries is working with Pacific Coach Lines and Greyhound to enable passengers who are blind or sight-impaired to travel to and from Vancouver Island with greater independence. Click here for more information.

Cabins

BC Ferries’ vessels serving the Port Hardy-Prince Rupert, and Prince Rupert-Haida Gwaii (formerly Queen Charlotte Islands) routes have a limited number of adapted cabins designed to meet the accessibility requirements of persons with disabilities. Customers who use wheelchairs, or who have mobility disabilities, are permitted to reserve the Adapted Cabin in advance.

Elevators

Our terminal buildings at Swartz Bay (Victoria), Tsawwassen (Vancouver), Duke Point (Nanaimo), and Departure Bay (Nanaimo) are equipped with passenger elevators providing public access to all floors of the terminal buildings. Passenger amenities are available on the ground floor of each of these terminals.

In addition, each vessel travelling between the above mentioned ports is equipped with passenger elevators providing accessibility to all vehicle and passenger decks. Please note that in conditions of extreme weather, passenger elevators on the vessels may be unavailable due to safety regulations. Elevator service is available on the following vessels:

Coastal Celebration 

Queen of Cumberland 

Coastal Inspiration 

Queen of Nanaimo

Coastal Renaissance

Queen of New Westminster 

Queen of Alberni

Queen of Oak Bay

Queen of Burnaby

Queen of Surrey 

Queen of Capilano

Spirit of British Columbia

Queen of Chilliwack

Spirit of Vancouver Island

Queen of Coquitlam

MV Island Sky 

Queen of Cowichan

Northern Adventure

Northern Expedition


More information about vessel-specific amenities can be found on Our Fleet. Please contact our Customer Service Centre at 1-888-BC FERRY (223-3779) with inquiries.

Passengers who require parking close to an elevator are asked to advise the ticket agent on arrival at the terminal. Please ensure you arrive at least 30 minutes in advance of your intended sailing. There are limited vehicle spaces next to the elevators, so if parking next to an elevator is mandatory you may need to wait for the next available sailing.

First Aid Stations

Available on main passenger deck. We would like to inform our passengers that although we do not have medical personnel onboard our vessels, we do have a first aid room containing a bed and medical supplies in case of emergencies. For your safety we ask for you to have any necessary medical supplies with you in case of an allergic reaction. 

Onboard Safety Video

BC Ferries’ Coastal Class vessels (Coastal Celebration, Coastal Inspiration and Coastal Renaissance) which operate on the Metro Vancouver to Vancouver Island routes are equipped with TV Monitors in the lounges on deck 5 and 6 which play our safety videos at the beginning of the voyage.

Passenger Areas & Cafeteria

Most general passenger areas, including the cafeteria, are designed to be completely accessible to persons with disabilities. If additional assistance is required please ask one of our friendly staff to assist you.

Service Animals

Service animals are permitted in our terminals and onboard our ships. Grass areas are available at most terminals. We appreciate you helping us keep our terminals clean by cleaning up after your service animal.

Terminal Parking

Parking for people with disabilities is available next to the entrance of all major terminals. Check the signs for time restrictions. Designated parking is also available in pay-parking areas.

TTY Contact Numbers

TTY users can contact BC Ferries through TELUS Relay Services at either: 711 or 1-800-972-6509

Washrooms

All vessels and terminals serving our Swartz Bay (Victoria), Tsawwassen (Vancouver), Duke Point (Nanaimo), and Departure Bay (Nanaimo) routes offer washroom facilities designed to be accessible by persons with disabilities. Specially equipped washrooms are available on the following vessels:

Coastal Celebration 

Queen of Cumberland 

Coastal Inspiration 

Queen of Nanaimo

Coastal Renaissance

Queen of New Westminster 

Queen of Alberni

Queen of Oak Bay

Queen of Burnaby

Queen of Surrey 

Queen of Capilano

Spirit of British Columbia

Queen of Chilliwack

Spirit of Vancouver Island

Queen of Coquitlam

MV Island Sky 

Queen of Cowichan

Northern Adventure

Northern Expedition

More information about vessel-specific safety, accessibility and evacuation can be found on our Safety First web pages.

Please contact our Customer Service Centre at 1-888-BC FERRY (1-888-223-3779) with inquiries about the accessibility of our other vessels and terminals.

Wheelchairs

We have a limited number of manual wheelchairs at our Metro Vancouver to Vancouver Island and Sunshine Coast terminals and onboard our larger vessels, available to customers travelling without a vehicle. Reservations are required. Please call 1 888 BCFERRY (223-3779) at least 24 hours in advance of your travels to reserve a wheelchair or arrange assistance.

If you are travelling through one of our Gulf Island or Northern terminals and require assistance please give us a call at least 48 hours in advance of your travels at 1 888 BCFERRY (223-3779) to see how we can assist you.

Customers travelling without a vehicle, using our wheelchair assistance program, will need to check their baggage in advance of being assisted to the pre-board lounge or to the ship.

It can take approximately 15 minutes for us to assist one customer to the pre-board lounge or ship and return to help the next customer. If three customers require assistance with boarding the same sailing, this process can take up to 45 minutes. We ask customers to arrive 60 minutes in advance of the sailing to ensure there is enough time to help everyone. Customers arriving without a reservation may not be accommodated on the sailing of their choice.

Persons with disabilities can have a friend or relative assist them to the ship using our Visitor Pass process. Please call 1 888 BCFERRY (223-3779) to reserve a wheelchair and enquire about the Visitor Pass process.

Joint Committee on Accessibility

BC Ferries is committed to improving accessibility. There is a joint committee with representatives from various organizations for persons with special needs to better understand how BC Ferries can improve service for our customers with disabilities. The purpose of this committee is to review accessibility issues at BC Ferries and institute procedural and structural changes to improve accessibility.

While vessel modifications are often restricted by the age and physical structure as well as financial considerations, our new ferries are being built with barrier-free transportation in mind.  

Questions

Any questions, or comments, regarding accessibility with BC Ferries can be directed to the knowledgeable staff at any of the terminals or the toll-free number: 1-888-BCFERRY (223-3779).  Or punch in *BCF (*223) on Rogers or Telus Mobility networks.  From outside North America, call (250) 386-3431. TTY users can contact BC Ferries through TELUS Relay Services at either:  711 or 1-800-972-6509.