Reserve and Plan

Travelling with Pets

We understand that for many people, pets are part of the family and your pet's wellbeing is important to us.

Travelling by Vehicle

October 2017 - Transport Canada regulations restricting passenger access to vehicles on closed lower vehicle decks while vessels are in transit are now in effect.

If you would like to request to be on the upper (open) car deck so you may remain with your pet in your vehicle, please let the ticket agent know when you arrive at the terminal. Whenever possible, BC Ferries will accommodate your request. When this is not possible, passengers with pets can use the pet areas located on the upper (open) vehicle decks. Pets will be allowed to remain in vehicles on the lower vehicle deck, but their owners are requested to leave the lower car deck.

Click here for more information on the policy. We are here to help.

In most of our terminals, you will find a designated area where you can walk your pet prior to boarding the vessel. It's a great opportunity for your pet to have a stretch and use the washroom prior to boarding.

Designated Pet Area Locations On Board
Helpful Tips

Travelling as a Foot Passenger

If you are travelling as a walk-on passenger, please purchase your ticket at the foot passenger ticket booth. You will be directed to board the vessel via the car deck for easy access to the pet area onboard. Boarding via the car deck also helps you and your pet avoid large crowds of passengers that can be stressful for some pets.

When you arrive at most of our terminals you will find a designated area where you can walk your pet prior to boarding the vessel.

It's our general practice to board passengers walking onboard with pets before vehicles begin loading. If you arrive after the vehicles have started loading, please wait until you are signalled to board by the crew on the ramp. In the interest of safety we do not allow walk on passengers and vehicles to board at the same time.

We ask that the pet area is not used by your pet to relieve him/herself. But we understand accidents occur – we just ask that you please clean up the accident.

When we are nearing the arrival terminal you will hear an announcement for customers to return to their vehicles. Please make your way to the disembarkation area. Once the vessel is secured you will be directed to disembark with your pet ahead of vehicle traffic.

Designated Pet Area Locations On Board
Helpful Tips

Designated Pet Area Locations On Board

For the safety of our customers and crew, pets must remain in your vehicle or in the designated pet areas, available on board the following vessels:

Vessel Deck Vessel Deck
Coastal Celebration Deck 4 Queen of New Westminster Deck 3
Coastal Renaissance Deck 4 Queen of Oak Bay Deck 2, 4
Coastal Inspiration Deck 4 Queen of Surrey Deck 2
Northern Adventure Deck 2 Salish Eagle Deck 3
Northern Expedition Deck 2 Salish Orca Deck 3
Queen of Alberni Deck 3 Salish Raven Deck 3
Queen of Coquitlam Deck 4 Spirit of British Columbia Deck 4
Queen of Cowichan Deck 4 Spirit of Vancouver Island Deck 4

Pet areas include seating, radiant heating, access to water, kennels, waste bags and a trash can.

Pets are not permitted in passenger areas, with the exception of certified Guide/Service dogs. Owners of certified Guide/Service dogs are required to present certification ID (issued by the Ministry of Justice) when requested by crew.

Helpful Tips

We've put together some information to help you plan your trip for you and your pet:

  • Don't allow your pet to excessively eat or drink immediately prior to your trip
  • Walk your pet prior to boarding the vessel
  • Provide adequate amount of water on a hot day
  • Bring a blanket your pet is familiar with
  • Bring your own pad lock to lock the kennel
  • Dogs need to remain on a leash and under the owner's care at all times
  • Please clean up after your pet to help us ensure a safe environment for all our customers and other pets on board
  • Pets such as cats, ferrets, birds and other small animals should be brought on board in a carrying case
  • The health and safety of all pets on board is important to us – please ensure all vaccinations are up to date and your pets are in good health
  • Designated pet areas include access to water
  • If you need anything during your sailing, please ask any crew member

BC Ferries gratefully acknowledges the help of the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association – Society of British Columbia Veterinarians Chapter (CVMA-SBCV Chapter) in consulting on our pet policies.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does it cost to travel with my pet?
The regular fare applies to you and your vehicle but your pet travels for FREE.

Are pets allowed in passenger areas?
No, pets are not allowed to travel in passenger areas with the exception of certified Guide/Service dogs.

If you travel by vehicle, please leave your pet in your vehicle unless, of course, it's a hot day, and your car is exposed to the sun. In this case, please use the designated pet area onboard.

If you travel as a walk on passenger, a designated pet area is provided on the car deck. On the minor route vessels that do not have designated pet areas, crews will provide direction for pet owners.

Owners of certified Guide/Service dogs are required to present certification ID when requested by crew.

Why don't you allow pets in passenger areas?
There are several reasons: Health Canada regulations prohibit pets in food service areas; we mitigate the risk of allergic reactions to our customers and crew, possible altercations between pets while in close proximity to passengers and injury to passengers; it also helps us avoid the risk of flea infestation.

What is a certified Guide/Service dog?
Please check the Ministry of Justice's website for up-to-date information and a list of accredited schools for certified Guide/Service dogs: www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/justice/human-rights/guide-and-service-dog/forms.

My dog is a therapy dog, can I bring him into the passenger area?
Only certified Guide/Service dogs are allowed in passenger areas, please check the Ministry of Justice's website for up-to-date information: www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/justice/human-rights/guide-and-service-dog.

Do you have any helpful tips for travel as a walk on passenger with a pet?
Yes, don't allow your pet to excessively eat or drink immediately prior to your trip; provide adequate amount of water on a hot day; walk your pet prior to boarding the vessel; bring a blanket your pet is familiar with; dress appropriately for the weather as pet areas, although enclosed, are located on our vehicle decks.

What kind of amenities can I expect in the pet area on the car deck?
A seating area for you, radiant heating, access to water, kennels, waste bags and a trash receptacle. Please remember to clean up after your pet.

What happens if my dog does not get along with another dog in the pet area?
Please keep your pet on leash and under control, owners are responsible for their pets

Why do I have to walk on via the car deck with my pet?
It is the safest and most direct route to the pet area which is located on the car deck, safely separated from what can be large crowds of passengers who are boarding the vessel via the overhead walkway.

Do you provide kennels in your pet area?
Yes, kennels are available in the Pet Areas on board our vessels. Please note that pet owners are expected to bring their own lock if they wish to lock the kennel.

What happens in case of an emergency, we are on the car deck and the assembly stations are upstairs?
In the unlikely event of an emergency, the crew will provide direction. Your safety is our main priority.

Can I go to the car deck and visit my pet in my car during the crossing?
As of October 11, 2017, in accordance with Transport Canada's safety regulations, if you are loaded on a lower closed vehicle deck you will be required to exit your vehicle and leave the deck for the duration of the voyage. Your pet can remain in a vehicle on the closed vehicle deck or you can use the Pet Area on board the vessel. Passengers can request to be on the upper vehicle deck by letting the ticket agent know when they arrive at the terminal that they prefer to be on the upper vehicle deck. Where this is possible, BC Ferries will try and accommodate the request. For more information on this policy, frequently asked questions and the vessels that the policy applies to, click here.

We look forward to seeing you and your pets on board soon.