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BC Ferries would like to welcome you and your pet onboard. We hope you find the following planning tips make your travel more comfortable:
- Dogs need to remain on a leash and under the owners care at all times
- Please clean up after your pet to help us ensure a safe environment for all our customers
- Carry all other pets such as cats, ferrets, and birds in a carrying case
- Bring water with you for your pets journey – we’ll provide the dish
Pet health and safety is important to us – please ensure all vaccinations are up to date and your pets are in good health
For the safety of our customers and crew, pets must remain on the car deck. 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.
Travelling by Vehicle:
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. This is highly recommended since your pet will remain in your vehicle, hopefully asleep, during the crossing while you enjoy the onboard amenities in the upstairs passenger areas.
Travelling Without a Vehicle:
If you are travelling as a walk-on passenger, please purchase your ticket at the passenger booth. You will be directed to board the vessel via the car deck for easy access to the pet area onboard. It will also help you avoid large crowds of passengers walking on via the overhead walkway.
As of February 2016, the Queen of Oak Bay (Horseshoe Bay-Departure Bay route) is the first vessel to have kennels installed to give pet owners the option to either remain with their pet in the pet area or to leave their pet in a kennel during the crossing. Please note that pet owners are expected to bring their own pad lock to lock the kennel.
We recommend that you give your pet the opportunity to relieve him/herself prior to entering the terminal or to seek out the dog walking area within the terminal.
It’s our general practice to board passengers walking onboard with pets before vehicles. If you arrive after the vehicles have started loading, please wait until the vehicles are fully loaded and you have been signalled to board by the crew on the ramp. In the interest of safety we will not permit walk on passengers and vehicles to board at the same time.
It is important to remain with your pet in the pet area during the vessel crossing. 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.
Upon the vessel’s arrival, when you hear the announcement for customers to return to their vehicles, please make your way to the disembarkation area (often on the lower car deck). Once the vessel is secured you will be directed to disembark with your pet ahead of vehicular traffic.
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:
Q: How much does it cost to travel with my pet?
A: The regular fare applies to you and your vehicle but your pet travels for FREE.
Q: Are pets allowed to travel in passenger areas?
A: 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 our designated pet area onboard.
If you travel as a walk on passenger, a designated pet area is provided on the car deck. Some of our older smaller vessels do not have a designated pet area and the crew will provide directions for pet owners.
Owners of certified Guide/Service dogs are required to present certification ID when requested by crew.
Q: Why don’t you allow pets in passenger areas?
A: There are several reasons: Health Canada regulations prohibit pets in food servicing 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.
Q: What is a certified Guide/Assistance dog?
A: Please check the website of the Ministry of Justice for up-to-date information and a list of accredited schools for certified Guide/Assistance dogs.
Q: My dog is a therapy dog, can I bring him into the passenger area?
A: Only certified Guide/Assistance dogs are allowed in passenger areas, please check the website of the Ministry of Justice for up to date information.
Q: Do you have any helpful tips for travel as a walk on passenger with a pet?
A: 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.
Q: What kind of amenities can I expect in the pet area on the car deck?
A: A seating area for you and a water dish for your pet, we also provide waste bags and trash receptacle. Please remember that owners are responsible to clean up after their pet.
Q: What happens if my dog does not get along with another dog in the pet area?
A: Keep your pet on leash and under control, owners are responsible for their pets
Q: Why do I have to walk on via the car deck with my pet?
A: 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.
Q: Do you provide kennels in your pet area?
A: A kennel project is currently underway which will see the installation of kennels on vessels that are going in for their annual maintenance or significant upgrade. Kennels of various sizes will be installed to give pet owners the option to either remain with their pet in the pet area or to leave their pet in a kennel during the crossing. Please note that pet owners are expected to bring their own pad lock to lock the kennel.
As of February 2016, the Queen of Oak Bay (Horseshoe Bay-Departure Bay route) is the first vessel to have kennels installed. Please stay tuned for further updates on this project.
Q: What happens in case of an emergency, we are on the car deck and the assembly stations are upstairs?
A: In the unlikely event of an emergency the crew will provide direction. Your safety is our main priority.
Q: If I travel with my pet in the car can I also make use of the pet area on the car deck?
A: Priority is given to walk on passengers with pets, considering that your pet has a comfortable and familiar place in your car. Unless of course it’s a hot day and your car is exposed to the sun. In this case please use our designated pet area onboard.
Q: Can I go to the car deck and visit my pet in my car during the crossing?
A: With the exception of the Northern Routes the vehicle deck will remain accessible during the crossing. And, we would encourage you to check on your pet as often as you like.
On our Northern Routes the car deck will be closed during the crossing with designated opening hours to visit your pet. Please see the Chief Steward onboard for opening hours.
Q: How do I prepare for travel with my pet on a Northern Route vessel?
A: On our Northern Route vessels passengers are not allowed to remain on the vehicle deck during the crossing. Your pet may either travel in your vehicle (recommended option) or if you travel as a walk on passenger we offer a limited number of kennels for dogs.
The vehicle deck will be open during designated times where you may visit your pet, please see the Chief Steward onboard for further details.
- 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
- bring your own pad lock to lock the kennel