About BC Ferries

Lower Closed Vehicle Deck Access

Frequently Asked Questions

Why does BC Ferries have to comply now after the regulation has been around since 2007?
Since 2007, BC Ferries has maintained a continuous car deck patrol. BC Ferries and Transport Canada recently re-examined the policy and in an effort to coordinate safety practices will change the application of the regulation.  

Which vessels do the regulations apply to?
The new regulation applies to the following vessels: Spirit of British Columbia, Spirit of Vancouver Island, Coastal Renaissance, Coastal Inspiration, Coastal Celebration, Queen of Alberni, Queen of Coquitlam, Queen of Cowichan, Queen of New Westminster, Queen of Oak Bay, Queen of Surrey, Queen of Nanaimo, Salish Orca, Salish Eagle, Salish Raven, Northern Expedition, Northern Adventure and the new vessel servicing Port Hardy – Bella Coola.  

Why are customers allowed on the upper vehicle deck?
Transport Canada’s regulation only applies to enclosed vehicle decks. The upper vehicle deck is open to the external environment and is not affected by the regulations.  

Are any vehicles exempt?
The vehicles that are not required to comply with the regulations are vehicles that due to the nature of their operation require their operators to be present, including but not limited to: ambulances, other emergency vehicles and livestock carriers.

How can I request/book/reserve to be on the upper vehicle deck?
Your booking guarantees you a space on the confirmed sailing, however, it does not guarantee which deck your vehicle will be placed on. The Loading Officer determines the placement of vehicles as they are loading the vessel and considers several factors - width and height of a vehicle, the need to balance weight distribution, maximizing the number of vehicles loaded and facilitating on-time departures.

Customers with special circumstances, such as medical difficulties, mobility challenges or special needs, may request to be loaded on the upper car deck upon arrival at the ticket booth. We will do our best to accommodate these requests, based on space availability and traffic volume.

What qualifies as a special circumstance to request being on the upper vehicle deck?
Customers with special circumstances such as medical difficulties, challenges or special needs that may preclude them exiting their vehicle may make a request to be on the upper vehicle deck by letting the ticket agent know when they arrive at the terminal. Where this is possible, BC Ferries will try and accommodate your request.  

If I have a pet, can I request the upper vehicle deck?
We understand that for many people, pets are part of the family and your pet's wellbeing is important to us. Customers 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. Where 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.  

What happens if passengers refuse to leave their vehicles?
Transport Canada institutes these regulations for the safety of passengers, and passenger safety is of paramount importance to BC Ferries. We hope that the benefits become self-evident and customers will choose to leave the closed vehicle deck. The small number of customers that remain on the closed vehicle deck will be asked to leave their vehicles.  

On shorter trips, why do passengers need to go to the upper passenger deck?
Transport Canada’s regulations apply to all vessels and trips regardless of their duration.

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