For Immediate Release
April 22, 2024


VICTORIA – Dogs on leashes and cats in carriers travelling with their owners now have access to larger, outdoor pet areas on the upper decks of vessels travelling on the Horseshoe Bay – Departure Bay and Horseshoe Bay – Langdale routes. 

The addition of outdoor areas for furry friends and family members on the Queen of Surrey and the Queen of Coquitlam means a total of six vessels serving customers along the Sunshine Coast now have pet areas on upper decks, along with indoor facilities for pets and their owners.

This builds on the successful roll out of the outdoor upper deck pet areas introduced on the Earls Cove – Saltery Bay route in fall 2022 and the Horseshoe Bay – Departure Bay and Powell River – Comox routes in spring 2023.

“Our customers have told us that their pets need a better way to travel and we’ve taken steps to make that a reality. This is great news for customers preparing to travel with pets in the busy spring and summer seasons,” says Melanie Lucia, Vice-President of Customer Experience at BC Ferries. “Thanks to feedback we received from pet owners and other customers, we plan to continue building on that momentum and make our vessels more pet-friendly.”

Customer surveys received a lot of “pawsitive” feedback from pet owners and other customers, with on average 92.5 per cent of respondents in favour of expanding the pet areas to the outer decks of other ferries. BC Ferries is now considering ways to prioritize comfort for pets and their owners on more vessels, and additional outdoor pet spaces are being considered on vessels serving the Tsawwassen – Swartz Bay Route.

In the new pet areas, dogs keep their owners on a one-metre leash at all times and cats must be in a travel carrier while on the outer decks. Pets and their people must access the areas via a designated stairwell, marked with paw prints. Pet owners with accessibility needs are able to use a designated elevator. While on the outer passenger deck, pets must stay in the designated pet area marked with yellow lines. Waste bags and water bowls will be provided and the area will be cleaned regularly.

Pets are not permitted in terminal lounges, on passenger walkways, or inside the passenger lounge areas of the ferry, with exception given to guide and service dogs.

BC Ferries loves all animals but only dogs on leash and cats in carriers are safe on the upper outer decks. There will be a limit of two pets per owner.

The new pet areas are only available on routes between Departure Bay – Horseshoe Bay, Horseshoe Bay – Langdale, Earls Cove – Saltery Bay and Powell River – Comox. Currently, passengers travelling on all other routes can continue to use pet areas on lower decks.

As a reminder, BC Ferries asks drivers to turn off their car alarms while parked on the decks of vessels. Motion can set them off and the noise is very alarming to pets on the vehicle decks. For more information on travelling with pets, visit

Did you know?
  • Approximately 54 per cent of millennials viewed themselves as “pet parents.”
  • An estimated 38 per cent of Canadian households own a cat, while 35 per cent own a dog.
  • The number of passengers travelling on BC Ferries with pets nearly doubled between 2018 and 2023, from 5.5 per cent to 9.9 per cent.
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Media Contact:
BC Ferries, Media Relations
Victoria: (250) 978-1267

Customer Contact:
Victoria: (250) 410-1465
Toll-free: 1-888-BCFERRY (1-888-223-3779) 
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