For Immediate Release
May 15, 2023


VICTORIA – Starting today, dogs on leashes and cats in carriers travelling with their owners on the Horseshoe Bay – Departure Bay, Comox – Powell River and Earls Cove – Saltery Bay routes, will be allowed on the upper outside decks on selected vessels. A 60-day survey will be available onboard for both customers and employees to gain feedback on the new pet area.

This expansion follows on the heels of last fall’s successful implementation on the vessel, Malaspina Sky, between Earls Cove and Saltery Bay, where BC Ferries received “pawsitive” feedback from pet owners and their furry friends. During this time, approximately 1,000 pets travelled on the ship and 90 per cent of respondents to a survey were in favour of expanding the pet areas to the outer decks of other ferries.

Owners must keep their dogs on a one-metre leash at all times and cats must be in a travel carrier while on the outer decks. Access to the area will be via a designated stairwell, with restricted elevator entry for those with accessibility needs. Paw prints on the deck mark access points. Pets must stay in the designated pet area when on the outer passenger decks. Waste bags and water bowls will be provided and the area will be routinely cleaned. 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 dogs per owner.

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 or on the pet pilot, visit

Did you know?
  • Approximately 54 per cent of millennials view 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 increased from 5.5 per cent in 2018 to 13.7 per cent in 2020

Here’s what people are saying about the pet pilot:

Customer Feedback from Earls Cove – Saltery Bay Route Fall 2022 Pet Pilot:

“Leaving the dog in the car causes considerable stress. This program completely eliminates that stress. Walking on is very challenging with the tiny pet rooms. This is so much more comfortable for me and my pet!”

“Congrats on the decision to allow pets on outside deck. Make it unilateral on all ships. Having to stay downstairs in the heat, fumes and cold is not a happy experience.”

“Our dog has separation anxiety, so leaving her in the car can be stressful for all. This is helpful.”

“Great to finally be able to get us and our dog out of the car. Nice to be outside with her for the great view and to chat with other folks. Would be nice if there were a covered area too, but that would just be a bonus.”
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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)

Note to newsrooms: For urgent media inquiries off-hours, call our off-hours line at (250) 516-7211.
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