Travel Advisory: COVID-19 Update - Important information - Last updated January 11, 2021 View ×

BC Ferries remains committed to ensuring coastal communities have reliable access to essential goods and supplies. Our priority is the health and safety of our customers and employees, and the company will strictly adhere to provincial and federal guidelines.

We encourage our customers to continue to heed Dr. Bonnie Henry’s advice to be calm, be kind, and be safe. Our vessel and terminal staff are working hard to adjust to changing circumstances and to implement protocols and procedures that keep everyone safe and healthy. BC Ferries does not tolerate any abuse, including verbal abuse, towards its employees. A customer who abuses an employee will be denied service.

On January 7, 2021 Dr. Bonnie Henry announced an update to the COVID-19 restrictions (in effect November 7 - February 5, 2021), for more information click here. BC Ferries advises customers to avoid non-essential travel at this time – this includes travel into and out of B.C. and between regions of the province. If this new Provincial Health Officer restriction affects your travel plans please contact us to change or cancel your booking. Reservations fees for existing bookings will be refunded if travel must be cancelled as a result of Provincial Health Order (PHO) travel restrictions, please contact us in advance of travel. This applies to travel occurring during the PHO travel restriction period. 

 

Masks are mandatory

All passengers must wear non-medical masks or face coverings when at terminals and on board ferries except:

  • When inside a vehicle
  • When consuming food or drinks, provided physical distancing is maintained
  • Children under 2 years of age
  • Medical condition or disability that inhibits the ability to wear a mask
  • Persons unable to place or remove a mask without assistance
  • BC Ferries employees working behind a physical barrier or within employee only areas provided physical distancing is maintained

 

* In the event that a passenger cannot wear a mask or face covering due to medical reasons, BC Ferries may require passengers to present documentation from a healthcare professional. This is a new Transport Canada requirement for ferry operators across Canada.

Passengers are reminded to continue to maintain physical distance while wearing a mask.
 
As defined by the Public Health Agency of Canada, a mask should fit securely to the head with ties or ear loops, be made of at least two layers of tightly woven material fabric (such as cotton or linen) and be large enough to completely and comfortably cover the nose and mouth without gaping.

 

Transport Canada - Closed deck regulation - reinstatement on September 30th

The temporary flexibility Transport Canada granted ferry operators that allows passengers to remain in their vehicle on enclosed vehicle decks is being rescinded by the regulator on September 30th, 2020. Transport Canada allowed this temporary flexibility earlier this summer in response to COVID-19. BC Ferries must comply with Transport Canada regulations. Starting on September 30th, passengers loaded on enclosed lower decks will be required to leave their vehicles.

Learn more about the reinstatement of the Transport Canada regulation

View frequently asked questions

 

Transport Canada - COVID-19 screening

For any route longer than 30 minutes, BC Ferries will screen all customers for COVID-19 symptoms and restrict travel to any customer that does not meet the screening requirements, as per the federal guidelines.

Prior to entering a BC Ferries’ terminal, customers need to answer the following questions:

  1. Do you have a fever and a cough?
  2. Do you have a fever and breathing difficulty?
  3. Have you been refused boarding in the past 14 days due to a medical reason related to COVID-19?
  4. Are you the subject of a provincial/territorial or local public health order? Note: A provincial/territorial or local public health order is typically a quarantine order issued to a person who has tested positive or is presumed positive to COVID-19
  5. Are you in possession of a face covering that covers your mouth and nose, and do you agree to wear this covering when outside your vehicle at terminals and while on board ferries?

If you answer yes to any of questions 1 to 4 and/or no to question 5 above, or refuse to answer any of the questions, BC Ferries will deny you boarding. Customers not displaying symptoms and under a directive to self-isolate at home may be permitted on board but will be required to maintain physical distance by remaining in their vehicle.

BC Ferries has implemented measures in order to ensure that customers with serious medical conditions and a need for time sensitive treatments are able to continue to travel. Customers can communicate their travel needs to the ticket agent when they arrive at the terminal. Reservations are recommended, but non-reserved travel will be prioritized based on the essential travel needs.

View more details on Transport Canada’s announcement

Book in advance to avoid lengthy waits as sailings are limited. Check-in processing takes longer due to screening protocols in place.
 

Malahat Nation

Malahat Nation is currently under a Shelter in Place order that took effect January 8, 2021.

We ask that all Mill Bay ferry customers please wear a mask when on, or transiting to BC Ferries Mill Bay terminal outside of a vehicle. Commuting customers please see the request below from Malahat Nation regarding parking on Mill Bay Road.

For further information, please see malahatnation.com.

 

Northern routes

For more information on our current Northern schedules, visit bcferries.com/schedules.

Many communities served by BC Ferries have issued advisories to travelers notifying them of limited supplies, healthcare equipment and resources. These communities include Haida Gwaii, Bella Bella, Klemtu, and Bella Coola. Customers should inform themselves of local situations and remain committed to essential travel only.
For more information about travel and restrictions in these northern communities, see:

Foot passengers

When travelling, we require customers wear a face covering onboard or in our terminals. Reservations for foot passengers are available for travel between Tsawwassen - Southern Gulf Islands and our North Coast routes, and can now be made online.  On all other routes, foot passengers will be accommodated on a first come, first served basis until passenger capacity has been reached, and tickets may be purchased at the terminal.

 

BC Ferries Vacations

Customers with BC Ferries Vacation bookings affected by the COVID-19 restrictions (in effect November 7 - February 5, 2021) can contact us to change or cancel their booking. If you require immediate assistance, please contact BC Ferries Vacations at 1-888-223-3779 Ext. 3, or email vacations@bcferries.com. Vacations Call Centre business hours are:

  • Monday – Friday: 8:30 am – 5 pm
  • Weekends and statutory holidays: 9 am – 5 pm

 

Additional information

  • Customers requiring wheelchair assistance: We are unable to provide wheelchair assistance at terminals or on board ferries. If you require a wheelchair, request one at the terminal. We ask that you travel with your own wheelchair assistant if required.

  • For more information on travelling with BC Ferries during the COVID-19 Pandemic click here
  • Updates from our President and CEO Mark Collins

Vehicles with U.S. license plates travelling on the Ferries

Canada Border Services Agency is screening people entering Canada at the borders. BC Ferries does not have a mandate to restrict travel.

 

We’re in this together

We are proud of the work our dedicated employees continue to provide during this situation. Crews have been taking, and will continue to take, extra measures to ensure continued safe transport of critical goods and supplies to coastal B.C. communities. If you have a chance to relay a ‘thank-you’ to our teams online, please do.

BC Ferries provides a lifeline to remote and to coastal communities in British Columbia, and will continue to provide vital services, such as delivering medical supplies and groceries to support communities.

For more information on all the steps BC Ferries is taking during COVID-19, visit our COVID-19 response page. For more information on schedules visit bcferries.com/schedules. BC Ferries hopes to resume the levels of service customers have come to expect soon.

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BC Ferries is required to comply with the regulations in the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act & Regulations (TDG) and the Canada Shipping Act & Dangerous Goods Shipping Regulations. Failure to declare dangerous goods is an offence under Canadian law.

There are more than 3,600 dangerous goods listed in the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act.

Declaring dangerous goods

If you plan to travel on our ferries with dangerous goods and do not already have a dangerous goods shipping document, you need to complete a dangerous goods shipping document ahead of travel. Print your completed document and present it to the ticket agent when you arrive at the terminal.

Important: 
  • If you’re travelling on our North Coast routes, there may be additional regulations
  • Contact your departure terminal (or nearest alternative listed below) for more information
    • Graham Island (Skidegate): call (250) 559-4485
    • Port Hardy (Bear Cove): call 1-877-223-8778
    • Prince Rupert: call (250) 624-9627


Non-commercial vehicles

Dangerous goods include all gas or propane tanks, outboard motors with attached tanks, chainsaws, scuba tanks and more. View the full dangerous goods list.

Notes:
  • Your hand baggage must not contain any dangerous goods on the ferry, at any time
  • BC Ferries baggage vans will not carry dangerous goods of any kind


Commercial vehicles

In addition to the dangerous goods shipping document, you also need:

Dangerous goods driver certificate
All drivers transporting dangerous goods must be properly trained, and carry a valid certificate issued by their employer.

Vehicle safety markings
All vehicles transporting dangerous goods must have the appropriate safety markings clearly indicated.

Dangerous goods cargo sailings and dangerous goods being transported in and out of Prince Rupert
Complete and fax our dangerous goods pre-clearance fax cover (available below) along with a completed dangerous goods shipping document to your departure terminal at least 48 hours before travel.
Additional Information for commercial operators

Check-in times - travelling with dangerous goods

Drivers must declare all dangerous goods before booking their sailing. Failure to declare dangerous goods is an offence under Canadian law.

Drivers can declare their dangerous goods based on the route booked and departure terminal:
 
  • If making an online booking, select the dangerous goods option when entering the vehicle information
  • If travelling without a reservation or on a non-bookable route, drivers must declare all dangerous goods upon arrival at the terminal:
    • to the ticket agent in the ticket booth prior to purchasing a ticket
    • where there is no ticket booth, declare to a terminal attendant
    • at unstaffed terminals, declare to a vessel officer prior to departure
 

The following terminals require drivers to check-in 45 minutes prior to sailing time. This means they must have their vehicle at the terminal, with all dangerous goods declared, and their shipping documentation provided 45 minutes before their scheduled departure time:

  • Victoria (Swartz Bay)
  • Vancouver (Tsawwassen)
  • Vancouver (Horseshoe Bay)
  • Nanaimo (Departure Bay)
  • Nanaimo (Duke Point)
  • Sunshine Coast (Langdale)

For North Coast terminals including Prince Rupert, Port Hardy (Bear Cove) and Skidegate, drivers will need to call to check terminal specific time limits:
  • Graham Island (Skidegate): call (250) 559-4485
  • Port Hardy (Bear Cove): call 1-877-223-8778
  • Prince Rupert: call (250) 624-9627

For all other terminals drivers are required to check-in 30 minutes prior to sailing time.
 

Important:

  • If drivers do not have their vehicle at the terminal, with all dangerous goods declared, and their shipping documentation provided as per the check-in time requirements above, travel could be delayed until the next sailing

More dangerous goods information

Dangerous goods definitions
  • Cleaned and purged is a process used to neutralize any residue of dangerous goods in a container. In the interest of safety, BC Ferries requires a note on the shipping document if this has occurred
 
  • Containers (download Cylinders and Containers Sizes Chart below)
    • Large containers with a capacity greater than 450 litres (99 gallons); also called large means of containment
    • Small containers with a capacity of less than or equal to 450 litres (99 gallons); also called small means of containment
    • Tidy Tank is a trade name for what the regulations call a "small container" with a capacity of not more than 450 litres (99 gallons). It is designed to fit in the back of a pick-up or other small truck, and is usually used to transport fuel for its own use or other equipment. Depending on the type of fuel carried, Tidy Tanks may or may not be permitted.
 
  • Empty containers, which once contained dangerous goods (usually flammable liquids), are still considered to be dangerous, and are therefore subject to Regulations. They cannot be loaded on our ferries until they have been cleaned or purged, and declared as being free of all residues so that no danger remains.
 
  • ELS means a permit for Equivalent Level of Safety issued by Transport Canada, Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act & Regulations Directorate, Ottawa
 
  • Flammable liquids transported in marine mode must have the flash point of all Class 3 flammable liquids in the shipping documents. For limits, contact the terminal of departure.
 
  • Flash point is the temperature at which a liquid gives off vapour sufficient to form an ignitable mixture with air near the surface of the liquid. You will need to report the flash point for all flammable products on the dangerous goods shipping document.
 
  • Limited quantity/consumer commodity applies to products intended for industrial consumers, shipped by a common carrier, and packed in small sizes. Products shipped in limited qualities are exempt from some of the requirements of Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act & Regulations (TDG) and the Canada Shipping Act, provided they meet certain conditions. For further information on acceptable limited quantity sizes, contact the terminal of departure.
 
  • Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) is the information bulletin required to be prepared by every manufacturer of every product. In addition to identifying the technical properties and characteristics of a product, it contains safety, first aid and emergency response data.
 
  • Waste is any product or substance that is no longer used for the original purpose and that is recyclable material or intended for treatment or disposal. The product may or may not be a dangerous good. Check with the terminal of departure for details. 

 
Dangerous goods links
Prince Rupert dangerous goods permit
If you plan to travel with dangerous goods on a sailing that departs or arrives at Prince Rupert, you will need to get a dangerous goods permit from the Prince Rupert Port Authority at least 24 hours before your scheduled sailing

Apply for a permit

Important: 
  • You will also need to have a completed BC Ferries dangerous goods shipping document to provide to the ticket agent when you arrive at the terminal
  • The Prince Rupert Port Authority is closed on weekends and will not be able to issue permits until the following Monday

 
Contact us
If you have any questions about travelling with dangerous goods, contact us via email dg.bcf@bcferries.com, phone 250-978-1152, or fax 250-386-1652.
Travelling with your pet on the ferry

Pets

Your small pets, including dogs, cats, birds and more, are welcome on our ferries and ride for free.

Queen of Surrey sailing through Sunshine Coast

Carrying livestock

Find out everything you need to know about travelling with livestock on BC Ferries.

Driving your vehicle on board BC Ferries

Driving on board

What you need to know about travelling on our ferries with a vehicle.