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.

Read more

Keeping you safe and moving
 
  • Passengers are required to wear masks at all times at terminals and on board ferries.
  • Be prepared to answer Transport Canada COVID-19 screening questions.
  • Booking in advance is strongly recommended to guarantee the sailing of your choice.
  • Enhanced safety and cleaning measures are in place to keep customers and crew safe.
  • Passengers in vehicles on enclosed lower vehicle decks must leave their vehicles during the sailing to comply with Transport Canada’s safety regulation. View details.

Learn more

Transport Canada enclosed vehicle deck safety regulation

Starting on September 30th, 2020, passengers on enclosed lower vehicle decks will be required to leave their vehicles during the sailing.

Learn more about the reinstatement of the Transport Canada regulation

Important: The height, length and weight of your vehicle determines the vehicle deck on which you will be placed.


Booking ahead

If you are travelling on a bookable route, we strongly recommend that you book ahead if you plan to travel during popular sailing times, including:
 
  • Holiday weekends
  • Thursday and Friday afternoons and evenings
  • Sunday afternoons
Booking in advance secures a spot for your vehicle on board your preferred sailing. Without a booking, vehicles are loaded in order of arrival at the terminal on the next available sailing. This may result in wait times at the departure terminal.

If you have booked online in advance, you need your booking reference number, or the phone number associated with your booking, to check in at the ticket booth.
 

Check-in times

Check-in times and ticket sales cut-off times vary by terminal.

Find and review the check-in and cut-off times at your departure terminal.
 

If you have a reservation:

  • Ensure that you arrive in time to redeem your reservation. Review terminal (and vehicle) specific check-in times at your departure terminal (click here to find your terminal).
    • If you miss the terminal check in time for your sailing you will forfeit your reservation and be placed on the next available sailing based on your order of arrival at the terminal
 

If you do not have a reservation:

  • To make your preferred sailing without a reservation, review terminal specific ticket sales cut-off times at your departure terminal (click here to find your terminal)
    • If you are in a lane queuing for the ticket booth,  but have not actually purchased a ticket from a ticket agent before the ticket sales cut-off time, you will be placed on the next available sailing based on your order of arrival at the terminal
 

At the terminal

Terminals with ticket agents

When you arrive at the terminal, a ticket agent will greet you and get you checked in. The ticket agent will then assign you a vehicle lane to park until boarding starts. Please proceed to your assigned lane with caution.

Terminals without ticket agents

Park in the first available vehicle lane when you arrive at the terminal. You will be loaded on the next available sailing based on space on board. If a fare is due for travel on the route, it will be collected on board during the sailing.

Vehicles we carry

Standard vehicles
Vehicles under 7 ft. high and less than 20 ft. long are considered standard vehicles.
 
  • Standard vehicles (including cars, vans and SUVs) are loaded onto the upper or lower vehicle deck, depending on deck space availability
  • In accordance with Transport Canada regulations, passengers are prohibited from remaining in their vehicle on any closed lower deck on a vessel that is underway. A closed vehicle deck is a space that is closed at both ends with limited side openings.
  • If items stacked above or behind your vehicle (like bikes or luggage) increase your vehicle height over 7 ft., or length to over 20 ft., then your vehicle is considered oversized
Oversized vehicles
  • Vehicles over 7 ft. high or more than 20 ft. long are considered oversized vehicles. This may impact your fare and the deck on which you are placed.
  • During a sailing you can only stay in your vehicle if you are placed on the upper vehicle deck due to Transport Canada regulations
Motorcycles
Standard motorcycle
Depending on the route, you will be loaded on the ferry before or after all other vehicles. There will be a designated spot for your motorcycle on board.

Non-standard motorcycle
If you have a trailer, sidecar, or more than two wheels on your motorcycle, you may be loaded along with standard vehicles.
 
  • Ride slowly when loading or unloading
  • Park diagonally to the ferry’s centre line and leave in a low gear
  • Park using a side stand and use wooden blocks (available on our vehicle decks) so your motorcycle is secure
  • Bring tie downs to secure your motorcycle when travelling on our North coast sailings
  • We operate under the principle of first come, first served and may deviate from this if a motorcycle/trike does not displace other vehicles by the space they occupy onboard
If you are travelling with a motorcycle on our North coast routes or between Vancouver (Tsawwassen) and the Southern Gulf Islands, we recommend booking your travel online.
Bicycles
Check in with a ticket agent at the foot passenger entrance. You will then board the ferry via the vehicle deck, where you will be able to securely stow your gear during the sailing. If your departure terminal does not have a ticket agent or foot passenger entrance, board at the direction of the crew. There is no fee for travelling with your bicycle.

Important: For your safety, please walk your bicycle when boarding and disembarking.
Over 5,500 kg GVW
  • Includes all vehicles with a Registered Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW) over 5,500 kg (12,100 lbs.)

Note: Any vehicle more than 9 ft. wide is included in this category.

Learn more about travelling with a commercial vehicle

Accessibility

If you use a wheelchair or walking aid and need your vehicle to be close to the onboard elevator, view our accessibility page for boarding instructions.