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Small pets including dogs, cats, ferrets, birds and hamsters are all welcome and travel for free.

Important: All animals (except guide, service or emotional support dogs) must remain in your vehicle or in a designated Pet Area. For more information about travelling with a guide, service or emotional support dog, visit our accessibility page.

Onboard Pet Areas

To help you and your pet feel comfortable and at home, Pet Areas on board are equipped with:

  • Garbage bins
  • Heating (available in indoor Pet Areas)
  • Kennels (available in select Pet Areas)
  • Seating
  • Waste bags
  • Water
Important: While on board, your pet must remain in your vehicle or in the designated Pet Area.

Top travel tips for pet owners

The Canadian Veterinary Medical Association–Society of British Columbia Veterinarians has some great tips to make your pets as comfortable as possible on board:

  • Give your pet some exercise and an opportunity to relieve themselves before boarding the ferry
  • Deactivate the interior motion sensor of your vehicle alarm
  • Keep your pet hydrated with enough water, especially on hot days
  • Bring your pet’s favourite blanket or toy
  • Bring your own padlock if you wish to use our onboard kennels
  • Keep dogs on a leash and under your care when outside your vehicle
  • Clean up after your pet to help us ensure a clean environment for everyone on board
  • Ensure all vaccinations are up to date and your pets are in good health
  • Bring cats, ferrets and other small animals on board in a carrying case
  • During the colder months, terminals and vessels may employ a de-icing compound outdoors. Owners are responsible for their pet’s welfare and should be aware of any associated risks.

Outer deck pet area expansion to other vessels and routes

You barked and we listened. A trial is ongoing to allow pets in designated areas only on the upper passenger deck on the following ferries and sailings below:

  • Queen of Oak Bay  Sailings between Horseshoe Bay Nanaimo
  • Queen of Cowichan  Sailings between Horseshoe Bay Nanaimo
  • Salish Orca  Sailings between Powell River Comox
  • Malaspina Sky  Sailings between Earls Cove – Saltery Bay 
 We love animals, but only well-behaved dogs on a leash and cats in carriers will be permitted in the outside pet areas on the upper passenger deck, with a maximum of two pets per handler. Access is only permitted via the designated paw print stairwell.
  • Leashes must be kept to 3 ft/1 m at all times when on board BC Ferries.
  • Access the outside pet area via a designated pet friendly stairwell. Follow the paw prints. Crew can direct customers with accessibility requirements to a designated elevator.
  • Pets are only allowed outside in the designated pet area when on the upper outside deck.
  • Pets are not permitted inside the passenger lounge or Coastal Cafe areas of the ferry.
  • Be considerate of fellow passengers who do not want to come in contact with an animal.

More pet travelling tips

Pets allowed on outer deck on select ferries and routes

Why are we expanding our pet areas?

In response to customer feedback to enhance the travel experience for passengers travelling with pets, BC Ferries is permitting dogs on leash and cats in carriers to access designated areas of the upper outside passenger decks of specific vessels and routes. This will expand the pet areas on board select ferries. 

Will we allow pets on outer decks on other ferries?

We plan to expand the program to additional ferries on other routes in phases. It will take time to assess all ferries and prepare designated areas to ensure it is safe for pets and their owners. We will keep customers up to date about this travel enhancement. 

What tools or equipment will be available for pet owners to clean up after their animals?

Waste bags and bins will be available in the pet areas. Hoses will be available for crew to use if required. If you have any concerns about the cleanliness of the pet areas, let any crew member know.

What are the rules for aggressive dogs?

Dogs with a bite history or that display aggressive behaviour are prohibited in any of our designated pet areas. At any time, BC Ferries reserves the right to ask that you and your pet leave the premises. All dogs must be on a leash no longer than 3 ft/1 m at all times. In the remote chance a customer is bitten by a dog, we have trained occupational first aid attendants on board.

How can I provide my feedback about the new outer deck pet areas?

Your feedback helps us to continually improve our customer’s experience. Submit your feedback.

Foot passengers with pets
  • For easy access to the onboard Pet Area, you and your pet will board the ferry via the vehicle deck before vehicles are loaded
  • If you arrive after vehicles have started loading, please wait until a crew member signals for you to board on the loading ramp
  • For everyone’s safety, including your pet’s, we do not permit walk-on passengers and vehicles to board at the same time
  • When it’s time to get off the ferry, you will hear an announcement for passengers to return to their vehicles. Please make your way to the disembarkation area (often on the lower vehicle deck). Once the ferry is secured, a crew member will direct you to walk off the vessel with your pet before vehicles unload.
Onboard kennels
Here are some tips if you plan on using our kennels:
  • Remove your pet’s leash so it doesn’t tangle
  • Routinely check on your pets to make sure they are comfortable and calm
  • Check that the kennel door is securely closed and locked with your own padlock before you leave
  • Return to the Pet Area once you hear the onboard announcement that the ferry is nearing the terminal
  • Please clean up any waste from your pet after using the kennels
Vehicle passengers with pets
During the sailing you can leave your pets in your vehicle or take them to the designated Pet Area.
Driving your vehicle on board BC Ferries

Driving on board

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

Travelling with Dangerous Goods on BC Ferries

Dangerous goods

See what goods are classified as dangerous, and learn how to declare them before you travel.

Travelling with baggage

Credit: Brian Jackson

Check-in baggage

Take advantage of our secure check-in baggage services - available for foot passengers on select routes.

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