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

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

Travel Tips for Pet Owners

Check out some helpful pet travel tips from BC SPCA Accredited Dog Trainer, Bernadette:


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 select Pet Areas)
  • Kennels (available in select Pet Areas)
  • Seating
  • Waste bags
  • Water bowl
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 before boarding the ferry
  • 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.
  • Foot passengers with pets must embark and disembark from the main car deck unless instructed otherwise.

Outer deck pet area expansion on select vessels and routes

You barked and we listened. The below six vessels have expanded their pet areas with a designated upper area on the passenger deck:

  • Queen of Oak Bay – Sailings between Horseshoe Bay – Nanaimo
  • Queen of Cowichan – Sailings between Horseshoe Bay – Nanaimo
  • Queen of Coquitlam – Sailings between Nanaimo- Horseshoe Bay - Langdale
  • Queen of Surrey – Sailings between Horseshoe Bay - Langdale
  • 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. 
  • Leashes must be kept to a maximum of 3 feet (1 meter) at all times when on board.
  • Access the outside pet area via a designated pet friendly stairwell and follow the paw prints. Crew can direct customers with accessibility requirements to a designated elevator.
  • Pets must remain within the designated pet area, marked by yellow lines, when on the upper outside deck.
  • Pets are not permitted in terminal lounges or on passenger walkways, 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. 

Note: When travelling on northern routes between Port Hardy–Bella Bella–Bella Coola–Prince Rupert–Skidegate pets must remain in your vehicle or in a kennel available in the designated pet area on the vehicle deck. On these vessels, no customers are permitted on the vehicle deck during the sailing, however, customers will be permitted short, accompanied visits to the vehicle deck to check on their pet every few hours.

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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