Reserve and Plan

About Dangerous Goods

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What do paint, laundry bleach, propane, car batteries, gasoline and hay have in common?

Firstly, they are all commonly used products and secondly, by their nature, if they are not handled with care, they can be hazardous to our health and the environment.  Because of the added hazard, these are classified as being dangerous goods, and extra care is required with transporting them.

There are more than 3600 dangerous goods listed in the transportation of Dangerous Goods Act, and the regulations that govern them are quite complex.  In the hope of simplifying the process, we have provided a few brief notes concerning the most commonly encountered products.

If you are planning to travel with us and have dangerous goods to carry, this will give you some initial guidance. If your particular product is not listed, feel free to call your nearest Major terminal and ask for help. We are at your service.

For products not listed in this brochure, please call the terminal of departure for information.

For those travelling on our northern routes, the Port of Prince Rupert imposes certain special regulations. Please contact our Prince Rupert terminal at 250 624-2967 for further information at least 24 hours prior to departure.

Remember, the driver of the vehicle must declare all dangerous goods at the terminal via the ticket booth, a terminal attendant or a vessel officer (depending on your terminal of departure). 

Failure to declare dangerous goods is an offence under Canadian law. 


Vehicle must be at the terminal of departure, declare their dangerous goods, and provide a shipping document

  • 45 minutes prior to sailing time at Major Terminals
  • 30 minutes prior to sailing time at Minor Terminals

or passage could be delayed until the next sailing.

Driver of the vehicle must declare all dangerous goods prior to purchase of ticket.

Northern Terminals: Prince Rupert, Port Hardy, Skidegate — customers are required to check with the terminal for specific time-limits, due to the unique reservation requirements in that area.


Some dangerous goods items are permitted without documentation in limited quantities. Click here for a list of some commonly carried items >> 

Class 7 dangerous goods should be fully documented and packaged as per UN packaging requirements.

All full or partially full Scuba Tanks require documentation as follows: 


Driver must present a Dangerous Goods Shipping Document for inspection.  All relevant dangerous goods information i.e. UN number, shipping name, etc. must be included.

  • BC Ferries Policy is that Enriched Air must be declared and fully documented. The number of Enriched air tanks may not exceed 8 per consignment (tank size not to exceed 20kg’s). 
  • These tanks follow the same conditions of transportation as SCUBA Tanks for safe stowage in the Vehicles.
  • A generic Dangerous Goods Shipping Document is available here for those shippers who do not have one — please click here to download.

For all inquiries about the transportation of dangerous goods, call BC Ferries' Customer Service Centre at 1-888-BC FERRY/1-888-223-3779.

Definitions of Terms Related to Dangerous Goods

Cylinder and Container Sizes: This Chart shows sizes, weights, terminology. 

Empty Container: Although they may be "empty", drums, tanks or other containers which once held dangerous goods (usually flammable liquids) are still considered hazardous and are subject to regulation. They cannot be carried on our ships until they have been cleaned and certified as being purged of all residue so that no danger remains.

Flash Point: The temperature at which a liquid gives off vapour sufficient to form an ignitable mixture with air near the surface of the liquid is known as "flash point". At BC Ferries, we carry certain flammable products and it is essential that we know what their flash points are.

MSDS: A 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.

Tidy Tank: This is a trade name for what the regulations call a "small container" with a capacity of not more than 450 litres (90 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 either its own use or for other equipment. Depending on the type of fuel carried, Tidy Tanks may or may not be permitted. See Diesel Fuel or Gasoline in the list below for details.

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Dangerous Goods Commonly Encountered by BC Ferries

Aerosols: Generally, these can be carried on our ferries, provided they are not larger than one litre in size (some exceptions apply).

Automotive Antifreeze: This is not considered to be dangerous, therefore it is not regulated and can be carried in any amount.

Auxiliary Fuel Tanks: Not to be confused with spare gas tanks, (see "Gasoline"), auxiliary fuel tanks that form an integral part of the vehicle, connected by a fuel line to the engine fuel system, and firmly secured and protected from external damage, are permitted.

Adhesives: Adhesive products containing flammable liquid, such as Contact Cement, have special requirements. Customers should check with local terminal staff for information on acceptable quantities.

Air Bottles, Scuba Tanks, Enriched Air: 

Oxygen: Personal use oxygen is permitted in cylinders up to 5 L water capacity. No transferring between containers is permitted.

SCUBA Tanks (compressed air): No limit, when transported for personal use only, must be declared to ticket agent with a completed DG shipping document.

All full or partially full tanks require a dangerous goods shipping document.

  • Partial or full tanks are to be transported in closed, locked vehicles, or in open vehicles, provided the tanks are out of sight.

Enriched air must be declared and fully documented.

  • The number of Enriched air tanks may not exceed 8 per consignment (tank size not to exceed 20 kgs).
  • Enriched air tanks follow the same conditions of transportation as Scuba tanks for safe stowage in vehicles.

Foot passengers may take these tanks aboard, provided the tanks are NOT taken into passenger areas but taken immediately to the main vehicle deck for stowage during the voyage.

  • The vessel's officer will identify to foot passengers a safe stowage area on the vessel.  
  • These tanks are not considered as baggage and our employees are not permitted to handle them or to transport them in our baggage vans. 

EMPTY tanks last containing air are not considered dangerous goods under the TDG Regulations, provided the valves are open and not under pressure. 

Ammunition: Small amounts of cartridges for personal use for small arms, rifles and shotguns are permitted on our ferries, provided they are securely packaged and are carried separately from the weapon. (See also "Firearms".)

Batteries, Automotive: In addition to the battery needed for the operation of a vehicle, new batteries, and up to three used batteries, are permitted.

BC Ferries Baggage Vans: No dangerous goods of any kind will be carried in BC Ferries baggage vans. This includes all gas or propane tanks, outboard motors with attached tanks, chainsaws, scuba tanks, etc.

Boat/RV Gas: See "Gasoline" for the amounts of gas which can be carried in spare tanks.

Coleman's Fuel, Naphtha, White Gas: These products are used to fill camp stoves and lanterns and have special conditions attached to their carriage.  Passenger vehicles are permitted 5 litre metal containers.  Foot passengers are prohibited from carrying this product as part of their baggage.

Cleansers: Bleach and other household cleansers may be carried on our ferries. In order to avoid harmful fumes which may result if the motion of the vessel causes them to spill, they must be in a carton designed to keep them upright and secure.

Diesel Fuel: Diesel fuel in tidy tanks 450L or less is permitted. Please note: any container over 450L is considered a “large means of containment” and falls under different regulatory conditions on Road, Rail and Marine.  Contact Us for details.

Firearms: Firearms may be transported under the following conditions:

Firearms must be transported in compliance with Canadian Firearms Regulations. Firearms transported in vehicles must be unloaded, must not be visible from outside the vehicle and the vehicle must be locked at all times when unattended.

Foot passengers are NOT permitted to transport firearms except on sailings between Port Hardy and Prince Rupert and between Prince Rupert and Skidegate Landing on the Haida Gwaii/Queen Charlotte Islands.  On these routes, foot passengers with firearms must report to the ship's officer once on board and are responsible for securing the firearms in a locker designated by the ship's officer. Passengers are not otherwise permitted to have firearms in their possession on board northern vessels.

Other Items of Concern:
Transportation of Airsoft guns , Pellet guns, crossbows, bow and arrow, axes and other items of concern.
Foot passengers are NOT allowed to transport these items on their person. Item are to be secured in a vehicle or carried as baggage and MUST be checked for transport at the foot passenger ticket booth.

On-duty police officers, armoured car personnel or peace officers authorized to carry restricted firearms in the performance of their duties are permitted by law to possess and transport firearms.

Fire Extinguishers: These can be carried on our ships if they are firmly packaged or secured to prevent them from moving.

Fireworks: Fireworks are prohibited on BCFS vessels. Some pyrotechnics are permitted if they are used as safety equipment for a vehicle or is equipment being transported. These pyrotechnics will normally fall under the category of Class 1 - 1.4S. 

Flashpoint: The temperature at which a liquid gives off vapour sufficient to form an ignitable mixture with air near the surface of the liquid is known as "flash point." At BC Ferries, we carry certain flammable products and it is essential that we know what their flash points are.

Foot Passenger Carry-On Commodities: Provided the deck officer gives his authority and a suitable storage area is available on the car deck, passengers may carry outboard motors, chain saws, etc. onto the car deck only. This type of equipment is not permitted in passenger areas.

A foot passenger may carry not more than one cylinder of Propane not exceeding one cylinder Bar-B-Q size (commonly called a 20-pound cylinder). The cylinder will not be transported as baggage, but must be carried aboard by the customer and must be stowed on the car deck in a location designated by the vessel's officer.

Gasoline: Approved spare containers of gasoline are permitted on our ferries, but only in limited amounts. The containers cannot exceed 25L.
  • RVs/vehicles may carry one spare container,
  • a boat towed behind a vehicle may carry two, and
  • a vehicle carrying a boat on top, may carry only one spare container.
  • a vehicle carrying or towing jet skis or quads may carry only one spare container.
  • Foot passengers are not allowed to carry gasoline on board.

Hay: May be carried, but must be secured within a closed vehicle, or the load must be completely tarped to prevent random ignition.  No more than 5 bales per one vehicle. A "bale" is defined as a bundle of hay which can be lifted by one person, into a transport vehicle.

Hand Baggage: Dangerous goods are prohibited as foot passenger hand baggage at all times.

Helium: Helium can be transported on board BC Ferries' vessels. All full or partially full tanks require a dangerous goods shipping document and must be transported in closed, locked vehicles; or in open vehicles, provided the tanks are out of sight.

Kirpans: Practicing members of the Sikh religion are permitted to carry a Kirpan provided that the following conditions are met at all times while onboard our ferries:

  • the Kirpan must be kept sheathed;
  • the Kirpan must be worn underneath clothing; and
  • the Kirpan must not be visible to other passengers. ​

Methanol: The carriage of methanol in the fuel tank of a race car is permitted up to a maximum of 25 litres. Not more than two spare containers with not more than 25 litres in each are also permitted. Spare containers must be completely secured and labelled.

Oxygen: Personal medical oxygen is permitted but cylinders may not exceed five litre water capacity. Cylinders that are not in a portable unit must be secured within the transport vehicle. The transfer of liquid oxygen from the "liberator" or bulk container to the "stroller" or portable container, on board the vessel, is prohibited. Customers must notify terminal staff if they are carrying personal medical oxygen.

Paint & Paint Related Products: Latex paint is not regulated and is permitted in any quantity. Oil based products, including paint, lacquer, enamel, stain, shellac, varnish, polish, liquid filler and liquid lacquer base, as well as paint thinners or reducing compounds, if for personal use, and have been obtained through a public retail outlet are limited to the size of container and amount of containers.  Passengers will have to have the flash point of the paint when arriving at the terminal to see is it is accepted for transport.

Propane: Propane valves must be closed and sealed with the tags issued at the ticket booth, and the cylinders must be upright and firmly secured, to prevent tipping.

  • RVs are permitted a maximum of two cylinders of not more than 25 kg each (50L water capacity each), provided they are connected to a regulator, and secured in or on the vehicle. Recreational vehicles may carry a third cylinder no larger than Bar-B-Q size (commonly called a 20-pound cylinder).
  • Passenger vehicles are permitted to carry one cylinder not to exceed Bar-B-Q size (commonly called a 20-pound cylinder).
  • SAFETY ALERT: "The brass valve in a propane cylinder will be damaged if it comes in contact with anhydrous ammonia. This deterioration will lead to cracking of the valve body or its components and can ultimately result in a violent, unexpected expulsion of the valve from the cylinder, causing personal injury or death."  See Safety Alert for more details.
  • Catering trucks/Food trucks/Catering trailers/Commercial vehicles that have built-in engineered propane tanks, and that have insurance and a certificate for the road, are allowed on BCFS. Documentation is not required. All pilot lights and propane valves are to be shut off and valves tagged with BCFS propane tags. Propane tanks that are not built-in/engineered and can be removed must follow the rules for spare propane tanks. 

Wheelchairs (motorized): There are no restrictions on wheelchairs when they are in use, but when they are carried as cargo or freight there are some precautions that must be taken. The battery must be securely in place, disconnected, with the terminals insulated to prevent short-circuiting, and the chair itself must be securely anchored so that it will not move.

Commercial operators and shippers: please click here for additional information on transporting Dangerous Cargo.

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