Reserve and Plan

10 Travel Tips to Ensure a Smooth Sailing

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Whether you are preparing for your first trip with us or you're one of our regular customers, the following 10 tips will help to ensure your journey is smooth sailing from start to finish.

  1. Give yourself lots of extra time. Plan to be at the terminal at least 30 minutes before the scheduled sailing time and even earlier during busy periods

  2. Not sure about check-in times? Here's everything you need to know

  3. Reservations are recommended especially during busy travel times. If you've booked a trip with us make sure you get to the ticket booth between 30 and 60 minutes prior to the scheduled sailing time. And when you arrive at the terminal, tell our ticket agent you have a reservation right away. Need to make a reservation? Book online now.

  4. Credit cards (VISA, MasterCard, American Express) are accepted on most routes for payment of fares and onboard purchases, except on our Brentwood Bay-Mill Bay route. Debit cards can only be used at self-serve kiosks and at our Northern route terminals.   

  5. If you'd prefer a quieter crossing, our popular sailing times page shows you which sailings are busiest on our major routes between Vancouver and Vancouver Island and the Sunshine Coast. Very helpful if you want to find a 'ferry less travelled'.

  6. Before you leave home, check our Service Notice and Current Conditions pages for the latest information on the day’s sailings. @BCFerries Twitter feed also works, we tweet updates regularly throughout the day. is another great online resource, providing details on highway conditions throughout British Columbia.

  7. Travelling as a foot passenger? Where possible, we recommend taking public transit or arranging for someone to drop you off at the terminal as our parking lots fill up quickly. Learn more about hand baggage service available for foot passengers. 

  8. Taking a four-legged friend along for the ride? Remember that most pets need to stay on the car deck during the voyage, and it's a good idea to bring some water for the journey. Some of our larger vessels have dedicated pet areas with heating, kennels, seating and access to water. Details are available on our Travel with Pets page.

  9. Travelling by bicycle? Check our Cycling with BC Ferries page for all the facts on ticketing, loading and unloading procedures. 

  10. If you require special assistance, check out our information on accessibility and the services available to ensure you have a safe and comfortable journey.

A reminder that BC Ferries has harmonized its safety practices with Canadian ferry operators relating to Transport Canada regulations prohibiting passengers from remaining in their vehicle on any closed deck on a vessel that is underway. Learn more.

Have a great trip!