Dogs – and cats – are getting their day on BC Ferries … at least on some routes as part of an ongoing pilot project.
This spring, dogs on leashes and cats in carriers travelling with their owners on the Horseshoe Bay – Departure Bay, Comox – Powell River and Earls Cove – Saltery Bay routes, will be allowed on the upper outside decks on select vessels. A 60-day survey will be available onboard for both customers and employees to gain feedback on the new pet area, BC Ferries said in a release.
The pilot project expansion follows last fall’s successful implementation on the vessel Malaspina Sky, between Earls Cove and Saltery Bay on the Sunshine Coast. BC Ferries said it received “pawsitive” feedback from pet owners and their furry friends, and with approximately 1,000 pets travelling on the ship during the pilot, 90 per cent of survey respondents were in favour of expanding the pet areas to the outer decks of other ferries.
With the number of passengers travelling on BC Ferries with pets increasing to 13.7 per cent in 2020, from 5.5 per cent in 2018, here’s what pet owners can expect on the designated ferries:
- Owners must keep their dogs on a one-metre leash at all times and cats must be in a travel carrier while on the outer decks.
- Access to the area will be via a designated stairwell, with restricted elevator entry for those with accessibility needs. Paw prints on the deck mark access points.
- Pets must stay in the designated pet area when on the outer passenger decks. Waste bags and water bowls will be provided and the area will be routinely cleaned.
- While BC Ferries loves all animals, only on-leash dogs (with a limit of two dogs per owner) and cats in carriers are safe on the upper outer decks.
As a reminder, BC Ferries asks drivers to turn off their car alarms while parked on the decks of vessels. Motion can set them off and the noise alarms pets on the vehicle decks.
Plan your adventures throughout the West Coast at westcoasttraveller.com and follow us on Facebook and Instagram @thewestcoasttraveller. And for the top West Coast Travel stories of the week delivered right to your inbox, sign up for our weekly Armchair Traveller newsletter!