North to Alaska – Should You Take the Ferries with Dogs? Part 1

This past summer we visited Alaska, Yukon and BC with our standard poodle Toby. We traveled with a travel trailer and took the Black Ball Ferry, BC Ferry and the Alaska Ferry up to Alaska and then drove back on the Alaska Highway. So can you take your dog on these ferries, which travel hundreds of miles between ports at times and can transport you and your vehicles thousands of miles on a trip between the lower 48 or BC and Alaska? You can, but there are many restrictions and that can make it difficult. Here is a summary of the rules and operations as it relates to pets on the Black Ball Ferry, the BC Ferry and the Alaska Ferry System. The first part is about the Black Ball Ferry. The BC Ferry and the Alaska Ferry will follow in parts 2 and 3.

The Black Ball Ferry

This ferry takes you in about 90 minutes between Port Angeles, Washington and Victoria, BC, a distance of about 25 miles. Victoria is on Vancouver Island so it must be accessed either by ferry from the U.S. or from Vancouver, BC. The Black Ball Ferry can take your car, your motor home or any other RV across. Your dog is also allowed. On the Black Ball Ferry your dog must stay in your vehicle or on a leash or in a carrier on the outside deck on the ferry. They are not allowed in the inside lounges. However, we are happy to have ferries that allow dogs in outside areas as neither the BC Ferry or the Alaska ferry allow dogs off of the car deck at all. It can get windy or chilly, which won’t usually bother a dog, but some owners may not be too happy about it. We kept our dog in our travel trailer on the ferry, but only because we wanted to see how he would do on this shorter ride before we took the significantly longer ferries in a few days. A ferry ride on the Black Ball Ferry to visit Victoria and Vancouver Island and the dog-friendly Butchart Gardens is also a worthwhile vacation.

Here is a link to further information on the Black Ball Ferry

One Response to “North to Alaska – Should You Take the Ferries with Dogs? Part 1”

  1. Claire Nelson says:

    We have taken a dog on this ferry many times. it is not a long trip so he just sleeps in the car. No worries. I live in the Bay Area and drive to Cottage Grove the first day and up to Port Angeles (Red Lion Inn) the second day and take the first ferry out. You can make reservations but since they save spaces for non-reservations, you can get on if you get in line early. This is a very pleasant experience.

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