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Old 03-19-2015, 11:04 PM   #1
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BC ferries and reservations

Hi all,

The family will be heading on a canada/alaska adventure this summer. We will be taking our 32 foot Winnie Vista on to Vancouver Island in July. How important is it to get advanced reservations on the BC ferry. and how far out should I book them?

Thanks for your help,

Ippongachi
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Old 03-19-2015, 11:25 PM   #2
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I have never done a reservation on the BC ferries, with or without the RV. I understand that the WA State ferry from Anacortes is cheaper. You definately want a reservation for that route.
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Old 03-20-2015, 12:03 AM   #3
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route

Heading into Vancouver Island from Horseshoe bay, BC. heading into USA from Victoria to Port Angeles.
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Old 03-20-2015, 02:33 PM   #4
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If you happen to need the ferry during or close to a holiday weekend, you may have to wait one sailing (2 hours) at most, other than July to September, all weekends have been sort of busy in the past....if ur not patient then a reservation is the way to go.....$18 CDN....I have never & will never pay it......my 2 cents!!!!!!
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Old 03-20-2015, 07:05 PM   #5
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Yep, Logansrun pretty much sums it up. The ferries run every day many times a day. Long weekends can be a bit of a challenge but a one or two sailing wait is about as bad as it gets. You can book online I believe if you choose to do so but if you have an open schedule and are not having to be anywhere particular it probably isn't necessary. Not to mention you have two options for Vancouver Isl from the mainland. Tswassen or Horshoebay.

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Old 03-21-2015, 12:53 AM   #6
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I've taken the Anacortes Ferry to Friday Harbor without reservation several times.....but you may have to wait for the next one.
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Old 03-21-2015, 01:52 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by coupevilleDF View Post
I have never done a reservation on the BC ferries, with or without the RV. I understand that the WA State ferry from Anacortes is cheaper. You definately want a reservation for that route.

I just did the calculation on this including exchange rates and the difference in the fares only amounts to a couple of bucks. Depending on what the OP wants to do, you could go in one way and out the other. The Anacortes route has only one sailing per day as opposed to a dozen or so with BC Ferries. A reservation in that case would probably be a smart thing to do. The last time I was on the WS DOT Ferry system, I also felt that in general the boats weren't in as good shape or had the same level of amenities (at least for the ferries on the Vancouver Isl. run). Probably not a big deal for a 3 hour trip but my impression nevertheless.

The Port Angeles run is a little cheaper but with only 2 sailings a day, you also are likely to need a reservation which narrows the fee difference to about $20.00 Can $16.00 US.
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Old 03-21-2015, 09:51 AM   #8
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We are heading up to BC this summer and I guess ???? we would have to keep the RV on the mainland someplace and just drive the toad for visiting the islands because propane tanks are limited to 50l on the ferries (and must be upright). Or does our 25 gallon permanently and horizontally frame mounted tank have some other way around what I'm reading. And I guess any RV over their relatively low weight limit is considered a commercial vehicle for ferry purposes?

Just trying to figure out our summer plans, options, or alternatives...
Thanks
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Old 03-21-2015, 02:14 PM   #9
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We are heading up to BC this summer and I guess ???? we would have to keep the RV on the mainland someplace and just drive the toad for visiting the islands because propane tanks are limited to 50l on the ferries (and must be upright). Or does our 25 gallon permanently and horizontally frame mounted tank have some other way around what I'm reading. And I guess any RV over their relatively low weight limit is considered a commercial vehicle for ferry purposes?

Just trying to figure out our summer plans, options, or alternatives...
Thanks
I don't believe this applies to permanently mounted propane tanks on RV's. In fact I know it doesn't because I have taken several different ferries with my Class A. You will be considered an over-height vehicle which means you will be relegated to the portions of the ship that carry freight trucks. They will make sure that you have the tanks turned off. After all, they transport liquid propane trucks to the island and there are also propane powered vehicles that travel across and they have big tanks as well.

There would be a lot of bankrupt RV parks if BC Ferries did not let Class A motorhomes over to the island. And depending what you want to do on the island, a toad isn't going to necessarily be suitable. There is a lot of territory to cover, roughly 7x the land mass of Italy. You may want to spend a couple of weeks over there.

It's not the cheapest system in the world but I will say this. BC Ferries gets the job done. The ships are generally in good shape, they are reliable with their schedules and the trip itself is quite scenic. If you are travelling up for the first time and want some tips from a "local" feel free to PM me.
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Old 03-21-2015, 02:29 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TXduo View Post
We are heading up to BC this summer and I guess ???? we would have to keep the RV on the mainland someplace and just drive the toad for visiting the islands because propane tanks are limited to 50l on the ferries (and must be upright). Or does our 25 gallon permanently and horizontally frame mounted tank have some other way around what I'm reading. And I guess any RV over their relatively low weight limit is considered a commercial vehicle for ferry purposes?

Just trying to figure out our summer plans, options, or alternatives...
Thanks
Every B.C Ferry, they will ask you how many propane tanks, ask you to turn them off, and give you appropriate # of sticky tags to put over your closed valves.
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Old 03-21-2015, 05:50 PM   #11
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Definitely different ferry configuration between WA and BC. BC ferries are ships. WA ferries are open drive on/off. The WA ferry, the Chelan, is an older boat and is showing it's age was on it on another run on Monday). As far as I know, it is the only one equipped for "international" travel although perhaps one or more of the new boats could be. That would be nice and would also provide for a few more vehicles.
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Old 08-22-2015, 10:12 PM   #12
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I've booked a return on the Chelan for 16th Sept for coach and toad 65'
In total.
Is it true that I can line up at Anacortes the evening before?
At Sidney, can I do the same? If I want to unhook and go into Victoria is that a plan for the evening.
Are there things to do if I am in the queue in Sidney.
It's an expensive exercise $450 or so but I think it's line ball with staying in a motel cause I have to leave the RV somewhere anyway if I just took the car.
With a day on 18th planned with Aboriginal Journeys to see the Bears will I need another day to go Whale Watching??
So many things to do and so little time


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Old 08-22-2015, 11:30 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by SteveSkinner View Post
I've booked a return on the Chelan for 16th Sept for coach and toad 65'
In total.
Is it true that I can line up at Anacortes the evening before?
At Sidney, can I do the same? If I want to unhook and go into Victoria is that a plan for the evening.
Are there things to do if I am in the queue in Sidney.
It's an expensive exercise $450 or so but I think it's line ball with staying in a motel cause I have to leave the RV somewhere anyway if I just took the car.
With a day on 18th planned with Aboriginal Journeys to see the Bears will I need another day to go Whale Watching??
So many things to do and so little time


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I don't know about lining up at either end but with reservations, you shouldn't need to. There are several RV parks close to Anacortes. Look at the Swinomish Casino about 10 or so miles away. There is a provincial park at Sidney. I am not sure how big a rig it can handle because we were on bicycles with a tent.
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Old 09-21-2015, 12:46 AM   #14
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All went very well
We were there an hour before departure - no waiting no delays - great trip


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