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Old 02-03-2023, 01:43 PM   #1
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Propane and Ferries

I have a 2003 Class A Coachmen Cross Country that is equipped with a single 174 pound propane tank. I am planning on moving from Ontario to Vancouver Island in the coming year. The only way to get the motorhome onto the island is by ferry, either from Port Angeles in Washington or from various locations on the British Columbia coast. I have been in contact with BC Ferries regarding the Dangerous Goods (DG) implications of the propane tank. Their answers have been somewhat contradictory.

The DG regulations allow for carriage of up to 25kg (55 pounds) or 50 litre water capacity in a propane tank. If the tank capacity is greater than that amount, there must be the means to demonstrate the actual content of the tank. If that is not possible, the tank must be emptied, purged and rendered inert with Nitrogen or similar inert gas.

The tank on my bus has a direct reading gauge which indicates Empty to Full in quarter tank increments. Given the tank capacity, a volume of propane of less than 30% total capacity would meet the 25kg (or less) requirement. Would this gauge reading be sufficient to allow embarkation on the ferry?

Has anyone had specific experience with this issue and what was the solution/outcome? Likewise, has anyone had any experience with having a tank purged and then charged with nitrogen - where was it done and at what cost?

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Old 02-03-2023, 01:49 PM   #2
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I have friend that goes from the mainland to the island on a regular basis. She has never been asked about the quantity of propane, just if the propane is shut off at the tank
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Old 02-03-2023, 01:49 PM   #3
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Here's the way it works...

Pull up to the toll booth. "How many propane tanks"?


"OK, here's your tags. Make sure your valves are shut and tagged"!

Sailed on these ferries hundreds of times. Probably 50 or so driving RV'S.
Ben & Sharon
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Old 02-03-2023, 10:26 PM   #4
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96 Wideglide has it right for the BC ferries. Don't ask don't tell and that is what will happen. My only concern would be if the extra large tank was obviously visible. Then you might have a problem. On the Victoria/Port Angeles ferry they don't even ask about propane. My tank is a 30 gallon tank or about 120 liters and I was not even aware that at that size it might be an issue. Just came across Vancouver to Sidney Tuesday. How many propane tanks? Two. Here are your tags. Done.

Similar issue with dive tanks with compressed enriched air (32% O2 instead of 21%). If you ask you get into a world of regulations about carrying "dangerous goods". You learn very quickly to just carry the tanks on - nobody cares - and the 32% tanks are no more dangerous than the 21%. (100% O2 is a completely different animal and requires special handling.)
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Old 02-04-2023, 01:02 PM   #5
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Yes, except for the occasional freak employee, donít ask, donít tell is the common denominator on the B.C. ferries and the Wa.St. ferries too. They just want them turned-off.
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