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April Fools: Ferry service contemplates dog boarding passes, travel ambassadors

Corporation communications staffer Skye Tarry-Orr announced the initiative on April 1
Beau, the Basset/Beagle, models a life vest, similar to one's potentially coming to BC Ferries vessels.

To ensure dogs travelling aboard BC Ferries sailings are safe in the event of an emergency, the corporation is exploring issuing boarding cards to canines on its vessels.

Coast Reporter learned of the initiative on April 1 from recently hired corporation communications staffer Skye Tarry-Orr. She said a pilot project would normally be planned before new service additions that the Langdale/Horseshoe Bay route’s Queen of Surrey, could be a candidate for a program “test run.”

Safety first

If introduced, there would be a set quantity of dog-friendly floatation vests added to the safety equipment of vessels included in the program trial. While it is proposed that the animals would travel fare-free (similar to children under 7), having human companions obtain a dog boarding pass could become required to ensure there are enough life vests for the number of canines checked in for any particular sailing.

The testing of a new dog boarding pass program could also provide BCF with data on the demand for travel for canines, according to Tarry-Orr. Those details could support introduction of new on-board services such as the introduction of dog treat vending machines.

Also possible is the employment of canine “travel ambassadors," dogs in BCF uniforms, assigned to provide welcoming “butt sniffs” and tail wag greetings to help travellers of their species relax and enjoy the voyage. In the communications officer’s view, securing jobs with BCF could be an opportunity for local pets to access an income stream; something many dog families have pointed out that their canine should start exploring as an alternative to lazing on the couch or barking at birds in the backyard all day.

Views from the target audience

Coast Reporter reached out to Bianca Lessard, an English Spaniel who resides in Halfmoon Bay for her reaction to the potential change. Lessard indicated while she was “OK” with being required to obtain a ferry boarding pass, she was not interested in joining any workforce. She expressed the view that she has never been “a career gal” and prefers to focus on her beauty rest.

Nellie Copp, a Standard Poodle who calls Roberts Creek home, was also consulted. She has let her owner know she loves the secure feeling that wearing a jacket provides her and that she would welcome the addition of having appropriate life vests on board for her much-loved ferry trips to visit family on the Lower Mainland.

Seven year old Basset/Beagle cross Beau Jordison from Madeira Park told us she was "uninterested" in the proposal. She expressed the preference to remain at home with “the world’s best dogsitter” when her family travels off-Coast via BC Ferries.

To our readers (including dog-owners too wrapped up in what their pooches are doing to notice the increasing implausibility of this report) Happy April Fools day!  And to BCF, a Skye Terrier in head office would be awesome and relaxing, don’t ya’ think?