Accessibility

At Marine Atlantic, we’re committed to providing the highest level of service. This means our staff is trained to accommodate the needs of all passengers and we’re happy to offer many types of assistance to persons with disabilities to make your journey a safe and enjoyable one. While you’re travelling with us please feel free to ask any member of our crew for information or assistance. 

As a federally regulated marine transportation service provider, Marine Atlantic is subject to the Accessible Transportation for Persons with Disabilities Regulations* from the Government of Canada, which has the goal of removing barriers to transportation for persons with disabilities, guidelines we’re completely on board with. 

Do you have a suggestion or a concern about the accessibility of our service? We’re always looking for ways to develop and improve services for individuals with disabilities, so please reach out to Customer Relations so we can continue to make our service even better. 

* Applicable sections: 1–25, 28, 31–35, 37–39, 42, 46, 48–61, 134–138, 140, 142–144, 153, 164, 178, 212–223, 225–231, 236–238, and 243.



We can’t wait to welcome you on board!

So we can prepare for your journey, we ask that you give us as much advance notice of your requests as possible (we recommend a minimum of 48 hours). We want to make sure we provide all the assistance or accessible services that you need for your trip. When you make your booking with us, just let us know how we can help. 

For some requests, we may ask for additional information or documents. Are you a regular traveler? We can keep your documentation on file for up to three years for use during subsequent travel.

Support Persons

Require assistance during your trip?

You can request that a support person accompany you if you need help with any of the following while you travel:

  • eating meals, taking medication, using the washroom
  • transferring to and from a passenger seat
  • orientation or communication
  • physical assistance in the event of an emergency

Please include the support person and the person requiring assistance in the same booking.

two women interact beside window inside building

Service and Emotional Support Animals

If you need the assistance of a certified service animal while travelling, please notify us at least 48 hours in advance of your trip so we can make the necessary travel arrangements and answer any questions that come up.

At check in, be prepared to show an identification card or other document issued by an organization or person specializing in service animal training. Documentation must identify the person with a disability and show that the service animal has been individually trained to perform a task to assist them with a need related to their disability. 

We do not accept documentation from online, paid certification sites that do not include animal training. If we cannot verify an animal’s certification, we may restrict the areas it can visit and require the use of a muzzle.

Service animals must be controlled with a leash, tether or harness during travel.

Travelling with a service animal other than a dog? Please contact us for more information.

service animal dog

Accommodations

For passengers with reduced mobility, our adapted, fully accessible cabins feature adjustable beds, modified electrical controls, safety grab bars, and lowered coat racks so you can travel in complete comfort.

We recommend booking accessible accommodations as far in advance as possible. 

Accessible Cabins - MV Atlantic Vision

With full accessibility features, adapted cabins include four beds (one with grab bars), private washroom with wheelchair accessible shower, sink and toilet, lowered coat racks, and visual doorbell for passengers who are deaf or hard of hearing. 
 
Additional features include: 

  • Linens, duvet, and pillow
  • Towels and face cloths
  • Hair dryer and mirror
  • Desk and chair
  • TV with remote control
  • Lowered light switches and pull string emergency alarm
  • One power outlet (110 volt), and one shaving outlet (110 volt)
  • Announcement system
ma-vision-amenities-071.jpg

Accessible Cabins - MV Blue Puttees

With full accessibility features, these cabins feature one adjustable bed, one upper and one lower 31" bed, and have a private washroom with wheelchair accessible shower, sink, and toilet. 
 
Additional features include: 

  • Linens, duvet, and pillow
  • Towels and face cloths
  • Hair dryer and mirror
  • Desk and chair
  • TV with remote control
  • Lowered light switches and pull string emergency alarm
  • Secure grab bars and lowered coat racks
  • Visual doorbell for passengers who are deaf or hard of hearing
  • Three power outlets (110 volts), and one shaving outlet (110 volts)
  • Announcement system
Blue Putees Cabin Doors

Accessible Cabins - MV Highlanders

With full accessibility features, these cabins feature one adjustable bed, one upper and one lower 31" bed, and have a private washroom with wheelchair accessible shower, sink, and toilet. 
 
Additional features include: 

  • Linens, duvet, and pillow
  • Towels and face cloths
  • Hair dryer and mirror
  • Secure grab bars and lowered coat racks
  • Lowered light switches and pull string emergency alarm
  • Visual doorbell for passengers who are deaf or hard of hearing
  • TV with remote control
  • Desk and chair
  • Three power outlets (110 volts), and one shaving outlet (110 volts)
  • Announcement system
woman sits on bed with service dog on floor beside her

Accessible Services Available

Service Animal Relief Areas

For your convenience, you’ll find relief areas for service animals located at each terminal.

  • North Sydney Terminal
    • Checked-In Passengers—Once you leave the terminal building through the main sliding doors at Exit 2 after you’ve gone through security, turn left and go straight (towards the back of the building) for about 41 meters or 135 feet. The designated service animal and pet relief area is in the grassy area on the left and is marked with accessible signage.  
    • Public Entrance—Once you leave the terminal building through the main sliding doors at Exit 1, turn right and go straight for about 20 meters or 65 feet. The designated service animal relief area is in the grassy area on the right and is marked with accessible signage.  
  • Port aux Basques Terminal 
    • Checked-In Passengers—Once you leave the terminal building through the main doors at Exit 1 after you’ve gone through security, follow the walkway for about 4 meters or 13 feet. The designated service animal and pet relieving area is located on the right in the grassy area between the walkway and security fencing and is marked with accessible signage. 
    • Public Entrance—Leave the terminal building using the main doors on the right side at Exit 2 and follow the walkway for about 3 meters or 10 feet. The designated service animal relief area is located straight ahead in the grassy area between the walkway and security fencing and is marked with accessible signage. 
  • Argentia Terminal (Terminal closed for the season)
     
  • MV Leif Ericson – Take the elevator to deck 5. From the elevator turn left and go about 52 meters or 170 feet, then turn right and use the door on the port (left) side to get to the outside deck. Once outside, turn left and keep going for about 20 meters or 65 feet to get to the designated service animal relief area which is marked with accessible signage. 

    MV Blue Puttees – Take the elevator to deck 7 and then go about 7 meters or 25 feet to the automatic doors on the starboard (right) side of the vessel. Accessible signage posted to the right of the automatic doors show which way to go. Once outside on the open deck, turn right and go straight for about 21 meters or 70 feet. The designated service animal relief area is located inside the kennel area on the left and is marked with accessible signage. 
     
  • MV Highlanders – Take the elevator to deck 7 and then go about 7 meters or 25 feet to the automatic doors on the starboard (right) side of the vessel. Accessible signage posted to the right of the automatic doors show which way to go. Once outside on the open deck, turn right and go straight for about 21 meters or 70 feet. The designated service animal relief area is located inside the kennel area on the left and is marked with accessible signage. 
     
  • MV Atlantic Vision – Take the blue elevator to deck 10. From the elevator, turn left and go about 5 meters or 15 feet and then exit through the glass double doors on the port (left) side to access the outside deck. Once outside, turn right and keep going straight for about 30 meters or 100 feet. The designated service animal relief area is located inside the kennel area on the right and is marked with accessible signage.
Emotional Support Animals

Emotional support animals are different than certified service animals; they are not specifically trained to perform tasks directly related to a person’s disability. 

We do accept many types of emotional support animals for travel but require a minimum of 96 hours advance notice and supporting documentation. 

For more information on travelling with an emotional support animal, please contact Customer Relations.

Curbside Assistance

We can help you get to and from the main terminal areas and the curb upon request. This can include:

  • assistance in navigating or moving between the areas
  • assistance with checked and carry-on baggage
  • assistance with a wheelchair, including by providing a wheelchair for use if needed

For those passengers requiring assistance, intercoms are available at the public entrances of both our Port aux Basques and North Sydney Terminals. In Port aux Basques, the intercom is located on the white pillar outside the public entrance at Exit 2. In North Sydney, the intercom is located to the left of the main door.

Wheelchairs

Wheelchairs are available for use at all terminals and onboard all vessels. Let us know what your needs are in advance when you book, and we’ll have one ready for you.

Announcements

Flashing amber lights are activated in terminals and on vessels to indicate when verbal announcements are being made. 

For assistance, including accessing the announcement in a visual format, visit the Ticket Counter in the terminals or the Reception Desk on the vessels.

Check-In and Security

We can assist persons with disabilities through all parts of the check in and security screening procedures. That includes:

  • allowing you to advance to the front of the line at a check-in counter or ticket counter
  • assistance with checked and carry-on baggage
  • ensuring a support person or staff member is able to assist you through security

Marine Atlantic staff will also help you get to the boarding area after check-in as well as transfer you between your own mobility aid and one provided by us as requested.

Loading

Early Boarding

Persons with disabilities may request early boarding if you:

  • require assistance with boarding or need extra time to board
  • have a visual impairment and request a description of the layout of the vessel
  • have requested to clean your passenger seat to remove any potential allergens

Parking

Accessible vehicle lanes are located closer to terminal buildings and arrangements can be made for passengers or commercial customers upon request. 

Dropping someone off? Marine Atlantic offers accessible parking for visitors to the terminals. Look for spots marked with standard accessible parking signage.  

If you need your vehicle to be parked close to an elevator onboard the vessel, please let our staff know upon check-in, so your vehicle can be placed in a specific lane.

When boarding, please turn on your vehicle’s four-way flashers to let crew members know you need to be placed near an elevator. Due to the specific placement on the vehicle deck, you may not necessarily board the vessel at the beginning of the loading process.

Getting Settled Onboard

Marine Atlantic crew are happy to provide assistance to persons with disabilities in boarding and disembarking, including:

  • moving between the vehicle and passenger decks 
  • assisting with transferring between a mobility aid and the passenger seat before departure and on arrival at the destination
  • in the case of a person who is blind or has any other visual impairment, describing to the person, the layout of the ferry, including the location of washrooms and exits, and the location and operation of any operating controls at the person’s passenger seat
  • assisting the person in moving between their passenger seat and a washroom, including assisting them in transferring between their passenger seat and an on-board wheelchair
Shuttle Bus Service

Passengers travelling without vehicles can travel between the vessel and the terminal on Marine Atlantic’s shuttle bus service. Our buses are fully accessible, including rear access wheelchair lifts that can accommodate up to 800 pounds on a platform measuring 33 by 51 inches.

Safety Video Alternatives

The safety video we show at the start of every crossing is closed captioned for accessibility. Onboard crew can also provide a copy of the dialogue in an alternate format upon request. 

Crew members can also provide an individual safety briefing to any persons with disabilities to make sure important safety information is communicated and to answer any questions or concerns.

Food Services

The Marine Atlantic team is happy to help persons with disabilities in our onboard restaurants and snack bars. 

In the case of a person who is blind or has any other visual impairment:

  • describing to the person, if a meal is offered on board, all the food and beverages that are offered for consumption or providing a menu in large print 

If a meal is served on board to the person:

  • assisting the person with the meal by opening packages, identifying food items and their location, and cutting large food portions
Mobility Aid Maximums

Our vessels can accommodate all standard mobility aids. 

Elevators on our vessels have door openings of at least 36 inches and a minimum capacity of 1,000 kg. 

Please contact us if you require more information or would like to ask specific questions.

Website

Marine Atlantic is committed to the highest levels of customer satisfaction, and that includes here on our website. To make sure we are providing an online experience that is full and equal for persons with disabilities, our website conforms with generally recognized and accepted standards for website accessibility including WCAG 2.0 and ATAG 2.0 guidelines.

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