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. 

We’re always looking to develop and improve services for individuals with disabilities. Please reach out to Customer Relations for complaint resolution services or suggestions for service enhancements.

* Applicable sections: 1–25, 28, 30–35, 37–42, 46, 48–61, 134–138, 140, 142–144, 153, 164, 178, 212–221, 223-225, 227, 229, 231 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.

Accessibility Plan

2023 Progress Report

A progress update report on the corporation's activities in the 2023-2025 plan.

View Report

2023-2025 Plan

Marine Atlantic takes seriously the responsibility to remove barriers to travel for persons with disabilities.

View Report

Feedback Process

Marine Atlantic welcomes feedback on any accessibility-related items.
 

Learn More

Alternative Formats

Documents are also available in alternative formats including print, large print, braille, and audio.

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    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.

    Travelling alone?

    After check-in, our staff are available to assist persons who are not independently mobile. There are waiting areas near our ticket counters and staff will check in with passengers while they are waiting to board.

    two women interact beside window inside building

    Service Dogs

    If you need the assistance of a certified service dog while travelling, please notify us at least 96 hours in advance of your trip so we can make the necessary travel arrangements and answer any questions that come up.

    In advance of travel, you will need to submit an identification card or other document issued by an organization or person specializing in service dog training. Documentation must identify the person with a disability and show that the service dog 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 a dog’s certification, we may restrict the areas it can visit.

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

    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 - Ala'suinu

    With full accessibility features, adapted cabins include one hospital-style bed with controls, one set of bunk beds, private washroom with wheelchair-accessible shower, sink and toilet, lowered coat racks, and visual doorbell for passengers who are deaf or hard of hearing. Located near elevators.

    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
       
    Accessible cabin for Ala'suinu

    Accessible Cabins - 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 - 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 Dog Relief Areas

    For your convenience, you’ll find relief areas for service dogs 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 dog 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 dog 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 dog 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 dog relief area is located straight ahead in the grassy area between the walkway and security fencing and is marked with accessible signage.
    • Argentia Terminal 

      • Checked-In Passengers—Once you leave the terminal building through the main entrance, turn left. The designated service dog and pet relieving area is located on the left in the grassy area near the security fencing and is marked with accessible signage. 
      • Public Entrance—Once you enter the main entrance of the terminal, continue straight for about 11 meters or 35 feet until you come to a set of double exit doors located at the rear of the terminal. The designated service dog and pet relieving area is the grassy area to the rear of the terminal and is marked with accessible signage.
    • 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 dog relief area is located inside the kennel area on the left and is marked with accessible signage. 
       

    • 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 dog relief area is located inside the kennel area on the left and is marked with accessible signage. 
       

    • 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 dog relief area which is marked with accessible signage. 

    Emotional Support Animals

    Emotional support animals (ESA) are different than certified service dogs; they provide support through their presence and may be trained or untrained. 

    We accept many types of emotional support animals for travel but strongly recommend bookings are made in advance. Supporting documentation must be submitted a minimum of five business days in advance of travel. 

    Should you need further assistance after reading the information below, please contact our Customer Relations team. 

     

    ESA Booking Process

     

    After booking your passage, passengers requiring the accompaniment of an ESA must submit electronic documentation from a medical doctor or licensed mental health professional that:

    • includes the passenger’s name
    • verifies their requirement to have the animal with them during travel
    • is dated within 24 months from the intended travel date
    • includes the professional’s type of license and their full contact information
    • is signed by the medical professional

    To provide advance notice of travel with an ESA, email your booking number and required documentation to Customer Relations at [email protected]. There is no additional charge for ESAs.

    All passengers travelling with an ESA will be provided a printed copy of their itinerary at check-in, which identifies the emotional support animal has been approved for travel. Please keep this with you at all times.

    Marine Atlantic allows one ESA per passenger. Approved passengers travelling with ESAs must purchase cabin accommodations, and your ESA must be taken directly to and from the cabin upon boarding and disembarking. ESAs are permitted inside terminals if kept inside a kennel. As always, passengers are responsible for keeping control of their animal and cleaning up after them at all times.

     

    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.

    Baggage

    For your convenience, we offer a checked baggage service to any passengers travelling without a vehicle. Your items, including any mobility aids, may be checked at your departure terminal and collected upon arrival.

    Wheelchairs and Mobility Aids

    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.

    When you travel with Marine Atlantic, you are able to keep your mobility aid(s) with you at all times during travel and are not required to check or store these items. We can also temporarily store your mobility aid on board if required during your travel. Please speak with a member of our team at the Reception desk for assistance.

    Passengers can also bring a small assistive device that they require during travel including a cane, crutches, a communication device, an orthotic positioning device or a portable oxygen concentrator.

    Our vessels can accommodate most standard mobility aids. Elevators that provide access from the vehicle decks to the main passenger decks are the most restrictive. Please note the following elevator maximum dimensions:

    Ala'suinu

    • Capacity: 1,500 kg
    • Interior measurements: 85” long x 57” wide 
    • Door opening: 39” wide
    • Elevator vestibule access is approximately 60” wide x 72” long, with door openings of 35” wide

    Blue Puttees and MV Highlanders 

    • Capacity: 1,500 kg
    • Interior measurements: 79” long x 63” wide 
    • Door opening: 38” wide

    Leif Ericson 

    • Capacity: 1,150 kg
    • Interior measurements: 81” long x 56” wide
    • Door opening: 41” wide

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

     

    Announcements

    Flashing amber lights are activated in terminals and on vessels to indicate when verbal announcements are being made. At our terminals, the announcement text is also displayed on digital signage.

    For assistance, including accessing the announcement in an alternative format, visit the Ticket Counter in the terminals or Reception onboard 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.

    After check-in, our staff are available to assist persons who are not independently mobile. There are waiting areas near our ticket counters and staff will check in with passengers while they are waiting to board.

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    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

    Medical Oxygen

    Travelling with medical oxygen can be even easier if you plan ahead. Here are Marine Atlantic’s guidelines: 

    • Please advise us that you’re travelling with medical oxygen as far in advance as possible (preferably at the time of your booking).
    • We accept a maximum of 6 cylinders per person. Additionally:  
      • Cylinders with a capacity of no more than 10 litres, or Type E cylinders, are accepted for transportation.
      • Cylinders must be adequately secured in your vehicle against the movement of the vessel and stored away from sources of heat and ignition.
    • Only the amount of oxygen you require for the duration of the voyage can be taken to passenger areas, and it must be adequately secured.
      • If an additional cylinder becomes required during the voyage, a crew member will arrange for its retrieval from your vehicle.
    • The use of medical oxygen is prohibited in all smoking areas.
    • Transferring material between cylinders, including refilling smaller units, is not permitted on terminal properties or onboard vessels. 

    Medical Cannabis

    Passengers who self-identify and provide appropriate medical authorization/documentation may self-medicate in the designated smoking areas on board our vessels and at our terminal properties.

    Marine Atlantic prohibits the recreational use of cannabis on its property, at its terminals and on board its vessels.

    How do I self-identify?

    Passengers are encouraged to identify their need to use medical cannabis at the time of booking. Passengers may also present to the Ticket Office at the terminal or to Reception onboard the vessel to self-identify during travel. 

    Passengers may be asked at any time during their travel, including during any pre-boarding screening procedures, to present their documentation along with photo identification confirming their entitlement to use cannabis for medical reasons.

    What documentation do I require to use medical cannabis at Marine Atlantic facilities?

    A note from a medical practitioner alone does not meet the requirements set out by Health Canada to use medically authorized cannabis.  

    Passengers may present one of the following: 

    • A medical document as defined by Part 14 of the federal Cannabis Regulations.
    • An authorization to possess form issued by Health Canada.
    • A personal production license issued by Health Canada.
    • A registration certificate from Health Canada. 

    Passengers with appropriate medical authorization/documentation for legal cannabis use will be provided space on board our vessels and terminals to self-medicate. Passengers who do not have the appropriate documentation will be denied the use of cannabis.

    Where and how can passengers use medically authorized cannabis?

    Passengers may ingest medically authorized cannabis through smoking (rolled in cigar or cigarette papers) or vape pens, in the designated smoking areas at terminals and on board vessels. The use of bowls, pipes, bongs, or other similar paraphernalia is prohibited. Smoking is not permitted in indoor areas of terminals or vessels, including cabins.

    It is the responsibility of passengers travelling with medically authorized cannabis to ensure that their possession amount is within the allowed limit.
     

    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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