Traveling By Car Ferry: A Guide For Inexperienced Passengers

Posted on: 20 January 2016

If you are planning a trip to a coastal area, specifically an off-the-coast island destination, there is a reasonable chance that taking a car ferry will be one of your only options to gain access to the area. Even though car ferries have been in operation for since the 1960s, with little experience with this mode of travel, you may find yourself with a few questions about the whole idea. With a little knowledge about what to expect when you arrive at a port to load your car on a ferry, you will find that traveling by car ferry really is no big deal and can  be an interesting experience. 

Do you have to reserve a spot on a car ferry in advance?

In most cases, you will not be required to make advanced reservations for a trip on a car ferry and most terminals do operate constantly, back and forth throughout the day. However, some of the more popular tourist destinations do require advanced reservations because traffic can be so heavy. You should also keep in mind that if you want to schedule departure at a specific time of day, it may be best to go ahead and reserve a spot for your car in advance. 

What happens when you get to the ferry terminal?

When you get to a ferry terminal you will likely be asked for payment if you did not reserve and pre-pay online for your ferry trip. Upon payment, the terminal operator will let you know what time you should expect departure and you must be ready to drive your vehicle onto the ferry at this time. When the scheduled load time arrives, a terminal traffic director will route you to a specific lane where you should drive your vehicle onto the ship. Once on the ferry, you will continue to follow directives from on-board professionals to situate your car in the right place. 

Can you just stay in your car while the ship is moving?

This can depend on the size of the ferry in operation. Some smaller vessels, which may only carry a handful of vehicles at one time, may allow you to just stay in your car. However, small vessels are only common for very short water trips and larger ferries are much different. In most cases, larger car ferries will require that you leave your car and the parking area before the ferry sets off on its journey. Therefore, once you leave your vehicle, you may not be able to return to it until you arrive at your destination. 

For more information, talk to a professional like Love City Car Ferries Inc.