Queen of Oak Bay returns to the water with better pet areas

Areas now have kennels, heating and more comfortable benches

The Queen of Oak Bay now has better pet areas

The Queen of Oak Bay is back on the Horseshoe Bay-Departure Bay route after a $30,000 upgrade, BC Ferries said Wednesday.

The vessel now has a new steering gear system, an upgraded bridge, a bigger gift shop with change rooms, a family room, and more power outlets with USB ports.

But the biggest thing passengers might notice is better pet areas.

If they’re not in a car, dogs and other pets often have to stay in a designated space on the car deck, where it’s can be dark, windy and cold.

The areas now have kennels, radiant heating, more comfortable benches, and dog poop bags and hand sanitizer. Also coming are new PA speakers so if you’re in the pet areas, you can hear the safety announcements.

The additions were designed with the Society of British Columbia Veterinarians.

BC Ferries said the Coastal Renaissance, Queen of Alberni and Queen of Cowichan already have the pet-friendly upgrades. This spring, the plan is to install them on the the Queen of New Westminster, Queen of Cumberland, Spirit of Vancouver Island and Spirit of British Columbia.