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Old 02-09-2016, 03:06 PM   #1
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1983 31' Airstream310
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Car ferries

I have run into a number of threads that people have had problems embarking/disembarking ferries with trailers. As a person who rode B.C Ferries more times than I care to remember I have also witnessed all sorts of mayhem at ferry ramps.

FYI To all:

When using ferries of any sort anywhere, pay close attention to high and low tides. Try to schedule your embarking just before a high tide, and disembarking just after a high tide, with the middle of your trip being high tide. The reason being is that at high tide the jetty ramps are at there most level point in relation to the wharf. When embarking or disembarking at or close to high tide the ramp and movable jetty are almost completely level; at low tide the ramp and jetty are at its steepest.


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Old 02-09-2016, 03:33 PM   #2
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Great tip! I have to admit that ferries still make me a little queasy. So narrow...

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Old 02-09-2016, 03:51 PM   #3
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Not so sure the blanket rule -- high tide good, low tide bad -- applies to all ferry terminals and ramps. It might be a good idea to check with the ferry operator as to the best time to load a trailer in the high/low tide cycle. In my experience most ferry companies have engineered their ramps to accommodate most trailers at most tides. Is dead low tide a good time to avoid? Probably . . . but again a call to the ferry company should allay concerns . . .

PS -- I have been on plenty of ferries which require going UP a fairly steep ramp to get on the boat, so not all ferry boat main decks are level with the loading wharf at high tide. It depends on the actual location.
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Old 02-09-2016, 05:06 PM   #4
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We were advised not to board twice recently. Once in Louisiana and again in Texas. Both times due to low tide. The one ferry in between was large enough that it didn't matter.
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Old 02-09-2016, 05:19 PM   #5
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We were in Port Aransas, Tx recently when they had an extra low tide and we heard they were not boarding travel trailers on the ferry. Ordinarily I don't think it makes any difference as I have never noticed any difference in the ramp. Tide heights in Texas are small compared to further north however.
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Old 02-10-2016, 04:39 PM   #6
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I might give a shout-out to the Kootenay Lake ferry in southeastern BC-- it's free, there are no tides, and takes you for 35 minutes over some drop-dead gorgeous scenery.
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Old 02-18-2016, 09:44 AM   #7
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My experience leads me to think there is no way to predict which ferry may or may not be accessible for a trailer without first seeing the ferry operate.

I rode the Cedar Island/Ocracoke ferry over 800 times for work (no trailer) and over 20 years watched every type of vehicle and trailer load and depart with no problems.

On the Alyeska Caravan in 2014 we all crossed the Yukon at Dawson City on their one-horse ferry with no problem, although at first glance it looked shaky and the approaches were made of sand.

Here in Oregon we live about 15 minutes from the Wheatland ferry which crosses the Willamette river just above Salem, and I wouldn't dream of taking my 25 Flying Cloud across on that because of the steep downgrade approach.

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