Frequently Asked Questions

How long is the crossing between Yarmouth, NS and Portland, ME?

The crossing is approximately 5.5 hours.

Do I need a reservation?

Booking in advance is recommended to ensure space on a particular sailing, you can make a reservation by calling 1 877-762-7245 or visiting

What information do I need to make a reservation?

  • Passport or VISA is required for entry to Canada or USA; permanent resident card; enhanced driver’s license; passport card
  • Date of birth for everyone in your party
  • Credit card, MasterCard or Visa
  • License plate number, if you’re bringing a vehicle (overall length and height of oversize vehicles or vehicles carrying items on or behind the vehicle, ie. Bike or kayak rack)

What time should I arrive at the departing terminal?

We are an international ferry service and a secure facility. You must arrive at least 1 hour prior to departure.

I booked tickets for The CAT online but did not receive a boarding card. What do I need to board the vessel?

Boarding cards for The CAT ferry are printed at check in (the day of travel). All passengers on the reservation must be present at check in to present their passport for ID verification. If travelling in a vehicle, you must also have your vehicle license plate number.

What happens if my crossing is cancelled?

In event of a cancelled crossing, Bay Ferries, operators of The CAT, will send you an email advisory and options on how to rebook or cancel your reservations.

If you have not provided us with an email address, our agents will attempt to call you as soon as possible.

Please be sure to give us contact information that you will have access to while travelling. If you are travelling out of country, please keep cell phone data access in mind.

When in doubt, please call our contact center or terminals – they will be able to advise you of service interruptions and help you rebook/cancel.

What travel documents do I need?

Travellers are required to show a valid passport to gain entry into both Canada and the United States. For more information on identification requirements, please check with Canada Border Services Agency and US Customs and Border Protection at

What is the customs procedure?

At check in, passengers will be issued a Customs Declaration form to complete before arrival to their destination. Upon arrival to port, all passengers will present themselves to Customs for entry into the country.

Those passengers who have travelled via vehicle, will drive to a Customs checkpoint where they will present documents for entry.

Those passengers who have travelled without a vehicle, will present themselves to Customs with their bags in hand.

Please be advised that only Customs can determine if you are allowed to enter the country. Bay Ferries Limited cannot be held responsible in any way for individuals who are inadmissible or who do not hold the necessary documentation to enter Canada or USA.

I am travelling without a vehicle, where will my friends or family pick me up?

All passengers are required to clear Customs before they have access to public areas. With this in mind, family and friends should be asked to pick you up at the ticket office.

Is parking available at the terminals?

Parking is not available at the terminals but there is parking available nearby. Please plan ahead and leave ample time to get to the terminal from the parking facility.
To arrange parking in Yarmouth please call 1-902-740-3791
To arrange parking in Portland please visit

Is The CAT wheelchair accessible?

We offer a crew operated lift from the car deck to the passenger deck. All passenger amenities are located on one level.

How do RV’s board and exit The CAT ?

In Portland, RV’s will back on and back off the vessel. It is a very straightforward process and you will be directed by a very experienced vessel and ground crew. Our crews assist and provide you with directions and guidance throughout the short loading and unloading procedures. We do ask that you ensure you arrive at the terminal 1 hour prior to departure.
In Yarmouth, RV’s will drive on and drive off.

Can I remain in my vehicle during the crossing?

No – safety regulations do not permit passengers to remain in their vehicles.

Can I return to my vehicle during the crossing?

For safety reasons, there is no access to the vehicle deck during passage.

Are there passenger cabins onboard?


What seating is available onboard?

Seating aboard The CAT is first come, first served and cannot be reserved (with exception of motorcoach groups who have made prior arrangements). We offer a variety of seats, including airplane style seating. You’ll also find several tables and first class styled leather seats throughout.

Is there an outside deck?

There are three access points to outside – two side decks which can be found at the top of two stairwells, leading to/from the vehicle deck and a large deck at the back of the ship. For safety reasons, the Captain will close the back deck while getting underway.

Can I smoke onboard?

Smoking is permitted on the starboard side deck during the crossing. The interior of The CAT and the back deck are both smoke-free.

With the Cannabis Act coming into force in Canada on October 17, 2018, how does this apply to travel on The CAT?

The Cannabis Act will not change Canada’s border rules. Cannabis is illegal in most countries. As a traveler, you have a responsibility to be informed about the laws of the countries you intend to visit. Taking cannabis, and products containing it, across  international borders, including the Canada – United States border, will remain illegal and can result in serious criminal penalties in Canada and in other countries.  Transporting cannabis used for medical purposes will also remain illegal.

Can I shop for souvenirs onboard?

The Scotia Market Gift Shop is located amid ship and features authentic Nova Scotian products.

Do you have a duty free store onboard?

We do not have duty free at this time.

Is there wifi onboard?

We do not have wifi onboard, however we do have a business centre which includes three computers with internet access.

What entertainment do you offer?

We offer two movies on every crossing and live entertainment on certain dates throughout the season (Please check our performance schedule at

Is alcohol served on board the ship?

The Forchu Lounge carries a selection of Nova Scotian wines and craft beers, as well as spirits (some locally made in NS) and cocktails.

What dining options are available onboard?

Forchu Lounge – Digby bacon wrapped scallops, bacon wrapped miso salmon and assorted cheese plates.
Scotia Market – The CAT’s primary food service offers fresh made breakfast, lunch, and dinner, daily. Options for those with dietary restrictions are available.
Sip at Sea Café – Over 20 loose teas, espresso based beverages, smoothies and made in house gelato’s.

Do you have a children’s area?

Little Mates play area offers a selection of children’s movies, toys and books.

Are pets allowed onboard?

Dogs and cats are permitted for travel on The CAT and can remain comfortably in their owner’s vehicle or in our onboard kennel area. For safety reasons, pet owners are not permitted to visit pets during the voyage, therefore we ask that you ensure your furry friend has adequate food, water and fresh air. Crew members monitor the vehicle deck during the voyage and will be sure to make pet owners aware of a distressed pet. Guests traveling with pets should book as far in advance as possible to ensure kennel availability. Appropriate veterinarian-issued certificates may be required.

Do my pets require travel documents?

Your dog must be healthy and have a valid rabies vaccine certificate to enter the United States. Puppies younger than 4 months old cannot enter the United States. For more information, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for information on animal importation, Service dogs must also meet requirements.

How do I apply for a job position on The CAT?

There are three partnerships that work together seamlessly to provide an enjoyable on board passenger experience. If you are a safety focused, team worker, with strong customer service skills and want to work with people from the US and Canada, serving passengers from around the world, please consider working for one of our partners:

Vessel and Cabin crew: Seaward Services Inc., is a proud member of the HMS Global Maritime family of companies and is contracted by Bay Ferries to provide vessel and cabin crew onboard The CAT. Employment opportunities on the Alakai can be found here.

Tourism services: Yarmouth & Acadian Shores offers tourism information at our onboard Visitor Information Center.

Concession & Gift Shop retail services: Sip Café, based on Main Street in downtown Yarmouth, offers fresh made goods and specialty coffees on board the CAT. Sip also operates the Scotia Market.


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