Change Pet Conditions on the Spirit of Tasmania Ferry
Change Pet Conditions on the Spirit of Tasmania Ferry
People who want to travel with their pets to or from Tasmania are affected by this problem.
To the Spirit of Tasmania/ TT-Line
We, the pet loving passengers or potential passengers of the ferry service you provide, request better accommodations for the pets travelling with you to or from Tasmania. With this being the only ferry service to Tasmania, we expect more, at the bare minimum we want our pets to be safe on the voyage.
We note many complaints about the service provided, these include size of cages available for larger dogs, water dishes too tall for small dogs to reach, lack of staffing, the engines being extremely noisy for the pets, cats and dogs being housed in the same room, no surveillance cameras in the room to either observe or to check for lost pets, no air conditioning or heating, bolts not being secure and padlocks being discouraged, pets being splashed with water, no details of owners being put on the pet’s cage for emergencies or collection, no visitation by owners or staff, animals being checked only every four hours, no toilet breaks permitted or available, water coming from the side of the boat into the pet kennel area and more.
The most distressing instances involve pets being ‘lost’ while in the kennels and not being found, with the owner unsure if they fell overboard or were stolen. More commonly the pets suffer extreme stress and their owners are extremely unhappy. Other passengers complain about the frequent howling, crying and barking of distressed dogs.
This is entirely unacceptable for pet owners.
Though there are no consequences other than publicity of these concerns and some loss of people travelling with pets to Tasmania, we encourage you to consider your pet loving passengers and the pets themselves and make some changes.
If it does not change, more pets will be distressed, traumatised, uncomfortable or even lost. More owners will be distressed and unable to travel to Tasmania with their pets with confidence.
The basic changes we suggest include
Safe bolts across the kennels.
A padlock system where the staff and the owner have a key.
Kennels of different and larger sizes for larger dogs.
Surveillance cameras with recorded footage for security and prevention of lost pets.
Regular, frequent checks from staff.
Water bowls that are low enough for smaller pets to reach.
Pet ‘check ins’ where the names, contact details and location of the owners on the ferry are noted for emergencies and for collection safety.
The more advanced changes we suggest include
Streaming video of the kennel rooms accessible by passengers
Air conditioning and heating
A dry room where there is no risk of animals falling overboard or being splashed
A quieter room with soundproofing to prevent the noise from the engines from being too loud and to stop the noise of the animals disturbing the passengers.
Restrained pets being allowed into a pet friendly deck or room with their owners.
Pets being allowed into pet friendly cabins.
We sincerely hope that The Spirit of Tasmania management will take these suggestions into consideration to provide a better experience.
The Spirit of Tasmania are comissioning new ferries. Now is the time to tell them our suggestions and concerns and how much this matters to us.
To reach Tasmania, people must either take a plane, or take a ferry from Geelong to Tasmania. There is only one ferry company available- The Spirit of Tasmania. Many people wish to travel with their pets, and assume that the ferry would be a pet friendly option and less stressful than the plane. However pets must be kept in the kennels, or passengers can sign a waiver so their pet can stay in their car. The voyage is 8-11 hours. The voyage can be rocky and seasickness is common in humans and pets. The kennels are on a car deck with an open space at floor level for ventilation. This ventilation only works if the boat is moving, which makes it freezing in Winter and very hot in Summer while docked. The open space often leaves the floor soaking wet and the pets splashed. If a kennel opened by mistake, a pet could get through that hole.
It has been reported that there are only small and medium size kennels. Each kennel is lined with a piece of paper, owners have to bring their own bedding for the dogs, but there is no space for a toilet corner. The water containers are a tall trough. It has been reported that pets can struggle to reach it and that the pets are only checked every 4 hours to refill their water and nothing else. Many have reported that the bolts across the cage were ‘loose’ and with the rocking of the boat they were concerned it would open. The kennels are on the car deck and for humans safety, no passengers are allowed into the car deck or kennels during the voyage. In a fairly recent instance of a pet being ‘lost’ on the voyage, there were no security cameras in the kennels. This led to the owner of the lost pet not knowing where her pet went or if someone took him.
We believe that a system such as that on the boat to Kangaroo Island could be implemented, where there is a room that owners of appropriately restrained pets can stay in together. It has a vinyl floor and cleanable seating. Enough people travel with pets that this would be viable and useful. There could also be kennels around the edges for pets to be placed in while their humans visit amenities or collect food.