Beaver Island Boat Company

Ride the Boat!

Beaver Island...
America's Emerald Isle

Policy and Procedures

Terms and Conditions

All freight shipments are made subject to the acceptance by the customer or shipper of the expressed conditions that:

  • The sailing schedule is subject to change without notice.
  • BIBCO assumes no liability for damages or injury unless BIBCO’s negligence was the sole cause. BIBCOs’ liability shall be limited to the actual value of the item, not to exceed $100, for all injuries resulting from loss, damage or delay, unless a greater value is disclosed in writing to BIBCO and BIBCO agrees in writing to be responsible for such increased value, in which case BIBCO is authorized to charge a higher freight charge amount.
  • All claims for loss, injury or delay must be filed in writing with the BIBCO within 24 Hours after such loss, damage, injury or delay occurs.
  • Except in the case of the BIBCO’s negligence, freight or merchandise taken from the dock without being inspected shall be entirely at the risk of the owner.
  • Freight tendered for transportation by BIBCO must be properly packed and protected.

Carry on Items

  • Any item which cannot be reasonably and safely carried in hand or in one of the allowed personal freight carriers (described below) by a passenger in a single boarding must be shipped as freight. The captain may refuse transportation of any baggage consisting of articles which may jeopardize the safe operation of the vessel or safety of passengers.
  • Because the safety of our ridership is our first concern, we enforce the following restrictions:
  • The personal carrier (carry-on device) must fit within the dimensions shown below:*

Length: maximum 25” from front to back, excluding handle (as may be applicable)
Width: maximum 25” outside of wheel to outside of wheel
Height: maximum 25” from ground to top of handle.
* Exception is normal dimension of a baby carriage.

  • The carry on must be reasonably loaded
  • Four-wheeled wagons are NOT allowed as personal carry-on devices and must be shipped as freight.
  • The vessel captain or BIBCO dock personnel may, at his/her discretion, waive these requirements from time to time when the safety of passengers will not be impacted, such as during the off season or low-ridership runs, or if the vessel size and configuration permit.
  • Once on board the vessel, personal carry-on baggage must not obstruct passageways or interfere with passenger space, deckhand work areas, or safety equipment.

No Gasoline

U.S. Coast Guard regulations prevent us from carrying containers holding gasoline on any of our scheduled runs. This includes the gasoline contained in lawn mowers, weed whackers, chainsaws, etc. Please run these dry before arriving at the dock.

Firework Policy 

For the safety of all passengers, novelty style fireworks in small quantities are allowed (fireworks bought at chain stores, local grocery stores i.e. Walmart, Meijer, Target, Family Fare, etc.). Mortar style fireworks or small explosives style fireworks are not allowed to be transported on our vessels. The vessel captain or BIBCO dock personnel may, at his/her discretion, refuse transportation of fireworks. 


  • It is the responsibility of the customer to ensure that all items are packed securely for shipment. Prepare your freight as though you plan to check it for a flight or for shipment through the mail. Fragile items must be especially well wrapped for protection and clearly identified to the dock personnel.
  • Keep in mind that your freight may be loaded on steep inclines, subjected to rough seas and inclement weather, or moved to a different shipping container. Groceries and personal items should be packed in banana boxes or other suitable stackable containers so they may be shipped without damage on pallets or in cages. Improperly packed groceries and personal items are transported at the owner’s risk and may be refused shipment or require a liability waiver at the discretion of the dock personnel.
  • Plastic bags are not a secure means of shipment! Many local grocery stores keep banana boxes on hand for island customers; just ask at the checkout.
  • For your safety, access to the freight loading area is restricted to employees only.
  • Groceries and personal freight (luggage and small household items) will be shipped on most trips. Personal freight must be unloaded and checked in no later than 45 minutes before departure. We cannot guarantee that late freight will make the boat you prefer.
  • There may be occasions when space constraints will cause an early cutoff. You are not required to travel with your freight; consider carrying on perishable items and sending the rest on the next boat. Passengers traveling with a lot of personal freight are strongly encouraged to arrive at least an hour and a half before boat departure.
  • Lumber, appliances, furniture, and commercial freight must be checked in at least one and one half hour prior to departure and will be shipped on a space-available basis (usually the same day).

Mark Your Freight

Freight must be marked with your name. Markers and tags are provided in the office.

Check In with a Dock Personnel

The dock personnel will ask:

  • Is this a cash transaction? (Some frequent shippers get billed monthly.)
  • Your name
  • What you are shipping and quantities
  • With limited exceptions, freight is paid for one-way.

Off Season
At slower times we do not have a designated person on the freight dock at all times. If you arrive and do not see anyone on the dock, come to our office and we may be able to help you. After hour freight drop off/ pick-up maybe arranged at BIBCO’s discretion by calling our office to arrange a drop off or pick up time.

Freight Deliveries

The freight dock is for Drop off and Pick-up only. There are fork trucks and freight handling equipment that are potentially dangerous in such a small space. While unloading, marking, and paying for your freight, please direct other family members (especially children) to the waiting areas, or have them stay with your vehicle until you park. Likewise, we ask that you move to a designated waiting area after completing your freight transaction.

1-1/2 Hours Before Boat Departs: Deliveries must arrive ready to ship at least 1½ hours prior to boat departure time.

Boat at Dock: ­ While the boat is docked, no deliveries will be accepted. After boat has departed, bring your freight to the boat dock to prepare for the next available boat.


  • Delivery trucks must be unloaded prior to 10:00 a.m. Please refer to schedule since departure times often change.


  • Dock opens at 7:00 a.m. After the first boat departs at 8:30 a.m., freight deliveries/pick-ups are allowed until 1:00 p.m. except on Friday and Saturday when freight is processed between 8:30 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. (there are additional runs on these days, see schedule).
  • Refrigeration: ­ Limited refrigeration space is available, carefully coordinate freight requiring inside storage or refrigeration.
  • Lumber: ­Large deliveries that are not standard weekly deliveries should be coordinated with our office to ensure space is available. Call (231) 547-2311 to make arrangements.
  • Groceries, Beer, Wine, Pop & Other Large Deliveries: ­ Must be shrink wrapped and palletized no higher than 4 feet. Any stacks exceeding 4 feet in height must have pallet in the middle so that it can be broken in half.

Beaver Island
Returns to Charlevoix: ­ Return merchandise, bottles, cases, pallets, carpet, building materials, etc. to Charlevoix must be authorized by the supplier or distributor, accompanied by appropriate paperwork, labeled and coordinated with scheduled delivery day for same day pickup. Dates change seasonally, so check with them for pickup days and times.

Freight Charges

  • When having items delivered, keep in mind that most shippers do not pay for shipping on the ferry, even if you paid them a delivery fee. Be sure to clarify this with your shipper to avoid delays.
  • The easiest way to handle a shipment that will arrive while you are on the island or away is to pre-pay for the shipment and arrange for someone to pick it up for you. Stop by the office when you’re in town, or call us with a Visa or MasterCard number. The dock personnel will ask when the shipment will arrive. We will keep the pre-payment on file until your shipment arrives.
  • Building Supplies: Building supplies are charged at either a per item rate or, in the case of lumber, at a board foot rate. When ordering from the lumber yard, give the office a call and we can provide an estimate of the total freight rate to you.
  • Furniture, Appliances, Soil, and Other Large Shipments: If you are expecting a large shipment, please contact us beforehand and give us contact information so further arrangements can be made as necessary when your freight arrives.

Ask in the office or dock for a list of packaging guidelines for lumber, furniture, and other large freight.

Busy Weekends

To avoid disappointment, and to help us keep on schedule, please limit holiday and midsummer weekend freight to personal and grocery items. You should hold off moving your wood stove or new furniture until mid-week or a quieter weekend. Ask dock personnel for suggestions.

Commercial and Large Freight Tips

We strive to deliver your freight in a safe and timely manner. Due to liability for damage and the cost of transport, all items must be packaged to the following standards. If the items do not meet these minimum standards, they will not be accepted for shipment until packaged appropriately, as outlined below, and returned. Please keep in mind that all shipments may be subjected to the vagaries of rough seas, inclement weather, and tides. Because of these conditions, advance notice of freight shipment is required both to arrange shipping times and payment.

The following are basic guidelines to assist you. If you have items which are not mentioned here, or you have any questions, please contact our office 231-547-2311.

All commercial, large, or unusual items must be accompanied by an invoice for security and billing purposes.
All invoices should include:

Name of consignee
Telephone number
Island address
Contact person
Please notify us as soon as possible with these shipping details.

Freight rates vary according to the nature of the goods, including size, weight, and value (for liability issues). All freight must be loaded safely aboard our vessels, which have finite space for freight items. This is why we encourage customers to label every item with stickers including name and phone number as items may be repackaged in order to facilitate efficient loading of our boats.

General Dimensions

  • All items on wooden pallets must be securely shrink-wrapped and less than four (4) feet in height. Standard 3×4 foot pallets with side cut-outs for straps are preferred. The weight restrictions for palletized goods are 3500 pounds. This restriction allows us to use our crane, forklifts, or pallet jacks to move freight.
  • Heavy individual items including but not limited to brick, stone, ceramic tile, and asphalt shingles must not exceed 4 feet in height and must be accompanied by a weight slip.
  • All freight over sixteen (16) feet in length may require special handling. Separating lengths over 16 feet will allow us to expedite shipment of lengths shorter than 16 feet.
  • All pallets must comply with both height and weight restrictions.
  • Additional Restrictions: Lumber, Plywood, Drywall
  • All lifts must be securely strapped and must not exceed 3500 pounds.
  • Plywood must be securely strapped and must not exceed four (4) feet in height.
  • Drywall must be securely strapped and must not exceed two (2) feet in height.
  • Drywall, finish plywood, hardwood flooring, and other weather-sensitive items must be packaged to allow protection from the elements. Weather may change rapidly from sun to rain, fog, or snow between deliveries to the Island.
  • All drywall should have stiffening reinforcements under the lift.

Miscellaneous Items

  • Furniture: Protective packaging is required. Moving blankets secured by pallet wrap is optimal. Drawers must be empty and legs must be wrapped or removed. Finished surfaces must be protected from scratching. Glass must also be protected. Furniture packaged improperly will be refused or will be shipped at the consignee’s own risk. Carpeting and pads must be wrapped in plastic for protection.
  • Engines: All oil and drips must be contained. Leaky engines will not be accepted. Gasoline is prohibited on all vessels.
  • Mattresses and box springs should be wrapped in plastic for protection.


  • All groceries are charged per piece according to the freight list. Some suppliers provide us with orders that arrive already packaged on pallets, with the weight of the goods noted on the invoice. These pre-palletized orders are preferred as they allow us to efficiently unload freight and keep the dock clear of traffic. Only orders which provide the weight of the goods will be charged by weight (at BIBCO discretion) if the weight of the order is not provided by the supplier, the freight will be charged per piece.
  • Refrigerated or frozen goods should be separated from dry goods to allow us to expedite shipment of these items.


  • Cages can be used on an “as available” basis; their use is at the discretion of Beaver Island Boat Company. We do not reserve cages. Cages will be given to customers on a “first come, first served” basis, due to the boat’s limitation on how many cages can be carried depending on other freight, vehicles and available deck space. The number of cages carried may vary from trip to trip at the discretion of Beaver Island Boat Company.
  • If a cage is requested for exclusive personal use, the charge is $72.50 one way, regardless of how full the cage is.
  • If a cage is requested, but other freight (at the discretion of BIBCO) is added to fill the cage to capacity, the customer will only be charged that portion which is used by him/her.

¼ cage $25.25
½ cage $45.00
¾ cage $65.00
Full cage $72.50


  • Please note that off-boat storage space for freight is very limited.
  • Overnight Storage: ­ May be assessed a storage charge of 25% of the freight rate.
  • Unclaimed Freight: ­After 2 weeks can be disposed of at BIBCO discretion.
  • Storage Charges: Customer (freight recipient) is ultimately responsible for any storage charges incurred