The Tancook Island Ferry

Tancook Ferry from Chester Nova Scotia

The Tancook Island ferry runs daily year-round on a predetermined schedule. The William G. Ernst vessel transports passengers from the mainland to the islands. The ferry departs from Chester and services both Little and Big Tancook Islands. Visitors should arrive at least fifteen minutes before the scheduled departure time. If you have any questions regarding your sailing be sure to ask one of our friendly ferry crew for assistance.

Please Note:
To all the day care operators and teachers that use the ferry for day trips and class trips to the island. Our policy is a minimum 1 adult chaperone for every 6 children that come onboard.

DayDeparts TancookDeparts Chester
Monday to Friday6:00 am7:00 am
8:00 am10:20 am
1:30 pm3:40 pm
4:30 pm5:30 pm
Friday Evening6:30 pm8:30 pm
9:30 pm11:00 pm
Saturday9:00 am1:00 pm
6:00 pm7:00 pm
Sunday & Holidays9:00 am10:00 am
5:00 pm6:00 pm

The Sailing

The ferry usually sails first to Little Tancook and then on to Big Tancook. You will know you’ve arrived on Big Tancook because of our cement wharf (Little Tancook’s wharf is wooden). The duration of your sailing will be approximately 50 minutes. There will be lots to see during your trip, including many of Mahone Bay’s 365 islands. You’ll notice that some are even privately inhabited. Past visitors have been lucky to see sea birds, seals, porpoises and even the occasional whale on their journey.


Passengers are invited to make themselves comfortable on either the top deck of the ferry or in the passengers’ cabin. A ferry crew member will collect payment once the sailing is underway. The cost of an individual round trip is $7 per person (kids under 12 travel for free). Depending on the size of your group you may also want to consider purchasing a ticket book that contains 5 tickets at a cost of $17.50 or 10 tickets at a cost of $35 these ticket books do not expire. The ferry collects cash only.

Vehicles & Parking

The William G Ernst is primarily a passenger ferry, which means you will need to park your vehicle in Chester for the duration of your visit. There is limited parking available directly across from the wharf, and passengers can alternatively park on the harbour side of the Water Street just past The Rope Loft Restaurant, and in the parking lot for island residents located on Valley Road. Visitors should be careful not to park in front of private wharf entrances. Parking is not permitted directly on the government wharf.

For more information click here

Call 902-275-7885

For more information on Tancook Islands (Big & Little) visit their community website at

The Ferry departs the Government Wharf at the South East Corner of Water Street in Chester Nova Scotia


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