Gabriola's new hybrid ferry on it way to B.C.

BC Ferries’ newest hybrid electric ship transited the Panama Canal over the weekend and is now preparing for its trip home to British Columbia. Island 5, as it is temporarily named, departed Romania on July 31 under its own power. BC Ferries expects the ship to be in B.C. by late-September, depending on weather.

The Island Class are battery equipped ships designed for full electric operation. The ships are fitted with hybrid technology that bridges the gap until shore charging infrastructure becomes available. From the exterior details to the engines, the design of the new vessels reduces underwater radiated noise, lowers emissions and improves customer service.

To follow the ship’s journey and track its progress including course, position and speed, visit vesselfinder.com and search for Island 5. BC Ferries will take ownership of the new Island Class ferry upon final inspection at Point Hope Maritime in Victoria, B.C.

BC Ferries looks forward to welcoming the vessel into service next year. Together, Island 5 and Island 6 will allow for two-ship service on the Nanaimo Harbour – Gabriola Island route starting in 2022. BC Ferries looks forward to officially naming the vessels before they enter service and celebrating with the communities, when the time is right.

Travel tips for t he Labour Day long weekend

The last long weekend of summer is almost here. BC Ferries has some travel tips for customers planning to take the ferry between Thursday, Sept. 2 and Tuesday, Sept. 7, including families who want to squeeze in one more summer trip before the kids go back to school.

Historically, the most popular travel times are Thursday and Friday afternoon, as well as Saturday morning, with lots of travellers departing from Tsawwassen and Horseshoe Bay terminals. Labour Day Monday and the following Tuesday morning are typically the most popular times for people to return from Vancouver Island and the Sunshine Coast.

Long Weekend Travel Tips

• Reserve in advance – Book early to secure a spot at the sailing day and time of your choice.

Customers with flexibility can travel at less busy times and take advantage of reduced fares to avoid the rush. Book online at bcferries.com. Customers with a booking do not experience sailing waits.

• Be prepared for sailing waits if you do not book in advance – Sailing waits occur when demand at peak times exceeds ferry system capacity. If reservations are sold out, the best option to avoid sailing waits is to travel during less busy times. For example, Saturday or Sunday departing from Swartz Bay and Departure Bay are good times to travel.

• Travel as a foot passenger – Leave the car at home. If possible, choose public transit or arrange to be dropped off at the terminal. Foot passengers can now make bookings on the Metro Vancouver – Vancouver Island routes.

• Arrive early – Customers with a booking should plan to arrive at the terminal 45-60 minutes before their scheduled departure. Walk-on passengers should arrive 45 minutes before their scheduled departure.

• Mandatory masks – As announced by the Public Health Officer, masks are once again mandatory in all indoor public spaces, regardless of vaccination status, on BC Ferries vessels and at terminals for customers 12 years of age and older. This includes vehicle decks on major vessels. Some exceptions apply.

• Respect fellow passengers and crew – High traffic volumes can be stressful for both customers and employees. BC Ferries has a zero tolerance policy for abuse, including verbal abuse, towards employees. Our employees are professionals doing their best to meet everyone’s needs.

British Columbia Ferry Services Inc., 500-1321 Blanshard Street, Victoria, BC V8W 0B7 Tel (250) 978-1267 Fax (250) 978-1119 bcferries.com/bcfnews Note to newsrooms: For urgent media inquiries off-hours, call our emergency line at (250) 516-7211. Page 2

For full schedule information, current conditions, reservations and promotional offers, please visit bcferries.com. For the most up-to-date travel information, follow @BCFerries on Twitter.

Masks return for all ferries vessels and terminals

Masks are again mandatory on BC Ferries vessels and at terminals, regardless of vaccination status, effective Aug. 25 for customers 12 years of age and older. At this point, proof of vaccination is not required.

Some exceptions will apply, such as if a customer is inside a vehicle or consuming food or drinks in designated areas for this purpose. Also exempt are customers with an underlying medical condition or disability that inhibits the ability to wear a mask, those who are unable to place or remove a face covering without assistance, and children under 12 years of age. In the event that a passenger cannot wear a mask due to medical reasons, BC Ferries may require passengers to present documentation from a health care professional.

BC Ferries has a number of additional preventive measures in place allowing customers to remain in their vehicles on open or upper cardecks during the sailing, enhanced cleaning, sanitization stations and physical barriers.

BC Ferries asks customers to respect fellow passengers and crew. The company has a zero tolerance policy for abuse, including verbal abuse, toward employees. Employees are professionals doing their best to meet everyone’s needs. Service will be denied to customers who abuse employees. Travel bans can be imposed.

Ferries expects busy mid-month weekend

The coming weekend is expected to be a busy one at BC Ferries so the company is offering travel tips for customers planning to take a ferry between Friday, August 13 and Sunday, August 15. 

Historically, this middle weekend in August tends to be very popular at BC Ferries as many families take the first two weeks or the last two weeks of August as vacation. Some travellers will be heading home and others will be starting their holidays. The middle weekend of this month is dubbed the unofficial “change-over” weekend of the summer. 

BC Ferries expects sailings from Tsawwassen to Swartz Bay, Tsawwassen to Duke Point and Horseshoe Bay to Departure Bay to be particularly busy all day Friday, August 13 and the morning of Saturday, August 14. If you are planning to travel on these routes without a reservation and wish to avoid sailing waits, BC Ferries recommends you travel on Thursday, August 12 or the afternoon of Saturday, August 14. 

BC Ferries also expects sailings from Duke Point, Departure Bay and Swartz Bay to be very busy on Sunday, August 15. If you are planning to travel back to Metro Vancouver without a reservation and wish to avoid sailing waits, we recommend you travel in the afternoon on Saturday, August 14 or the afternoon on Monday, August 16. 

Weekend Travel Tips 

• Book in advance – Book early to secure a spot at the sailing day and time of your choice. Customers with flexibility can travel at less busy times and take advantage of reduced fares to avoid the rush. Book online at bcferries.com. Customers with a booking do not experience sailing waits. 

• Be prepared for sailing waits if you do not book in advance – Sailing waits are common during popular travel periods. If bookings are sold out, the best option to avoid sailing waits is to travel during less busy times. These are typically mid-week days and early morning or late evening sailings. 

• Travel as a foot passenger – Leave the car at home. If possible, choose public transit or arrange to be dropped off at the terminal. Foot passengers can now make bookings on the Metro Vancouver – Vancouver Island routes.