New Gabriola Island ferry christened 'Island Kwigwis'

New Island Class Gabriola ferry Island Kwigwis

211214 – BC Ferries has revealed the name of its latest Island Class Ferry at a naming ceremony at its fleet maintenance facility in Richmond. Island Kwigwis is the newest vessel to join the fleet and will begin service in the spring of 2022, allowing for two-ship operation on the Nanaimo Harbour – Gabriola Island route. 

The name Kwigwis, which means "eagle of the sea," was selected with support from the 'Na̲mg̲is First Nation and celebrates the beauty of the journey and the important connection to coastal communities. Today's ceremony began with a few words from BC Ferries and Damen Shipyards, followed by the unveiling of the ships' name, and the christening of the hull. 

In keeping with maritime tradition, BC Ferries selected sponsors for each of the ships. These roles are important – each sponsor bestows the ship with good luck and protection for all those who travel on them. Each Island Class ship has a community sponsor and a sponsor from the BC Ferries family. Chief Bill Cranmer from 'Na̲mg̲is First Nation christened Island Kwigwis along with Linda Provost, Planning and Business Advisor with BC Ferries. 

"Island Kwigwis represents a small step on the path to fostering our relationships with First Nations, embracing our environmental responsibilities, while maintaining our commitment to the communities we serve," said Mark Collins, BC Ferries' President & CEO. "This ship will connect people and we are grateful for the opportunity to make that happen."

Island Class ferries have the capacity to carry up to 47 vehicles and up to 450 passengers and crew. They are battery equipped ships designed for future full electric operation. The ships are fitted with hybrid technology that bridges the gap until shore charging infrastructure and funding becomes available in B.C. From the exterior details to the engines, the design of the new vessels reduces underwater radiated noise, lowers emissions and improves customer service.
 This ship will go into service next year.

BC Ferries adds more than 160 extra sailings over Christmas

 

There’s no place like home for the holidays, and BC Ferries is adding 167 extra sailings to make travel easier for customers sailing between Metro Vancouver, Vancouver Island and the Sunshine Coast.

Between December 17 and January 3, BC Ferries is adding:

  • Vancouver (Tsawwassen) - Victoria (Swartz Bay) – 128 added sailings (Dec 17-Jan 3)
  • Vancouver (Horseshoe Bay) - Nanaimo (Departure Bay) – 33 added sailings (Dec 19-28)
  • Vancouver (Horseshoe Bay) - Sunshine Coast (Langdale) – 6 added sailings (Dec 23-27)

Historically, the most popular travel times over the holidays before Christmas Day are between Dec. 20 and 23 for traffic moving from the Tsawwassen and Horseshoe Bay terminals to Vancouver Island and the Sunshine Coast. The most popular travel days over the holidays after Christmas Day will be Dec. 26 and 27, with traffic returning from the Departure Bay, Swartz Bay and Langdale terminals. BC Ferries is also adding a number of additional sailings between Tsawwassen and the Southern Gulf Islands.

Holiday Travel Tips

  • Book in advance – Book early to secure a spot on the sailing day and time of your choice. Customers with flexibility in their travel plans can sail at off-peak times to avoid the rush, and take advantage of Saver fares on select sailings. Travel on a Saver fare from $49 one-way between Metro Vancouver and Vancouver Island, including a free booking, or for $39 return between Horseshoe Bay and Langdale, including a free one-way booking departing Horseshoe Bay. Book online at bcferries.com.
     
  • 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 anticipated sailing. Please refer to current conditions and plan accordingly.
     
  • Be prepared for sailing waits if not booked 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. The best times to travel without a booking are posted on the Travel Planning pages at bcferries.com.

    Did you know? A sailing wait only applies to people without a booking, when a vessel has reached capacity. Customers with a booking are guaranteed to be on their sailing of choice.
     
  • Consider parking options – Parking lots at the major terminals fill up quickly at peak periods. If possible, choose public transit or arrange to be dropped off at the terminal to avoid traffic congestion. When parking lots fill up, BC Ferries informs customers via Twitter @BCFerries and on the website.
     
  • For customers looking to get away this holiday season, BC Ferries Vacations is offering a 3rd night free when you book a 2-night package including hotel and return ferry. Choose from destinations like Victoria, Vancouver, Tofino, Parksville and more. Book by January 3 for travel by March 31, 2022.
     
  • Make the holidays magical – BC Ferries’ gift certificates make great stocking stuffers, and are available in Passages and online. Get your shopping done on board at Passages as well.

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

Cultural design for Salish Heron ferry unveiled

Nov. 29, 2021

 BC Ferries and the First Peoples’ Cultural Council revealed today the extraordinary design for the Salish Heron. Penelakut First Nation’s Maynard Johnny Jr. created the artwork that will adorn the Salish Heron. The artwork will be displayed on both the exterior and interior of the vessel for travellers to view. They will also be able to see the artist’s profile and read about the Coast Salish living relationship with the Salish Sea.

In the spring, the First Peoples’ Cultural Council invited Coast Salish artists to submit Expressions of Interest for consideration. From 36 submissions, a committee of Indigenous artist peers and BC Ferries representatives selected a shortlist of nine artists who were then commissioned to develop design concepts. Mr. Johnny’s design was selected from a list of 36 candidates. Criteria for selection included artistic excellence, Coast Salish artistic style, and ability to express the vessel name through artwork while effectively using the available vessel surface.

“Herons and my people once inhabited the area in what is now known as the town of Chemainus,” said Maynard Johnny Jr. “The majestic birds were once plentiful and provided the people guidance on where fish were in abundance. I have created a Salish Heron using traditional Salish design with contemporary colours that have become my signature as a Coast Salish
artist. The design reflects the long beak and long neck of a Great Blue Heron, and it’s wing, tail feathers and talon. I wanted to create a Salish Heron that was fascinating to the viewer and was obvious to the eye yet kept a flow of design and colour.”

Salish Heron is the fourth Salish class vessel to be bestowed with Indigenous art. The name and artwork honours and recognizes the Coast Salish as the original mariners of the Salish Sea and represents both the land and culture of British Columbia, and the West Coast travel experience. Salish Heron was among the names selected by BC Ferries and community stakeholders during a public naming contest for the Salish Class ferries in 2015.

The Salish Heron is identical to the three Salish Class ferries built for BC Ferries in 2016, with capacity to carry at least 138 vehicles and up to 600 passengers and crew. For more information visit www.bcferries.com

Second electric Gabriola ferry through Panama Canal

Second of Gabriola Island ferries leaves the shipyard in Romania.

BC Ferries’ last of six hybrid electric ships transited the Panama Canal on November 18 and is now on its way to British Columbia. Island 6, as it is temporarily named, left Romania on Oct. 11 under its own power. BC Ferries expects the ship to be in B.C. before the end of the year.

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 can be installed. 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, search for Island 6 on vesselfinder.com. 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. The arrival of this new vessel will allow for the Nanaimo Harbour – Gabriola Island route to be serviced by two Island Class vessels starting in 2022. BC Ferries looks forward to naming the vessels before they enter service and celebrating with the communities, when the time is right.

BC Ferries releases second quarter results

Vehicle traffic levels highest company has experienced

VICTORIA –BC Ferries released its second quarter results today for the three and six months ended September 30, 2021. Vehicle traffic returned to the ferry system in record numbers this summer with pent up demand from the domestic market for seasonal holidays and recreational travel once Provincial Health Officer COVID-19 travel restrictions were lifted.

In the three months ended September 30, 2021, BC Ferries carried 7.0 million passengers and 3.0 million vehicles, an increase of 28 per cent and 20 per cent respectively, compared to the same period in the prior year. When comparing the three months ended September 30, 2021 to the same period in 2019, a pre-COVID-19 time, passenger traffic decreased nine per cent, while vehicle traffic increased by three per cent, representing the highest vehicle traffic levels BC Ferries has experienced in any quarter.

New fare choices, including advance purchase Saver fares, were launched on the three Metro Vancouver - Vancouver Island routes late in fiscal 2021. During the second quarter, after Provincial Health Officer COVID-19 travel restrictions were lifted, these new fare choices contributed to increased vehicle traffic on traditionally lower utilized sailings, less sailing waits overall, and enabled BC Ferries to safely carry higher overall levels of vehicle traffic than in previous summer seasons.

“We were pleased to see strong traffic levels this quarter, but we remain cautious about what the future will bring,” said Mark Collins, BC Ferries’ President and CEO. “Summer is our high season so it’s challenging to predict with any certainty when conditions will return to pre-pandemic levels for the longer-term.”

BC Ferries’ net earnings for the second quarter of fiscal 2022 were $79.9 million, $42.1 million higher than the same quarter the previous year. Year-to-date since April 1, 2021, net earnings were $84.6 million, compared to net losses of $24.2 million in the prior year.

Revenue for the quarter ended September 30, 2021, at $316.8 million, was up $69.2 million over the same period in the prior year. Year-to-date since April 1, 2021, revenue was $546.0 million, up $161.0 million over the same period in the prior year. During the three months ended September 30, 2021, expenses from operations increased by $28.0 million or 14.3 per cent to $223.3 million compared to the same period in the prior year. Year-to-date since April 1, 2021, expenses from operations increased $55.1 million or 14.5 per cent to $434.1 million, mainly due to staffing level changes and greater fuel consumption for a higher number of round trips provided, as well as increases in traffic control and security costs.

In December 2020, BC Ferries received $308 million through the Safe Restart Program, a federal-provincial initiative intended to help provinces and territories safely restart their economies. The goals of the federal-provincial Safe Restart Program are to mitigate the impact of revenue losses and COVID-19-related spending, to help restore the level of annual earnings required to maintain service levels, and to keep fare increases to affordable levels through March 31, 2024.

Without the recognition of Safe Restart Funding of $62.8 million, revenues in the six months ended September 30, 2021, would have been $483.2 million, an increase of $98.2 million from last year while net earnings would have been $21.8 million, an improvement of $46.0 million compared to the same period in the prior year.

Capital expenditures in the three and six months ended September 30, 2021 totalled $41.5 million and $80.2 million respectively, and included investments in new vessels, major overhauls and inspections to existing ships, hardware upgrades, marine structure upgrades and various other projects.

“Due to the seasonality of ferry travel, we usually see positive net earnings in the first half of the fiscal year, partially offset by net losses in the remainder of the year when traffic is low and routine vessel maintenance is scheduled,” said Collins. “BC Ferries must continue to invest in the ferry system to ensure we have a sustainable, reliable and affordable coastal ferry service for British Columbians.”

The company continues to modernize the fleet with the addition of four more battery-electric hybrid Island Class vessels and one more liquefied natural gas-fuelled Salish Class vessel which result in reduced emissions. The Island Class are battery equipped ships designed for full electric operation. The ships are fitted with hybrid technology that bridges the gap until funding and shore charging infrastructure becomes available. All five of these new vessels will enter service in 2022, and will assist BC Ferries in its transition to a lower carbon future while investing in sustainable technologies.

BC Ferries’ full financial statements, including notes, and Management’s Discussion and Analysis are filed on SEDAR and will be available at www.sedar.com

Gabriola ferry on modified schedule

 

The MV Quinsam has cancelled select sailings and will be operating on a modified schedule until further notice.

A ten-passenger water taxi is available for those needing to travel on the select cancelled sailings. Prior to boarding the water taxi, please visit the Nanaimo Harbour ticket booth to secure a boarding pass.

Your safety is important to us. We require a specific number of crew on board the vessel to ensure the safety of our passengers in the unlikely event of an emergency and to comply with Transport Canada regulations. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause you.

Overnight work at downtown Gabriola ferry dock

November 8 – BC Ferries will complete minor construction works at the Nanaimo Harbour terminal during the nights of November 9, 10 and 11,. This work is required to allow operation of the two new Island Class vessels that will operate on the Nanaimo Harbour - Gabriola route.

To avoid affecting ferry service, this three-day work period is planned to begin after the last scheduled sailing departs the terminal each night, and will continue during overnight hours. Work includes use of a marine rig and a crane that will lift components for connection to the existing structure.

Residents living in the adjacent area may experience construction noise from crane operation; crews will minimize noise as much as possible. 

BC Ferries would like to thank its neighbours for their patience and understanding as we complete this necessary construction activity.

For more information or traffic updates please follow @BCFerries on Twitter, visit our website at bcferries.com, or call us toll free at 1-888-BCFERRY (223-3779).

For the most up to date information about our sailings and service please follow us on Twitter @BCFerries.

Bus, ferry and TransLink free for Veterans Nov. 11

To commemorate Remembrance Day and to thank retired and active military personnel, BC Transit, BC Ferries and TransLink will be offering free fares for veterans on November 11, 2021. 

For BC Transit, all scheduled routes and handyDART services in the Victoria Regional Transit System will be free for all riders in uniform, active, retired and cadets, as well as those with Army, Navy or Air Force Association cards. BC Transit supports those bus drivers who choose to stop their bus, if it is safe to do so, at 11 a.m. on November 11, to observe the traditional minute of silence in memory of those who gave their lives and service in times of war. Bus destination signs will also display “Lest We Forget”. 

BC Ferries is offering complimentary passenger fares for customers presenting official Canadian military identification or travelling in uniform. Two minutes of silence will occur at 11 a.m. on ships and at terminals. BC Ferries notes that these free fares are not applicable on the Inside Passage, Haida Gwaii and Central Coast Connector routes. 

In addition, BC Ferries is also providing free travel for British Columbia’s seniors on Remembrance Day with the presentation of a BC Services Card, BC Driver’s License, BC Identification Card or Birth Certificate. 

TransLink is offering free transit on all services, including HandyDART, to veterans, members of the Armed Forces, police and fire departments, Coast Guard, and BC Ambulance on Remembrance Day. Eligible customers should present their badge, military ID, record of service card or appear in uniform to receive free transit. 

Veterans and other members are not required to tap their Compass Cards. One accessible fare gate will be left open at all SeaBus and SkyTrain stations from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. to accommodate. Eligible customers can take the bus without tapping all day. 

West Coast Express will not be in service as TransLink will operate on a Holiday service schedule on November 11. 

TransLink also encourages customers and staff to observe a moment of silence at or near 11 a.m. across the system on November 11. Buses will display “Lest We Forget” on the destination screen. 

The three transportation agencies hope this service provides those that served our country a transportation option to recognize Remembrance Day events in their region. For more information, visit bctransit.com/Victoria, bcferries.com or @BCFerries on Twitter or translink.ca/remembrance.

Ferries removes fuel surcharge rebate

Due to market conditions and rising fuel costs, the 0.5 per cent fuel rebate applied to fares will be removed on December 1. BC Ferries closely monitors the cost of fuel and applies a rebate or surcharge, or neither, under a regulatory process that is independent of fares.

This will result in customers no longer receiving a rebate of 10 cents for an adult passenger and 30 cents for a vehicle on the Metro Vancouver – Vancouver Island routes, and approximately 5 cents for an adult and 10 cents for a vehicle on inter-island routes.

Over the past 17 years, BC Ferries has been using a fuel rebate/surcharge mechanism to manage the volatility in the price of fuel. When fuel prices are lower, BC Ferries passes lower fuel prices on to customers through a fuel rebate. When fuel prices are higher, BC Ferries charges a fuel surcharge specifically designed to cover the additional cost of fuel only. There have also been periods with neither. The company does not benefit financially from surcharges or rebates.

BC Ferries has made significant investments to reduce its consumption of fuel and use alternative, lower cost fuels, such as liquefied natural gas to replace the use of diesel fuels. The company is also introducing battery-equipped ships designed for future full electric operation when shore charging infrastructure can be installed in B.C.

The fuel rebate will be removed on all routes with the exception of the Port Hardy – Prince Rupert, Prince Rupert – Haida Gwaii and Port Hardy – Central Coast routes. These routes have a separate mechanism pertaining to the cost of fuel and the rebate will remain at 1.5 per cent until further notice.

For information regarding the cost of ferry travel, visit bcferries.com.

Departure Bay and Duke Point sailings cancelled

Update as of October 25,11:50 am:

The Queen of Oak Bay and Queen of Cowichan have cancelled the following sailings on Monday, October 25 due to anticipated adverse weather conditions - high winds:  

6:15 am departing Horseshoe Bay
6:15 am departing Departure Bay
8:25 am departing Horseshoe Bay
8:25 am departing Departure Bay
10:40 am departing Horseshoe Bay
10:40 am departing Departure Bay
1:00 pm departing Horseshoe Bay
1:00 pm departing Departure Bay
3:45 pm departing Horseshoe Bay
3:20 pm departing Departure Bay
6:35 pm departing Horseshoe Bay
5:55 pm departing Departure Bay

Customers with bookings will have their bookings cancelled and fully refunded. Travel will revert to a standby basis.

The Queen of Alberni and Coastal Inspiration have cancelled the following sailings due to adverse weather conditions - high winds:  

5:15 am departing Tsawwassen
5:15 am departing Duke Point
7:45 am departing Tsawwassen
7:45 am departing Duke Point
10:15 am departing Tsawwassen
10:15 am departing Duke Point
12:45 pm departing Tsawwassen
12:45 pm departing Duke Point
3:15 pm departing Tsawwassen
3:15 pm departing Duke Point
5:45 pm departing Tsawwassen
5:45 pm departing Duke Point

Customers with bookings will have their bookings cancelled and fully refunded. Travel will revert to a standby basis.

Vancouver (Horseshoe Bay) - Nanaimo (Departure Bay)

Update as of October 24 12:00 pm:

Please be advised that the Queen of Oak Bay and Queen of Cowichan have cancelled the following sailings on Monday, October 25 due to anticipated adverse weather conditions - high winds:  

6:15 am departing Horseshoe Bay
6:15 am departing Departure Bay
8:25 am departing Horseshoe Bay
8:25 am departing Departure Bay
10:40 am departing Horseshoe Bay
10:40 am departing Departure Bay
1:00 pm departing Horseshoe Bay
1:00 pm departing Departure Bay

Customers with bookings will have their bookings cancelled and fully refunded. Travel will revert to a standby basis.

The safety of our passengers and crew is of primary importance to us. We don’t take the decision to cancel sailings lightly, as we know customers rely on us to get to their destinations. We will resume service as soon as it is safe to do so.  

We appreciate your patience and apologize for any inconvenience experienced as a result of these cancellations.

Our goal is to inform our customers as early as possible of any changes to our scheduled sailings. We recommend that for the most up-to-date sailing and departure information, our customers also follow @BCFerries on Twitter, visit our Current Conditions webpage at www.bcferries.com or call us toll free at 1-888-223-3779.

For the most up to date information about our sailings and service please follow us on Twitter @BCFerries.

Vancouver (Tsawwassen) - Nanaimo (Duke Point)

Update as of October 24 12:10 pm:

Please be advised that the Queen of Alberni and Coastal Inspiration have cancelled the following sailings on Monday, October 25 due to anticipated adverse weather conditions - high winds:  

5:15 am departing Tsawwassen
5:15 am departing Duke Point
7:45 am departing Tsawwassen
7:45 am departing Duke Point

Customers with bookings will have their bookings cancelled and fully refunded. Travel will revert to a standby basis.

The safety of our passengers and crew is of primary importance to us. We don’t take the decision to cancel sailings lightly, as we know customers rely on us to get to their destinations. We will resume service as soon as it is safe to do so.  

We appreciate your patience and apologize for any inconvenience experienced as a result of these cancellations.

Our goal is to inform our customers as early as possible of any changes to our scheduled sailings. We recommend that for the most up-to-date sailing and departure information, our customers also follow @BCFerries on Twitter, visit our Current Conditions webpage at www.bcferries.com or call us toll free at 1-888-223-3779.

For the most up to date information about our sailings and service please follow us on Twitter @BCFerries.

#ServiceNotice   #Vancouver   #Nanaimo   #DukePoint   #Tsawwassen

Vancouver (Tsawwassen) - Victoria (Swartz Bay)

Update as of October 24 11:50 am:

Please be advised that the Coastal Celebration and Spirit of British Columbia have cancelled the following sailings on Monday, October 25 due to anticipated adverse weather conditions - high winds:  

7:00 am departing Swartz Bay
7:00 am departing Tsawwassen
9:00 am departing Swartz Bay
9:00 am departing Tsawwassen

Customers with bookings will have their bookings cancelled and fully refunded. Travel will revert to a standby basis.

The safety of our passengers and crew is of primary importance to us. We don’t take the decision to cancel sailings lightly, as we know customers rely on us to get to their destinations. We will resume service as soon as it is safe to do so.  

We appreciate your patience and apologize for any inconvenience experienced as a result of these cancellations.

Our goal is to inform our customers as early as possible of any changes to our scheduled sailings. We recommend that for the most up-to-date sailing and departure information, our customers also follow @BCFerries on Twitter, visit our Current Conditions webpage at www.bcferries.com or call us toll free at 1-888-223-3779.

For the most up to date information about our sailings and service please follow us on Twitter @BCFerries.

First Gabriola battery-hybrid ferry arrives in Victoria

Sept. 27, 2021 – The first of two BC Ferries’ battery-hybrid ferry arrived in Victoria today. Island 5, as it is temporarily named, left Damen Shipyards in Galati, Romania on July 31. The vessel sailed under its own power across the Atlantic Ocean, through the Panama Canal and up the Pacific Coast of North America to Victoria. The 59 day journey will be complete when Island 5 arrives at Point Hope Maritime this afternoon.

Approximately one-third of the voyage was completed by using battery power with the main engines stopped; proof that the Island Class ferries will be able to operate as fully electric vessels once BC Ferries’ terminals have plug-in recharging capabilities. The batteries were charged during the voyage by a diesel generator.

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

The public will be able to see Island 5 at Ogden Point in Victoria, B.C. this morning. It will sail to Point Hope Maritime in the afternoon and will be visible from a number of downtown Victoria locations including Dallas Road, Fisherman’s Wharf, the Songhees Walkway, Wharf Street, and the Johnson Street Bridge. To follow the ship’s journey and track its progress including course, position and speed, visit vesselfinder.com and search for Island 5. 

Upon arrival at Point Hope Maritime, final inspections will take place and BC Ferries will take ownership of the vessel. BC Ferries looks forward to welcoming this new Island Class ferry into service next year. The sixth and final Island Class ferry in the series, temporarily named Island 6, will soon make the same trip from the shipyard to Victoria. The arrival of these new vessels will allow the Nanaimo Harbour - Gabriola Island route to be serviced by two Island Class vessels starting in 2022.

 

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.