The boats will be busy over the coming days, predicts BC Ferries.
The ferry corporation issued a press release Monday offering travel tips for those planning to sail B.C.’s coast over the long weekend.
BC Ferries said customers who don’t have reservations can expect sailing waits during the weekend’s busiest travel times.
“For customers with a flexible schedule, consider travelling at less busy times to help spread traffic more evenly throughout the day and provide a shorter wait time,” the release notes.
BC Ferries advises that for travellers crossing the strait between Nanaimo and West Vancouver Sept. 3-7, less busy travel times are the 6:25 a.m., 8:30 p.m. and 10:40 p.m. sailings from Departure Bay and 6:25 a.m. and 10:40 p.m. from Horseshoe Bay.
For sailings between West Vancouver and Gibsons, the 9:25 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. boats from Horseshoe Bay and the 6:20 a.m., 8:15 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. boats from Langdale are best bets.
Generally, BC Ferries said the most popular travel times are Thursday and Friday afternoons and Saturday mornings from the Tsawwassen and Horseshoe Bay terminals. For return travel, Sundays and Mondays are busiest at the Departure Bay, Duke Point, Swartz Bay and Langdale terminals.
The ferry corporation advises that customers, including foot passengers, arrive at least an hour before their sailing. Customers should expect COVID-19 screening in accordance with Transport Canada procedures, and all customers are required to wear masks at all times at terminals and on board ferries unless they are eating or inside their vehicles.
BC Ferries requests “responsible behaviour” from customers, asking that travellers remain in their vehicles during transit and observe physical distancing at terminals and on board vessels.
“High traffic volumes can be stressful for both customers and employees…” noted the release, adding that BC Ferries does not tolerate verbal abuse toward its workers and has the right to deny service. “Please remember employees are doing their best to meet everyone’s needs … BC Ferries reminds customers to continue to heed Dr. Bonnie Henry’s sage advice: to be kind, be calm and be safe. Vessel and terminal staff are working hard to adjust to changing circumstances and to implement protocols and procedures that keep everyone safe and healthy.”