Did you know you can charter a BC Ferries vessel?

Click to play video: 'BC Ferries vessels now available for charter'
BC Ferries vessels now available for charter
WATCH: BC Ferries is making its vessels available for charter during less-busy times of the year. But as Kylie Stanton reports, they're not cheap. – Jun 12, 2024

While the ferry service continues to suffer from ongoing staff shortages and limited backup vessels, it might surprise some folks to learn BC Ferries vessels are available for charter.

BC Ferries even has a webpage on its site to make it easy to request a vessel rental.

In the past, BC Ferries has been chartered for use in films and commercials or as crew transportation, but mostly, people have booked one of the fleet’s smaller vessels for sailings outside the regular schedule.

“So the charter ferry service, we’ve been offering that for several years now,” Reet Sidhu, a senior communications advisor for BC Ferries told Global News. “It’s a pretty distinct service, subject to crew and vessel availability, which is the convenience of chartering a BC Ferries vessel beyond our regular schedules to transport your guests to their destinations along the coastline.”

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Click to play video: 'BC Ferries expanding pet area on some vessels'
BC Ferries expanding pet area on some vessels

Sidhu said the chartering service is an option provided outside of peak season, not during the busy summer months.

“In terms of costs, it can range about 1,700 an hour for a 260-passenger ferry to upwards of $12,000 per hour for a larger ferry that accommodates about 1,500 passengers,” she added. “So the prices really do vary based on the capacity you require and what you book for.”

Sidhu said there has been a number of productions filmed on ferries including Murder in a Small Town, Bad Angel Productions by Disney and the Netflix show MAID. She added that it is not a primary source of revenue for the corporation.

However, it does bring in some money.

Click to play video: 'BC Ferries starts vessel replacement process'
BC Ferries starts vessel replacement process

“Just last October we saw a half-billion dollar bailout from taxpayers,” Carson Binda with the Canadian Taxpayer Federation said. “So it’s a good move that they are exploring different ways of generating revenue at a time when every dollar counts.

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For those living in ferry-dependent communities, every sailing counts.

“I would be concerned about mechanical issues that could happen,” Diane Mumford with the Southern Sunshine Coast Ferry Advisory Committee said. “If they’re doing that in the evening and the boat breaks down, what happens to the people the next morning? We’re already struggling.”

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