BC Ferries has canceled multiple Friday sailings, and is warning more cancelations are possible through to Saturday evening as a winter storm bears down on the province’s South Coast.
The region is under an Environment Canada warning, forecasting heavy snow Thursday night followed by freezing rain and rain, frigid temperatures and localized strong winds.
Late Thursday, the company said the incoming storm and its anticipated effects on roads and terminals had forced it to cancel more than two dozen morning sailings on Friday.
“BC Ferries is closely monitoring the weather forecast over the next few days but is warning of the strong possibility of sailing cancellations on a variety of routes across the fleet,” the company said in a travel advisory Thursday afternoon.
“Poor road conditions leading to the terminals as well as high winds are expected to impact operations.”
The first round trip sailing on each of the following routes has been canceled for Friday:
- Tsawwassen (Vancouver) – Swartz Bay (Victoria)
- Tsawwassen (Vancouver) – Duke Point (Nanaimo)
- Horseshoe Bay (Vancouver) – Departure Bay (Nanaimo)
- Horseshoe Bay (Vancouver) – Langdale (Sunshine Coast)
- Little River (Comox) – Westview (Powell River)
- Tsawwassen (Vancouver) – Southern Gulf Islands
- Swartz Bay (Victoria) – Southern Gulf Islands
The first two round trips have been cancelled for Friday:
- Nanaimo Harbour – Descanso Bay (Gabriola Island)
- Buckley Bay – Denman Island West
- Gravelly Bay (Denman East) – Shingle Spit (Hornby Island)
- Earls Cove (Sechelt) – Saltery Bay (Powell River)
- Westview (Powell River) – Blubber Bay (Texeda Island)
- Vancouver (Horseshoe Bay) – Bowen Island (Snug Cove)
- Salt Spring Island (Vesuvius Bay) – Crofton
- Brentwood Bay – Mill Bay
- Preedy Harbour (Thetis Island) – Telegraph Harbour (Penelakut Island) – Chemainus
Travellers are being warned that further cancellations are possible.
All sailings between Whaletown (Cortes Island) and Heriot Bay (Quadra Island) have been cancelled for Friday, due to staffing shortages aboard the Quadra Queen II.
BC Ferries also said a replacement water taxi will not be available due to “insufficient infrastructure.”
Passengers on cancelled sailings will get a refund, and people who wish to proactively cancel a reservation can do so via their confirmation email.
Travellers are also being warned to keep a close eye on weather forecasts, and to check the BC Ferries website for service updates before heading to a ferry terminal.
Passengers whose sailings are unaffected are also being warned to leave early and give themselves plenty of time to arrive at the terminal.
Starting on Thursday, BC Ferries has added an additional 150 sailings for multiple routes for the busy holiday season between Dec. 22 and Jan. 2.
Earlier Thursday, B.C.’s transportation minister and emergency preparedness minister held a joint briefing urging people to avoid all non essential travel.