BC Ferries scraps sailings to and from Vancouver Island due to heavy snow

BC Ferries scraps sailings to and from Vancouver Island due to heavy snow
Photo credit: Nicholas Pescod

Heavy snow accumulation on roads and at terminals has prompted BC Ferries to cancel numerous sailings to and from Vancouver Island Tuesday.

Ferry sailings between Victoria (Swartz Bay) and various destinations, including Vancouver (Tsawwassen), Salt Spring Island (Long Harbour), Pender Island (Otter Bay), Saturna Island (Lyall Harbour), Mayne Island (Village Bay) and Galiano Island (Sturdies Bay) are cancelled, according to BC Ferries.

The 7 a.m., 9 a.m., 11 a.m., 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. sailings from Swartz Bay to Tsawwassen, for example, are cancelled, while the 7 a.m., 9 a.m., 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. sailings from Tsawwassen to Swartz Bay are scrapped.

“Right off the get-go this morning, we did suspend service basically from our Departure Bay terminal, right south down to Swartz Bay as well as the Southern Gulf Islands. That also included the Horseshoe Bay-Langdale route,” Deborah Marshall, spokesperson for BC Ferries, told CHEK News.

Ferry sailings from Mill Bay to Brentwood Bay and vice-versa are also cancelled throughout the day Tuesday, between 7:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m., due to the weather.

“Our crews weren’t able to get to that vessel this morning and customers can drive around. I know it’s a bit longer, obviously, with the Malahat, but we have suspended that particular route for the day,” said Marshall.

It’s a similar situation in the Harbour City, where adverse conditions led BC Ferries to cancel sailings leaving Nanaimo (Departure Bay), including the 6:15 a.m. and 8:25 a.m. sailings to Vancouver (Horseshoe Bay), and the 6:15 a.m. and 8:25 a.m. from Departure Bay to Horseshoe Bay.

“The safety of our passengers and crew is of primary importance to us. We apologize for any inconvenience as a result of these cancellations,” BC Ferries said in a service notice.

All fares paid and reservation fees will be refunded, according to Marshall.

“Any customer who had a booking on sailings that were cancelled this morning, they will be automatically cancelled and refunded. So customers don’t have to worry about that,” she said.

“And if anybody is choosing not to travel today, we will not be charging the no-show fee. We know that there are a lot of people who are choosing to stay home today and off the roads.”

Elsewhere, sailings between Horseshoe Bay (Vancouver) and Langdale (Sunshine Coast), Vancouver (Horseshoe Bay) and Bowen Island (Snug Cove), Salt Spring Island (Vesuvius Bay) and Crofton, and Thetis Island (Preedy Harbour), Penelakut Island (Telegraph Harbour) and Chemainus are also cancelled.

Several Tuesday morning sailings between Nanaimo Harbour and Gabriola Island (Descano Bay), meanwhile, were already cancelled due to a staffing shortage and berth restrictions resulting from the Island Kwigwis, BC Ferries announced Monday.

READ ALSO: ‘Please stay home’: Massive snowfall brings travel, services to a halt on Vancouver Island

Winter storm warnings are in effect for Greater Victoria and the Malahat, as well as east, inland and west sections of the Island, including Port Renfew, Lake Cowichan, Duncan and Nanaimo, according to Environment Canada.

“We want to make sure that customers are dressing warmly as they are coming out to the terminals over the next few days. Please make sure that you wear appropriate footwear,” added Marshall.

“We are salting and plowing at the terminals, but we want to make that everyone is safe and that they do use the safe walking routes.”

BC Ferries encourages customers to check its website or Twitter page for the most up-to-date sailing and departure information. People can also call the company toll-free at 1-888-223-3779.

Ethan MorneauEthan Morneau

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