About BC Ferries

Keeping Vital Goods and Services Moving

BC Ferries COVID-19 response

Aerial photo of a BC Ferries Terminal

BC Ferries is dedicated to providing a safe and healthy travel experience for our passengers and employees. We are asking customers to follow the advice of the Public Health Agency of Canada to avoid any non-essential travel. Crews have been taking, and will continue to take, extra measures to ensure the safe transport of vital goods, services, supplies and workers to coastal BC communities.

Reduced service levels 

Traffic across all of BC Ferries’ routes is down approximately 80% due to COVID-19. The Coastal Ferry Services Contract with the Province of British Columbia has been amended to permit these service reductions. Across the ferry network, capacity will be reduced by approximately half over this time last year. These measures are being taken to protect the health and safety of communities and our crew, ensure the resiliency of our service, and match service levels to current demand.

The following service reductions will go into effect on Saturday, April 4, for a period of 60 days on major routes and until further notice on other routes. During this time, BC Ferries will monitor service levels in conjunction with the Province to ensure essential service levels are maintained and to determine when services should resume to normal levels. Below is a summary of the changes, click on a route to see the sailing schedule or view the travel advisory.

Metro Vancouver – Vancouver Island
Sunshine Coast 
Vancouver Island
Southern Gulf Islands
  • Due to COVID-19, changes have been made to the Tsawwassen – Southern Gulf Islands route starting on April 10. View the revised schedule here.
North and central coast service
  • BC Ferries will continue to operate at the current off-peak (winter) service levels. The direct summer service from Bella Coola to Port Hardy will not be introduced at this time. Customers on affected sailings will be notified by mid-May. View the schedules.
For more information and details on specific routes and schedules view the travel advisory.​ 

Updates from BC Ferries' President and CEO

April 3, 2020

“BC Ferries will continue to transport the goods your communities rely on, and we will get people to where they need to go.” – Our CEO Mark Collins talks about how COVID-19 is impacting BC Ferries and explains the changes that will take place to ferry service in the coming days and weeks.
Watch the full video »

March 27, 2020

March 18, 2020

Read the full message »

March 12, 2020

Read the full message »

Travelling with us soon? What you need to know

Significant service reductions will go into effect on Saturday, April 4, for a period of 60 days on major routes and until further notice on other routes. View the travel advisory for more information.
 
Quick links 
 
Current Conditions button-link    Service Notices button-link   Travel Advisory button-link   BCF Twitter button-link

Essential travel only 

In line with directions provided by the Public Health Agency of Canada and other leading health authorities, BC Ferries is advising customers to avoid non-essential travel at this time.

Transport Canada screening requirements

For any route longer than 30 minutes, we will be screening all customers for COVID-19 symptoms and we will restrict travel to any customer that does not meet the screening requirements, as per the federal guidelines.  Prior to boarding a BC Ferries ship, customers need to answer the following questions:​

  1. Do you have a fever and a cough?
  2. Do you have a fever and breathing difficulty?
  3. Have you been refused boarding in the past 14 days due to a medical reason related to COVID-19?
  4. Are you the subject of a provincial/territorial or local public health order?   

If you answer ‘yes’ to any of the questions above, or refuse to answer, BC Ferries will deny you boarding.

For more details on Transport Canada’s announcement, click here.

View the screening questions as posted at our terminals here

To support physical distancing and self-isolation and to reduce the risk of spreading infectious disease including COVID-19, please note the following for your travels.​

Customers can remain in their vehicles on enclosed lower decks
We are strongly advising passengers to stay in their vehicles, regardless of their car deck, during the crossing. If you must come up to the passenger decks, please maintain physical distancing on board, and stay at least two metres away from employees. Our crew are making announcements asking customers to stay in their cars, distance themselves if they must come upstairs and wash their hands.

This change applies to all routes with the exception of travel on the north coast between Port Hardy and Prince Rupert, and Prince Rupert and Skidegate.

The decision is the result of collaboration between Transport Canada and the Canadian Ferry Association to provide ferry operators with important flexibility to help protect passengers and their families from COVID-19 related risks, while also ensuring additional measures are taken to ensure passenger safety. BC Ferries will increase patrols on the enclosed car deck to ensure safety in the rare event of an emergency. Passengers will not be allowed on closed car decks once the COVID-19 situation ends.​  ​

Pay with a card and use 'Tap' where possible
Please use electronic payment (Debit, Credit or Experience™ Card) only during this time. We recently completed the installation of debit at terminal vehicle and foot passenger ticketing areas.

Tap and pay capability for both credit (up to $250) and debit (up to $100) is available at the majority of our terminals.

All food and retail outlets are closed
This closure applies to over the counter service and ‘grab and go’ pre-packaged items.

Baggage service suspended on south coast routes
The baggage service for walk-on passengers has been suspended until further notice.  We will continue to offer baggage service on our north coast routes.

Customers requiring wheelchair assistance
If a customer requires a wheelchair, they can request one at the terminal. To support physical distancing, we ask customers who require wheelchair assistance to travel with their own pusher. 

Tsawwassen – Duke Point “Cargo” Sailings
  • BC Ferries has obtained a special license to operate “cargo” sailings between Duke Point and Tsawwassen which limits the maximum number of passengers onboard
  • Commercial vehicles transporting goods are reserved customers and will be loaded on “cargo” sailings with priority
  • Essential service workers will be loaded on a first come, first serve basis after commercial vehicles on “cargo” sailings
  • If remaining deck space is available on “cargo” sailings, other traffic may be loaded at the discretion of the terminal
  • Essential service workers are defined by the Province of British Columbia as those daily services essential to preserving life, health, public safety and basic societal functioning​

BC Ferries Vacations™ customers 
All customers with a confirmed BC Ferries Vacations booking that has been impacted by the service level adjustments will be contacted directly by a BC Ferries Vacations agent. We will work with you to adjust your travel plans. We will be contacting guests in order of departure date. If you require immediate assistance, please contact BC Ferries Vacations at 1-888-223-3779 Ext. 3, or email vacations@bcferries.com. Vacations Call Centre business hours are 8:30am - 5:00pm from Monday – Friday, and 9:00am – 5:00pm on weekends and statutory holidays. 

All customers with a confirmed BC Ferries Vacations booking for travel up until May 30th should contact BC Ferries Vacations for updates prior to travelling.

To ensure the safety of our customers and employees, our team is handling requests and customer inquiries over the phone or by email. We’re here to help you and we’ll do our best to respond to you as quickly as possible – please don’t hesitate to reach out.  ​

For general visitor information, please visit Destination BC

We're in this together
We are proud of the work our dedicated and courageous employees continue to provide during this situation. Our front line teams are committed to continuing to safely transport critical supplies to BC's coastal communities. If you have a chance to relay a ‘thank-you’ to our teams online or during your travels, please do.

Information and Resources​

Doing business with BC Ferries during the COVID-19 situation
Please read this letter containing information that will be helpful to you and your staff as you continue to service our business. Information and resources are also available via the Business Opportunities section of our website.​

Recently returned to Canada? Follow the direction of the BC Centre for Disease Control:
Those returning from travel outside of Canada should stay at home and self-isolate for 14 days after they have returned. Monitor yourself daily for symptoms like fever, cough or difficulty breathing for these 14 days. If you develop symptoms, call HealthLinkBC (8-1-1) at any time or speak with your health care provider to discuss any need for testing and follow up.

BC Centre for Disease Control Information Page
Answers to many common questions surrounding COVID-19.

Information and updates including travel advice, prevention, risk, response.

Healthlink BC COVID-19 Latest Updates
News, prevention tips and information on self-monitoring/self-isolation. The 8-1-1 number allows anyone with COVID-19 concerns to speak to a health service navigator at any time.

Province of British Columbia Pandemic Preparedness Plan
COVID-19 preparedness and planning material.

Office of the BC Provincial Health Officer – COVID-19 Updates
To support BC's health care providers, an evidence-based source of information about COVID-19 in BC.

Think you might have symptoms?
Do a self-assessment with this online tool provided by Health Canada.

Mental Health and Coping during COVID-19
Information from Health Canada on what you can do to support yourself and your family.

HelloBC - Destination BC Traveller and Tourist Information​ 
Do your part now, so we can all explore BC again later.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is BC Ferries doing to reduce the risk of spreading infectious disease including COVID-19?
When we learned of the outbreak, we took proactive measures to mitigate the spread of infectious disease including COVID-19 on our ferries and at our terminals. Crews have been taking, and will continue to take, extra measures to clean and disinfect all touch points. Touch point cleaning focuses on common areas and locations that are touched frequently by people throughout the day. They include hard surfaces such as tables, handrails, payment pin pads, door handles, and elevator buttons. We have also stepped up our cleaning protocols in all washroom facilities.

We are asking customers to follow the advice of health agencies to avoid all non-essential travel.

Is BC Ferries screening passengers for COVID-19?
Yes. Transport Canada has issued health screening guidelines to ferry operators to assess all passengers before boarding to better protect employees and passengers. These guidelines from Transport Canada are based on advice from the Public Health Agency of Canada. Visit this Transport Canada webpage for more information.  

What routes does the COVID-19 screening apply to?
All sailings that have an expected duration of 30 minutes or longer and will be in effect until June 30th or further notice.  

What’s involved in COVID-19 screening?
Prior to boarding a BC Ferries’ vessel, all passengers will be asked to answer four questions as part of health screening compliance. If a passenger answers ‘yes’ to any of these questions, or fails to answer, they will be refused travel for 14 days and should self-isolate.  

1.    Do you have a fever and a cough?
2.    Do you have a fever and breathing difficulty?
3.    Have you been refused boarding in the past 14 days due to a medical reason related to COVID-19?
4.    Are you the subject of a provincial/territorial or local public health order?

Is BC Ferries implementing temperature screening as part of the health screening process?
No. Transport Canada guidelines do not include taking travellers’ temperature.

What if I cough and need to travel, will I fail the screening?
As per the federal guidelines, if you have a cough and a fever, you will be denied travel and instructed to self-isolate for 14 days. If you have a cough and no other symptoms, you will be permitted to travel.​

Why is BC Ferries reducing service?
These measures are being taken to protect the health and safety of communities and our crew, ensure the resiliency of our service, and match service levels to current demand. The changes are designed to ensure BC Ferries has sufficient capacity to allow the flow of essential goods, services, supplies and workers to their destinations. Most service reductions will go into effect on Saturday, April 4, for a period of 60 days on major routes and until further notice on other routes.​

I had a booking on a sailing that has been cancelled due to service reductions, what happens next?
Customers with bookings on cancelled sailings will be automatically refunded. Those who wish to book on a new sailing should contact BC Ferries directly to do so. We are encouraging customers to avoid non-essential travel at this time.​

B.C. health officials have announced a ban on gatherings of over 50 people, does this apply to ferries?
No. This ban applies to events and does not apply to transportation services.

What advice does BC Ferries have for passengers?
We’re asking customers to follow the advice of the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) to avoid all non-essential travel. BC Ferries regularly monitors information from the BC Centre for Disease Control and the PHAC. Right now, the advice from health authorities is to follow some simple tips:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • Cough or sneeze into your sleeve and not your hand
  • Stay home if you are sick to avoid spreading illness to others

Is it possible to self-isolate in my vehicle on board?
Yes. BC Ferries will allow customers to remain in their vehicles on the enclosed car deck during the COVID-19 situation, to help support physical distancing and self-isolation. This change applies to all routes with the exception of travel on the north coast between Port Hardy and Prince Rupert, and Prince Rupert and Skidegate. 

The decision is the result of collaboration between Transport Canada and the Canadian Ferry Association to provide ferry operators with important flexibility to help protect passengers and their families from COVID-19 related risks, while also ensuring additional measures are taken to ensure passenger safety.

The purpose of keeping passengers off closed car decks is to ensure their safety in the case of an emergency. BC Ferries will increase patrols on the enclosed car deck to ensure safety in the rare event of an emergency. Passengers will not be allowed on closed car decks once the COVID-19 situation ends.​​

What's the difference between travelling on BC Ferries versus a cruise ship?
With the exception of our north coast routes, passengers are on our ferries from between 10 minutes to two hours. Cruise ship passengers are on board for one or two weeks on average, or longer. Depending on the vessel, our ferries carry between 150 to 2,100 passengers and crew. Cruise ships carry up to 6,000 passengers. Our entire service area is within a "low risk" region. We sail along coastal British Columbia and do not travel to any foreign ports.

Who qualifies for “cargo only” sailings?
These sailings between Tsawwassen – Duke Point are reserved for the movement of commercial goods and essential service workers. Commercial vehicles carrying goods are reserved customers and will be loaded with priority, followed by essential service workers. If remaining deck space is available, other traffic may be loaded at the discretion of the terminal.  

Who qualifies as an essential service worker?
The Province of British Columbia describes essential services as those daily services essential to preserving life, health, public safety and basic societal functioning. A full list of essential services can be found here: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/safety/emergency-preparedness-response-recovery/covid-19-provincial-support/essential-services-covid-19