Travel Advisory: COVID-19 Update - Important information - Last updated January 11, 2021 View ×

BC Ferries remains committed to ensuring coastal communities have reliable access to essential goods and supplies. Our priority is the health and safety of our customers and employees, and the company will strictly adhere to provincial and federal guidelines.

We encourage our customers to continue to heed Dr. Bonnie Henry’s advice to be calm, be kind, and be safe. Our vessel and terminal staff are working hard to adjust to changing circumstances and to implement protocols and procedures that keep everyone safe and healthy. BC Ferries does not tolerate any abuse, including verbal abuse, towards its employees. A customer who abuses an employee will be denied service.

On January 7, 2021 Dr. Bonnie Henry announced an update to the COVID-19 restrictions (in effect November 7 - February 5, 2021), for more information click here. BC Ferries advises customers to avoid non-essential travel at this time – this includes travel into and out of B.C. and between regions of the province. If this new Provincial Health Officer restriction affects your travel plans please contact us to change or cancel your booking. Reservations fees for existing bookings will be refunded if travel must be cancelled as a result of Provincial Health Order (PHO) travel restrictions, please contact us in advance of travel. This applies to travel occurring during the PHO travel restriction period. 

 

Masks are mandatory

All passengers must wear non-medical masks or face coverings when at terminals and on board ferries except:

  • When inside a vehicle
  • When consuming food or drinks, provided physical distancing is maintained
  • Children under 2 years of age
  • Medical condition or disability that inhibits the ability to wear a mask
  • Persons unable to place or remove a mask without assistance
  • BC Ferries employees working behind a physical barrier or within employee only areas provided physical distancing is maintained

 

* In the event that a passenger cannot wear a mask or face covering due to medical reasons, BC Ferries may require passengers to present documentation from a healthcare professional. This is a new Transport Canada requirement for ferry operators across Canada.

Passengers are reminded to continue to maintain physical distance while wearing a mask.
 
As defined by the Public Health Agency of Canada, a mask should fit securely to the head with ties or ear loops, be made of at least two layers of tightly woven material fabric (such as cotton or linen) and be large enough to completely and comfortably cover the nose and mouth without gaping.

 

Transport Canada - Closed deck regulation - reinstatement on September 30th

The temporary flexibility Transport Canada granted ferry operators that allows passengers to remain in their vehicle on enclosed vehicle decks is being rescinded by the regulator on September 30th, 2020. Transport Canada allowed this temporary flexibility earlier this summer in response to COVID-19. BC Ferries must comply with Transport Canada regulations. Starting on September 30th, passengers loaded on enclosed lower decks will be required to leave their vehicles.

Learn more about the reinstatement of the Transport Canada regulation

View frequently asked questions

 

Transport Canada - COVID-19 screening

For any route longer than 30 minutes, BC Ferries will screen all customers for COVID-19 symptoms and restrict travel to any customer that does not meet the screening requirements, as per the federal guidelines.

Prior to entering a BC Ferries’ terminal, 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? Note: A provincial/territorial or local public health order is typically a quarantine order issued to a person who has tested positive or is presumed positive to COVID-19
  5. Are you in possession of a face covering that covers your mouth and nose, and do you agree to wear this covering when outside your vehicle at terminals and while on board ferries?

If you answer yes to any of questions 1 to 4 and/or no to question 5 above, or refuse to answer any of the questions, BC Ferries will deny you boarding. Customers not displaying symptoms and under a directive to self-isolate at home may be permitted on board but will be required to maintain physical distance by remaining in their vehicle.

BC Ferries has implemented measures in order to ensure that customers with serious medical conditions and a need for time sensitive treatments are able to continue to travel. Customers can communicate their travel needs to the ticket agent when they arrive at the terminal. Reservations are recommended, but non-reserved travel will be prioritized based on the essential travel needs.

View more details on Transport Canada’s announcement

Book in advance to avoid lengthy waits as sailings are limited. Check-in processing takes longer due to screening protocols in place.
 

Malahat Nation

Malahat Nation is currently under a Shelter in Place order that took effect January 8, 2021.

We ask that all Mill Bay ferry customers please wear a mask when on, or transiting to BC Ferries Mill Bay terminal outside of a vehicle. Commuting customers please see the request below from Malahat Nation regarding parking on Mill Bay Road.

For further information, please see malahatnation.com.

 

Northern routes

For more information on our current Northern schedules, visit bcferries.com/schedules.

Many communities served by BC Ferries have issued advisories to travelers notifying them of limited supplies, healthcare equipment and resources. These communities include Haida Gwaii, Bella Bella, Klemtu, and Bella Coola. Customers should inform themselves of local situations and remain committed to essential travel only.
For more information about travel and restrictions in these northern communities, see:

Foot passengers

When travelling, we require customers wear a face covering onboard or in our terminals. Reservations for foot passengers are available for travel between Tsawwassen - Southern Gulf Islands and our North Coast routes, and can now be made online.  On all other routes, foot passengers will be accommodated on a first come, first served basis until passenger capacity has been reached, and tickets may be purchased at the terminal.

 

BC Ferries Vacations

Customers with BC Ferries Vacation bookings affected by the COVID-19 restrictions (in effect November 7 - February 5, 2021) can contact us to change or cancel their booking. 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:

  • Monday – Friday: 8:30 am – 5 pm
  • Weekends and statutory holidays: 9 am – 5 pm

 

Additional information

  • Customers requiring wheelchair assistance: We are unable to provide wheelchair assistance at terminals or on board ferries. If you require a wheelchair, request one at the terminal. We ask that you travel with your own wheelchair assistant if required.

  • For more information on travelling with BC Ferries during the COVID-19 Pandemic click here
  • Updates from our President and CEO Mark Collins

Vehicles with U.S. license plates travelling on the Ferries

Canada Border Services Agency is screening people entering Canada at the borders. BC Ferries does not have a mandate to restrict travel.

 

We’re in this together

We are proud of the work our dedicated employees continue to provide during this situation. Crews have been taking, and will continue to take, extra measures to ensure continued safe transport of critical goods and supplies to coastal B.C. communities. If you have a chance to relay a ‘thank-you’ to our teams online, please do.

BC Ferries provides a lifeline to remote and to coastal communities in British Columbia, and will continue to provide vital services, such as delivering medical supplies and groceries to support communities.

For more information on all the steps BC Ferries is taking during COVID-19, visit our COVID-19 response page. For more information on schedules visit bcferries.com/schedules. BC Ferries hopes to resume the levels of service customers have come to expect soon.

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Island Class Ferries 2022

The Latest News

We awarded a contract for the construction of four more hybrid electric Island Class ferries. Once completed, they will service Quadra Island and Gabriola Island. Read the press release below:


Recent engagement

In February we held community drop-in sessions to introduce communities to the Island Class vessels and talk about related changes.

You can view the information presented at these sessions by clicking the links below:


You can also read the summary of what we heard at these events here:

A New Tie-up Berth at Quathiaski Cove, Quadra Island

We are excited to be preparing for two-ship service on Quadra Island with the recent purchase of 733 Pidcock Road near the existing ferry terminal to house a night tie-up berth for a new second ferry. The tie-up berth will be used only for storing the second ferry when it is not in use. Crew will be boarding and debarking at this location, but there will be no vehicle access to the ferry from this point.

We will start initial testing at the site in May as part of our construction preparations. Our first step is geotechnical investigation of the seabed condition. Neighbours and those in the area may notice marine rigs and test pile driving. The work is expected to take two days and will be confined to weekday, day time hours. Crews will not be visiting or staying on the Island to minimize the risk to Quadra Island residents.

The berth will include:
 
  • Floating lead and wingwall structures.
  • A small, gated crew access gangway.
  • A utility shed and limited parking spaces for service vehicles.
  • Shore power and localized lighting for critical areas like utility spaces and the gangway.

We are committed to working closely with our neighbours in the area to ensure we mitigate noise and disruption during berth construction and daily operations. We expect that once in place, the impact of the new tie-up berth will be minimal. There will be limited departures and arrivals of the vessel, no vehicle traffic on or off the vessel, no standard PA announcements at the berth, and with the presence of shore power, no need to run ships' engines overnight.

In order to construct the new tie-up berth, a number of regulatory reviews and approvals are required, including rezoning the land and water lot through a rezoning and OCP amendment process with the Strathcona Regional District. Environmental and archeological permits are also underway. More information on the formal rezoning and OCP amendment process will be posted to this page as it becomes available.

View information on the SRD’s formal rezoning and OCP amendment process:
 

Related Terminal Development Plans

You may also be interested in learning more about these related terminal development projects:
 

Improved Service to Communities

The new Island Class ferries will improve service to communities by: Providing more frequent service, with sailings roughly every half-hour Increasing passenger capacity from 400 to 600 passengers per hour Increasing vehicle capacity from 60 to 94 vehicles per hour Reducing line-ups and improving safety and congestion on local roads Providing more convenience and choice in sailing times for customers Eliminating the need to increase the size of our terminal compounds (moving more traffic through the same amount of space)

Community Input on Two-Ship Services

In the summer of 2018 we asked community members and customers what kind of service they would prefer, one larger ferry that provides similar sailing frequency as the current service, or two smaller ferries with increased sailing frequency. This is what we heard:
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View the full engagement results View Quadra Island engagement results View Gabriola Island engagement results View the compiled engagement results

Learn more about the Island Class Design

Get an overview of the Island Class design
 

What will happen to the Powell River Queen and the Bowen Queen?

Both the Powell River Queen and the Bowen Queen will be retired from service.
 

Questions, concerns, or need more information?

Send us an email at vesselreplacement@bcferries.com.