September 28, 2023
BUSY TERMINALS EXPECTED OVER THANKSGIVING LONG WEEKEND
High foot passenger counts anticipated on major routes
VICTORIA – BC Ferries is preparing to welcome approximately 380,000 passengers and 175,000 vehicles over the Thanksgiving long weekend and will provide over 3,000 sailings between October 5 and October 10.
Foot passenger traffic is anticipated to be especially high due to post-secondary students travelling home for the holiday weekend. Foot passenger wait times may occur at peak times and customers travelling on the major routes are strongly urged to make a reservation to secure a spot on their desired sailing. Customers travelling without a confirmed booking are strongly encouraged to be dropped off at the terminal and travel as foot passengers as standby vehicle spaces are extremely limited.
The Coastal Renaissance remains out of service as repairs are being completed. Customers travelling the Horseshoe Bay – Departure Bay and Horseshoe Bay – Langdale routes are reminded no additional holiday weekend sailings will be added to the schedule as a result. However, the Tsawwassen – Swartz Bay route will have four vessels in operation, with 70 additional sailings.
Following the busy Thanksgiving long weekend, the Spirit of Vancouver Island will be temporarily removed from service from the Tsawwassen – Swartz Bay route. The vessel will be drydocked from October 10 – 18 for necessary ballast tank repairs. From October 11 – 18, two vessels will provide service on the route. Additional sailings are not possible as a relief vessel is not available. Customers are strongly advised to make reservations during this time. Overloads are expected throughout the week, particularly on October 13 and October 15.
Customers are encouraged to check for available deck space and travel updates on Current Conditions and our @BCFerries X account prior to travelling to terminals.
COASTAL RENAISSANCE REPAIR OVERVIEW
- Sailings were suspended on August 17 following the failure of the #2 drive motor.
- On September 15, the rotor was lifted from the vessel and shipped to the contractor for repairs. The repair plan entails inspection and repair of the complete drive motor.
- While the motor is being repaired, the vessel’s scheduled annual refit will be conducted simultaneously.
- The Coastal Renaissance is expected to return to service in December, in time for the holiday season.
TRAVEL TIPS FOR THE THANKSGIVING LONG WEEKEND
- Customers with flexibility in their travel plans can sail at off-peak times to avoid the rush and take advantage of Saver fares on select sailings.
- Arrive early – Customers with a booking should plan to arrive at the terminal 45-60 minutes before their scheduled departure. Walk-on passengers should arrive 45 minutes before their anticipated sailing. Please refer to current conditions and plan accordingly.
- Expect sailing waits at popular times – Sailing waits are common during popular travel periods for customers without a booking. If bookings are sold out, the best option to avoid sailing waits is to travel during less busy times. These are typically mid-week days and early morning or late evening sailings.
- Ride-share or take public transit to and from major terminals. Customers are encouraged to carpool or take public transit. For schedule information visit TransLink, BC Transit or BC Ferries Connector.
- Consider parking options – Parking lots at the major terminals fill up quickly at peak periods. When parking lots fill up, BC Ferries informs customers via @BCFerries X account and on the website.
- Know before you go – Check Current Conditions and All Routes at a Glance for the status of your sailing on your day of travel. Follow @BCFerries X account for regular updates, seven days a week.
BC Ferries, Media Relations
Victoria: (250) 978-1267
Victoria: (250) 410-1465
Toll-free: 1-888-BCFERRY (1-888-223-3779)
Note to newsrooms: For urgent media inquiries off-hours, call our emergency line at (250) 516-7211.