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For Immediate Release
May 19, 2022


VICTORIA – This year’s May long weekend not only marks the unofficial start to recreational boating season in coastal British Columbia, but also the kick off to Safe Boating Awareness Week. BC Ferries reminds everyone to be safe on the water, especially when navigating near ferries.

“British Columbia’s beautiful waterways are some of the most popular in the world for boating and we want everyone to share the ocean safely,” says Darren Johnston, BC Ferries’ Executive Director, Fleet Operations.

When it comes to unsafe boating practices, BC Ferries’ captains have seen it all, from commuter boats surfing a ferry’s wake, to small boats cutting dangerously close in front of a big Spirit Class ferry, to people fishing in a busy ferry lane.

“Ferries do not manoeuver as easily as smaller boats,” adds Johnston, “It can take several ship lengths for a ferry to come to a complete stop in an emergency.”

During the spring and summer months, BC Ferries ramps up its service, so mariners will see ferries more frequently on its routes. For everyone’s safety, recreational boaters are advised to:
  • steer clear of ferry berths and docks
  • give the ferry lots of space in narrow channels such as Active Pass, and
  • avoid crossing dangerously close in front of the ferry

In addition to using caution when boating near ferry lanes and BC Ferries’ terminals, pleasure craft operators are encouraged to learn important ferry signals. For example, five or more short blasts in rapid succession means the ferry captain is unsure where the pleasure craft ahead intends to go, and if it can avoid a collision. 

With close to 475 sailings every day and a fleet of 35 operational vessels covering the coast of British Columbia, BC Ferries’ highly trained crews often respond to emergencies at sea when requested by the Canadian Coast Guard. Last year, BC Ferries responded to 17 marine emergencies. In general, incidents increase in the summer months when more pleasure boaters take to the water.

Safe Boating Awareness Week runs May 21 through May 27. This year’s campaign promotes responsible boating practices such as wearing lifejackets, boating sober, taking a boating course, being prepared, and understanding the dangers of cold-water immersion. For more information, visit
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Media Contact:
BC Ferries, Media Relations
Victoria: (250) 978-1267

Customer Contact:
Victoria: (250) 410-1465
Toll-free: 1-888-BCFERRY (1-888-223-3779)

Note to newsrooms: For urgent media inquiries off-hours, call our off-hours line at (250) 516-7211.
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