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.
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:
- Do you have a fever and a cough?
- Do you have a fever and breathing difficulty?
- Have you been refused boarding in the past 14 days due to a medical reason related to COVID-19?
- 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
- 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.
Book in advance to avoid lengthy waits as sailings are limited. Check-in processing takes longer due to screening protocols in place.
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.
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:
- For Haida Gwaii: haidanation.ca
- For Bella Coola: bellacoola.ca
- For Bella Bella: heiltsuknation.ca
- For Klemtu please see: klemtu.com
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Vacations Call Centre business hours are:
- Monday – Friday: 8:30 am – 5 pm
- Weekends and statutory holidays: 9 am – 5 pm
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
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.
January 31, 2020
BC Ferries awards contract for additional Salish Class vesselsVICTORIA – BC Ferries continues to roll out its Clean Futures Plan and has awarded Remontowa Shipbuilding S.A. of Gdansk, Poland a contract to build an additional liquefied natural gas (LNG)-fuelled vessel scheduled to go into service in the Southern Gulf Islands in 2022. This vessel will be identical to the three Salish Class vessels built by Remontowa for BC Ferries in 2016.
“Our Clean Futures Plan is our path to replace diesel fuels with cleaner energy options. While this cannot be achieved in a single step, we are continually seeking energy sources that offer a cleaner, lower carbon-intensity option to displace non-renewable diesel,” said Captain Jamie Marshall, BC Ferries’ Vice President, Business Development & Innovation. “In our move towards a sustainable future, adopting LNG is one way to reduce our impact on the environment today. This new vessel will be our sixth ship fuelled by natural gas.”
The agreement with Remontowa is a design-build, fixed-priced contract that provides BC Ferries with substantial guarantees related to delivery dates, performance criteria, cost certainty and quality construction. The total project budget, which includes financing and project management costs, is approximately $92.3 million.
The 107-metre Salish Class vessel will have the capacity to carry at least 138 vehicles and up to 600 passengers and crew. It will allow for the retirement of the Mayne Queen, a diesel-fuelled vessel. The ship will be powered by three Wartsila engines and electrically propelled by Schottel thrusters at each end, driven by an efficient gas-electric power plant. Onboard amenities include a Coastal Café, Passages retail store, children’s play area and a passenger lounge.
The ship will have a number of key features that support BC Ferries’ goal to be efficient and environmentally responsible throughout its system. Highlights of the Salish Class vessels include:
- The use of natural gas as the primary fuel that reduces GHG emissions by 15 to 25 per cent, reduces sulphur oxides by over 85 per cent, reduces nitrogen oxides by over 50 per cent and nearly eliminates particulate matter
- Electric propulsion that eliminates gear boxes and shaft
- Twin propellers that reduce cavitation
- Hull designed for very small wake
- Advanced hull coating that reduces flow disturbance and environmental leaching
- Engine management system that reduces machinery running
- Resilient engine mount that isolates structure borne noise
BC Ferries received responses from 16 international shipyards and short-listed three shipyards to proceed to the Request for Proposal (RFP) stage. No Canadian companies submitted a bid.
Remontowa Holding is the largest shipbuilding capital group in Poland and the leader of the industrial sector in the region, incorporating 25 companies. Remontowa Shipbuilding, one of the leading companies belonging to Remontowa Holding, will build BC Ferries’ new ship in Gdansk, Poland. Remontowa Shipbuilding has considerable engineering expertise and a proven track record in delivering ferries and other vessels for numerous international clients. To date, Remontowa Shipbuilding has delivered over 1,000 vessels.
BC Ferries, Communications
Victoria: (250) 978-1267
Fax (250) 978-1119 bcferries.com/bcfnews
Note to newsrooms: For urgent media inquiries off-hours, call our emergency line at (250) 516-7211.
Victoria: (250) 386-3431
Toll-free: 1-888-BCFERRY (1-888-223-3779)
British Columbia Ferry Services Inc.
500-1321 Blanshard Street, Victoria, BC V8W 0B7