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.

Read more

For Immediate Release
20-007
February 19, 2020


BC Ferries names and christens the first two Island Class ferries

Island Discovery and Island Aurora will enter service mid-2020


VICTORIA – BC Ferries revealed the names of its first two Island Class ferries at a special naming ceremony at Victoria’s Point Hope Maritime. Island Discovery and Island Aurora are the newest vessels to enter the fleet and will enter service in mid-2020, serving the Powell River – Texada Island and Port McNeill – Alert Bay – Sointula routes, respectively.

The names were selected with community input and celebrate the beauty of the journey and the important connection to the coastal communities the ferries will soon serve. Today’s ceremony began with a few words from BC Ferries and Damen Shipyards, followed by the unveiling of the ships’ names, and the christening of the hulls.

In keeping with maritime tradition, BC Ferries selected sponsors for each of the ships. These roles are important – each sponsor bestows the ship with good luck and protection for all those who travel on them. Each ship has a community sponsor and a sponsor from the BC Ferries family. In recognition of her achievement and long service with BC Ferries, Senior Business Analyst Sandy Leduc christened Island Discovery along with former Northern Sunshine Coast Ferry Advisory Committee member Sandy McCormick from Texada Island. To christen Island Aurora, Alert Bay resident and Chair of the Tri-Island Ferry Advisory Committee, Melissa Fletcher joined North Island Catering Superintendent Sheila O’Neill, a long-time member of the BC Ferries family.

The first of the new vessels, Island Discovery, will be deployed on the Powell River – Texada Island route, replacing the 59-year old North Island Princess, which will be retired from the BC Ferries fleet. The second vessel, Island Aurora, will replace Quadra Queen II on the Port McNeill – Alert Bay – Sointula route. Quadra Queen II will become a relief vessel.

Island Class ferries have the capacity to carry 47 vehicles and between 300 and 450 passengers and crew, depending on configuration. They are battery equipped ships designed for future full electric operation. The ships are fitted with hybrid technology that bridges the gap until shore charging infrastructure and funding becomes available in B.C. From the exterior details to the engines, the design of the new vessels reduces underwater radiated noise, lowers emissions and improves customer service. Partial funding for these two vessels was provided by the federal government through the Provincial – Territorial Infrastructure Component – National and Regional Projects.

BC Ferries looks forward to welcoming these ships into service in mid-2020. The company will hold events to celebrate the ferries’ introduction into service with both employees and the communities.

Quotes:

“Today’s ceremony marks a major milestone as we prepare to bring the new Island Class vessels into service. These ships will connect communities literally and figuratively, when they enter service later this year. We are grateful to have such upstanding members of the BC Ferries family and the vessels’ homeport communities bestow the ships with good luck and protection.”
Mark Collins, President & CEO, BC Ferries
 
“The new Island Class ships represent the direction the company is taking. The future of BC Ferries is innovative, leading edge, and ready to adapt to changing economic and social climates, without compromising safety, efficiency and reliability. Bringing these ships into service is a major step forward as BC Ferries focusses on providing world-class service to communities up and down coastal British Columbia.”
John Horning, Chair, Board of Directors, British Columbia Ferry Services Inc.

“We enjoy an excellent partnership with BC Ferries – one that cements the long-standing relationship that exists between the Netherlands and Canada. Working closely together, we have developed state-of-the-art vessels to provide an outstanding passenger experience.”
Jan-Wim Dekker, Chief Commercial Officer, Damen Shipyards Group

 
{media1}
Co-sponsors Sandy Leduc (BC Ferries, left) and Sandy McCormick (Texada Island, right) pulling a ribbon that smashes a bottle of champagne against the hull of Island Discovery to christen the vessel.

{media2}
Island Discovery co-sponsors Sandy McCormick (Texada Island, left) and Sandy Leduc (BC Ferries, second from left), along with Island Aurora co-sponsors Melissa Fletcher (Alert Bay, second from right) and Sheila O’Neill (BC Ferries, right) pose together after christening and naming of both vessels at Point Hope Maritime.

{media3}
The Island Aurora shortly after being unveiled at a naming ceremony held at Point Hope Maritime in Victoria on February 19, 2020.

{media4}
One of the two 400 kilowatt-hour (kWh) battery banks on each Island Class vessel, supplied by Richmond-based Corvus Energy.
 
- 30 -

Media Contact:
BC Ferries, Media Relations
Victoria: (250) 978-1267
Fax (250) 978-1119 www.bcferries.com/bcfnews
Note to newsrooms: For urgent media inquiries off-hours, call our emergency line at (250) 516-7211.

Customer Contact:
Victoria: (250) 386-3431
Toll-free: 1-888-BCFERRY (1-888-223-3779)