For Immediate Release
June 28, 2023


VICTORIA – BC Ferries’ customer care team has averted booking cancellations in the wake of an unplanned, extended refit that has removed a ship from service and will decrease overall passenger and vehicle capacity between Tsawwassen and Swartz Bay over the upcoming long weekend.

Over 6,600 bookings were reassigned to the Spirit of Vancouver Island, Spirit of British Columbia and the Queen of New Westminster as a result of the Coastal Celebration’s delay in returning from dry dock due to unexpected complications with its propulsion systems.

“The service recovery effort undertaken by our team to mitigate the impact of refit issues beyond our control has been exemplary,” said Nicolas Jimenez, President and CEO of BC Ferries. “I want to thank customers who agreed to be rebooked on alternate sailings for their understanding and flexibility. I can assure all travellers that our engineers are working closely with shipyard crews to expedite repairs so the Coastal Celebration can safely get back on the water as soon as possible.”

From June 28th to July 3rd there will be eight fewer daily sailings between Tsawwassen – Swartz Bay than originally planned. Customers with reservations, who will make up the vast majority of those sailing this weekend on that route, will not be impacted. However, customers travelling without a confirmed booking are strongly encouraged to go as walk-on passengers given a limited number of spaces for standby vehicles on each sailing.

All ticket booths at Swartz Bay and Tsawwassen terminals will be open and extra traffic flaggers have been secured to deal with expected long lines and sailing waits. Both terminals will also offer activities for families in playground areas, hydration stations and misting stations to make wait times a bit easier.

Travellers wanting the latest updates on available, but limited, standby spots will find travel advisories on our website and Twitter account and are encouraged to check for updates frequently.

The Coastal Celebration’s expected return to service is Tuesday, July 4 and is contingent upon the completion of the complex repairs and successful sea trials.
Coastal Celebration Refit Fast Facts:
  • Original anticipated return date from its annual refit: June 15.
  • While in dry dock, shipyard crews discovered an issue with the stern tube bearings and the rudder stock. Both are critical to the successful, efficient and safe operation of the vessel’s propulsion system.
  • The repair is complex and requires significant crew hours to execute and test, most of which will occur on overtime at night and during the weekend.
  • Upon completion of the repair, the vessel undergoes sea trials before being cleared for service.
  • Sea trials take a full day to complete, and customers may notice the Coastal Celebration near the Swartz Bay terminal on July 2. This indicates the vessel is one step closer to active service.
  • Residents in the Swartz Bay area may hear engine noise for extended periods of times as the ship goes through its various tests. BC Ferries apologizes for any inconvenience. This is a necessary step to ensure the engine is running smoothly. Updates will be provided over the course of the weekend.
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Media Contact:
BC Ferries, Media Relations
Victoria: (250) 978-1267

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