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 email@example.com. 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.
For Immediate Release
March 13, 2020
Skeena Queen returns to service tonightVICTORIA – BC Ferries announced today the regular vessel serving the Swartz Bay – Salt Spring Island route, the Skeena Queen, will return to service for the 9 p.m. sailing from Swartz Bay tonight, after undergoing a mid-life upgrade. The vessel was removed from service on Oct. 28 to undergo the upgrade, which was necessary to provide required maintenance on the ship and enhance the customer experience.
“We heard from customers about some areas on the ship that needed improvement, and we took that feedback into account during the upgrade,” said Brian Anderson, BC Ferries’ Vice President of Strategy & Community Engagement. “We know the community is excited to have the Skeena Queen back in service and we’re looking forward to showing them the improvements to customer areas. We appreciate the community’s patience while the ship was out of service.”
Customers will notice new furniture in the passenger lounges as well as additional exterior benches that will provide seating for travellers to take in the spectacular view in the warm summer months. One of the lounges was also converted to provide cafeteria style seating with tables. The ship now has air conditioning and expanded washrooms. The navigation, communication and electrical systems were improved to enhance safety and reliability.
“While passengers may miss the popular lounge and cafe on the Queen of Cumberland, we look forward to experiencing the upgraded and improved amenities on the Skeena Queen,” said Harold Swierenga, Salt Spring Island Ferry Advisory Committee Chair. “On the whole, the return of the efficient Skeena Queen to Fulford Harbour will be warmly welcomed.”
BC Ferries thanks customers for their patience while the Skeena Queen was removed from service. This ship was built in 1997 and required this mid-life upgrade to provide another 20 years of safe and reliable service in BC Ferries’ fleet. For more information visit bcferries.com.
March 2020 - The mid-life upgrade included new and improved seating in the passenger lounges. Photo above shows new seating with plastic covering protecting the floor, which will be removed prior to re-entry into service.
BC Ferries, Communications
Victoria: (250) 978-1267
Fax (250) 978-1119 www.bcferries.com/news
Note to newsrooms: For urgent media inquiries off-hours, call our off-hours at (250) 516-7211.
Victoria: (250) 386-3431
Toll-free: 1-888-BCFERRY (1-888-223-3779)