BC Ferries wants travellers to enjoy “smooth sailing” this Canada Day long weekend.
To make the transportation portion of your long weekend more enjoyable, BC Ferries is celebrating Canada’s birthday at major terminals. Face painting, bubble machines, mascots, kids music, magic and more will keep youngsters entertained during ferry waits, and the Stream of Dreams Murals Society will give them a chance to participate in public art. On Monday, July 1 the society will be at Swartz Bay terminal to help kids paint wooden fish to be installed along the terminal fences.
But even though waits over the long weekend will offer more than terminal snacks, the ferry service company is giving the public tips for smooth travels via ferry over the busy weekend.
BC Ferries says the busiest times to sail are Thursday and Friday afternoon, as well as Saturday morning. Historically, the Monday and Tuesday after the long weekend sees another rush of people returning from Vancouver Island and the Sunshine Coast. “To avoid sailing waits, BC Ferries recommends you reserve, or travel at less busy times,” the company stated in a media release.
Other recommendations include:
- Reserving in advance to secure a spot. Avoid the line ups and zoom past the last-minute sailors. Those who make reservations have zero sailing waits, even when multiple waits are reported. Reservations be made online at bcferries.com.
- Get a deal by travelling at “off-peak times.” BC Ferries offers deals for travellers who opt for the early morning and late evening sailings. The “Sunrise and Sunset Savings” promotion offers deals on more than 1,600 sailings, with some discounted as low as $49 for standard passenger cars on select routes.
- Move things along by being prepared. BC Ferries asks passengers to follow traffic control flaggers and have their booking reference number ready upon arrival.
- Arrive early. For extra busy weekends, it’s recommended that passengers arrive 45-60 minutes prior to their scheduled departure. Walk-on travellers are asked to arrive 45 minutes ahead of time.
- Ride-share! Car-pooling cuts down on the number of vehicles backing up the ferry terminal and parking lots. “BC Ferries encourages customers to car-pool or travel as a foot passenger. Vehicle deck space can fill up quickly and will be sold out at popular times.”
- Use the travel-planning pages on bcferries.com to check for sailing waits. Those travelling without a reservation are pushed onto the next ferry once the first one is full.