As winds slammed Vancouver Island on Dec. 20, BC Ferries faced 130 sailings cancellations to 14 routes.
“It was quite an unusual storm,” said BC Ferries spokesperson Deborah Marshall. “We probably haven’t seen that for seven or eight years.”
The decision was made for safety as winds blew over 40 knots, raising the sea state by more than two metres. BC Ferries is clearing debris from their terminals, especially at the Southern Gulf Islands where many trees fell. Tsawwassen also saw some flooding yesterday.
“We do want to remind customers to be very cautious as they are driving out to the terminals because there is a lot of debris on the roads, particularly on the Southern Gulf Islands,” Marshall said.
Any reservations made for Thursday sailings were cancelled and automatically refunded. Customers do not have to contact BC Ferries for a refund. Those passengers can travel on standby today.
“We don’t want to keep the issue going on subsequent sailings, having a knock-on effect for customers who have already booked reservations today,” she said.
As of 8:30 a.m. there is a two-sailing wait for both Tsawwassen and Swartz Bay, but reservations are being honoured. Four vessels are operating on that route.
“Ironically, we scheduled extra sailings to start yesterday for our holiday schedule, but we do have lots of extra sailings scheduled from today through Jan. 2,” Marshall said.
She added that BC Ferries usually sees a 10-day period of busy travelling around the winter holidays. They expect Sunday, Dec. 23, Boxing Day, Dec. 27 and 28 to be particularly active travel days.