BC Ferries was up and running again on Saturday morning after high winds caused 25 sailing cancellations on Friday – most of which were on the Tsawwassen-Swartz Bay route.
Everything is back to normal, said BC Ferries spokesperson Deborah Marshall. The Swartz Bay and Tsawwassen terminals are busy but all vessels are in use.
Folks without reservations can expect at least a two sailing wait at the Swartz Bay terminal and a 3 sailing wait in Tsawwassen, said Marshall. The schedule will remain dynamic throughout the day, but the storm has passed and the winds have died down so no cancellations are expected for Saturday, she explained.
The company also added two extra sailings to the Saturday schedule in each direction to manage the traffic that overflowed from Friday – an 8 a.m. and a 12 p.m. from Swartz Bay and a 10 a.m. and a 2 p.m. from Tsawwassen. The extra sailings will not have reservations.
As of Saturday morning, the 7 a.m., 9 a.m., 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. ferries from Tsawwassen to Swartz Bay were 100 per cent full and the 1 p.m. was already 80 per cent full. On the Swartz Bay side, by 7 a.m. the 7 a.m., 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. ferries were at capacity and the 11 a.m. was 60 per cent full.
On Friday evening, two ferries left Swartz Bay between 6:45 p.m. and 7:40 p.m. The first ferry was able to make the trip to Tsawwassen, but the second never went out into open water because the captain felt the conditions were unsafe, Marshall explained. At 10 p.m., the captain made the decision to turn the ferry around and return to Swartz Bay. Customers were onboard for three hours, she said. Some customers returned to the line up, others left.
Marshall noted that the company apologizes for the inconvenience to passengers.
“The decision to cancel sailings was not taken lightly, but safety is the priority.”