BC Ferries
Image: BC Ferries vessel docking at the Swartz Bay terminal. (nickaroundtheworld/ Instagram)

There’s good news for travellers looking to head to the mainland for Easter long weekend!

From April 18 – 23, BC Ferries will be adding 89 extra sailings between Vancouver Island, Vancouver, and the Sunshine Coast.

For Victoria, 70 extra sailings will be scheduled between Swartz Bay and Tsawassen – the busiest route in the fleet.

Just up the island in Nanaimo, an additional 11 sailings will be scheduled between Horseshoe Bay and Departure Bay.

Lastly, travellers between Vancouver and the Sunshine Coast will have access to an additional 8 sailings.

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The Easter long weekend will also mark the return of the large Spirit of Vancouver Island vessel, which has just finished mid-life upgrade servicing. The upgrades include an engine conversion from diesel to liquefied natural gas (LNG), improvements to navigation equipment, and an expansion of on-board amenities.

The Spirit of Vancouver Island will begin sailing between Victoria and Vancouver on April 18th.

BC Ferries’ tips for travelling during the long weekend

While dozens of extra sailings are being scheduled for the Easter long weekend, ferries are still expected to be busy.

To help with your travel plans, BC Ferries has offered a few tips for the weekend:

• Book in advance – Commuters may want to reserve early to guarantee a spot on their desired sailing. Alternatively, if your travel plans are flexible, then traveling at off-peak will help you avoid the rush.
• Arrive early – BC Ferries recommends that vehicle passengers arrive 30 – 60 minutes before their departure, and that walk-on passengers arrive 45 minutes before their sailing.
• Consider parking options – Parking lots at the major terminals tend to fill up quickly over the Easter long weekend. If possible, travellers are advised to take public transit or arrange to be dropped off at the terminal to avoid traffic congestion.

Travellers between Vancouver – Nanaimo, Vancouver – Sunshine Coast, and Earls Cove – Saltery Bay should also check sailing schedules, as regular sailing times have changed for the long weekend.