Tuesday, May 21, 2024

BC Ferries cancels all early morning trips; more cancellations on the way


BC Ferries announced early on Tuesday morning that their first and second round trips between all terminals were cancelled. 

The ‘adverse weather’ advisory on BC Ferries website details all the affected routes. At 6 a.m.  on Tuesday December 20th, they announced the following:

The first round trips are cancelled for the following routes:

  • Tsawwassen (Vancouver) – Swartz Bay (Victoria)
  • Tsawwassen (Vancouver) – Duke Point (Nanaimo)
  • Horseshoe Bay (Vancouver) – Departure Bay (Nanaimo)
  • Horseshoe Bay (Vancouver) – Langdale (Sunshine Coast)

The first two round trips are cancelled for the following routes:

  • Tsawwassen (Vancouver) – Southern Gulf Islands
  • Swartz Bay (Victoria) – Southern Gulf Islands
  • Nanaimo Harbour – Descanso Bay (Gabriola Island)
  • Vancouver (Horseshoe Bay) – Bowen Island (Snug Cove)
  • Salt Spring Island (Vesuvius Bay) – Crofton
  • Brentwood Bay – Mill Bay
  • Thetis Island (Preedy Harbour) – Penelakut Island (Telegraph Harbour) – Chemainus

Since BC Ferries posted these cancellations at 6 a.m. their third and fourth round trips have also been cancelled from Tsawwassen, Swartz Bay and Salt Spring Island.

According to BC Ferries departures and arrivals webpage, all sailings up until 3 p.m. from all major terminals have been cancelled. No sailings have left the Swartz Bay or Tsawwessen terminals as of this time.

The 3 p.m. sailing from both Swartz Bay and Tsawwassen are full and BC Ferries is loading as many vehicles as possible.

The Victoria bound ferry is slightly delayed now though due to foggy conditions.


Some smaller terminals have started operations after cancelling the first few morning sailings. Vancouver’s Horseshoe Bay terminal is now sailing to and from Sunshine Coast (Langdale) and Bowen Island (Snug Cove), but those are the only terminals operating as of 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday, December 20th.

Along with these cancellations, BC Transit has suspended all regional transit in Greater Victoria due to the heavy snowfall and some flights arriving and departing Victoria INternational Airport are being cancelled as well. 


Environment Canada has a ‘winter storm warning’ in effect for Greater Victoria and a ‘snowfall warning’ in effect for greater Vancouver as well as the Gulf Islands and the Lower Mainland. 

“Dangerous travel conditions due to heavy snow and poor visibilities in blowing snow,” says Environment Canada’s weather warning.

“Consider postponing non-essential travel until conditions improve. Surfaces such as highways, roads, walkways and parking lots may become difficult to navigate due to accumulating snow. Visibility will be suddenly reduced to near zero at times in heavy snow and blowing snow.” 

“There may be a significant impact on rush hour traffic in urban areas. If visibility is reduced while driving, turn on your lights and maintain a safe following distance.”

Traffic and driving conditions being dangerous for people to get to and from ferry terminals is likely a big factor in all the cancellations thus far today.

The province also issued their own statement urging drivers to avoid travel. 

Drivers on the Lower Mainland and southern and central Vancouver Island are encouraged to avoid non-essential travel today due to the heavy snowfall overnight.

At least 30 cm of snow fell on the Malahat and other areas of the island with more expected throughout the day.

The province said EMCON, which maintains the highways, are out in full force to clear snow and apply sand to the roadways.  

“It is important for drivers to keep their distance as sand is applied and to not pass winter-maintenance equipment,” the province said.

Drivers can assist maintenance crews by moving over safely when they see a vehicle with an amber light approaching. This allows maintenance crews to clear the snow and improve road conditions to reduce hazards for drivers.

Curtis Blandy

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