BC Ferries announced on Thursday, June 22nd that its summer schedule is now available to those looking to travel over the next few months.
The announcement brings promise of additional staff and sailings; however, the announcement came with the caveat that customers “should expect some cancellations.”
Five additional ferries are being put into service between Metro Vancouver and Vancouver Island, the Sunshine Coast, and the Southern Gulf Islands, which cumulates to an additional 4,700 projected sailings before Labour Day.
BC Ferries says they expect to transport 2.6 million vehicles and 7 million passengers this summer.
They also state that they have just done their biggest round of hiring in the company’s 63-year history, onboarding 140 new staff members, 70 of whom came to Canada from Ukraine.
“We’ve done a lot to ensure smooth sailing this summer, but we need to be prepared that not all ships will sail all of the time,” said BC Ferries President and CEO Nicolas Jimenez.
“Even though we have more people, we are short back-up staff in key positions to cover unexpected absences. I hope customers will continue to offer their understanding as we grapple with retirements and a global shortage of 21,000 professional mariners.”
According to BC Ferries, by regulation, vessels require a certain number of skilled mariners before a sailing can depart. This means that with even one or two missing crew members, the whole sailing can be cancelled.
Last summer, BC Ferries cancelled over 300 sailings due to staff shortages, which represented 0.7% of all sailings between June and September.
In 2022, between June, July and August, BC Ferries was forced to cancel more than 300 sailings due to crew shortages. That represents 0.7 per cent of all sailings during that period.
All routes’ schedules can be found online, here.