A ferry sails the Salish Sea at sunset.

Photo Credit: Laurie Milton | Facebook

This Week in BC Ferries Nonsense

A dozen ferries cancelled over the weekend up and down island

This never-ending story would be funny if it weren’t so frustrating

Cancellations, delays, and system crashes. The whole shebang showed up to cause Islanders huge headaches this weekend.

On the bright side, those headaches weren’t from COVID. Lots of ferry staff were already home sick with that, apparently.

The staff members left standing were shuffled around to fit a modified schedule. Still, the four cancelled sailings between Swartz bay and Tsawwassen left a traffic jam miles long on the Pat Bay highway.

In total, at least a dozen ferries were cancelled this weekend.

“We require a specific number of crew members on board the vessel to ensure the safety of our passengers,” BC Ferries said in a statement. “The decision to cancel a sailing in these circumstances is made when we have exhausted all options to find replacement crew.”

It might be a bit easier to keep staff numbers up if folks were wearing masks, but who knows? (Scientists and doctors do.)

BC Ferries also cancelled Sunday’s and Monday’s sailings on the Northern Sea Wolf between Bella Coola and Port Hardy due to a problem with the main engine on the boat.

Sailing cancellations are barely news at this point. They’re an almost everyday occurrence.

But like we’ve said, the staffing issues at BC Ferries are about more than just COVID. These problems are decades in the making.

According to BC Ferries, the cancellations make up less than 1% of sailings.

But we’re an island community. The ferries are our highways. It’s how we get our food and and our fuel, and how our families stay connected.

When an atmospheric river blew up the Coquihalla last November, the province kicked into high gear to repair it. Which was exactly the right thing to do.

But with the ferries? It’s like their get up and go got up and went.