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Long weekend ferry sailings close to full between mainland and Vancouver Island

Hour and a half delay from Tsawwassen to Swartz Bay kicks off busy weekend
Sailings between Swartz Bay and Tsawwassen this B.C. Day long weekend are rapidly filling up, with the majority of reservations already sold out. (Don Denton/News Staff)

An hour and a half sailing delay from Tsawwassen to Swartz Bay Friday morning is kicking off what is expected to be an extremely busy long weekend of travel.

According to BC Ferries, the Queen of New Westminster was running 95 minutes behind schedule due to a staffing issue but has resumed service as of 8 a.m.

Already, the majority of reservations on BC Ferries’ sailings between the mainland and Greater Victoria through the weekend are booked up and many of Friday’s trips are completely full.

As of early Friday morning, all reservations from Tsawwassen to Swartz Bay are sold out for Friday, the vast majority are sold out for Saturday and about half are sold out for Sunday and Monday. In the opposite direction, almost all reservations are sold out Friday and Monday and about half are sold out for Saturday and Sunday.

Motorists still have the option of showing up without a reservation and hoping there is room, but BC Ferries’ current conditions dashboard shows minimal space available on Friday’s sailings.

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The 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. sailings from Tsawwassen to Swartz Bay are completely full as of 7:30 a.m., with between four and 23 per cent availability on the remainder of the day’s trips. From Swartz Bay to Tsawwassen, availability ranges between seven and 49 per cent up until 9 p.m., with 83 per cent availability on a midnight sailing.

Sailings between Nanaimo and Vancouver are also rapidly filling up. From Departure Bay to Horseshoe Bay, all but two reservation times are full on Friday, Saturday and Sunday and all but one is full Monday. Sailing the other direction, all reservations are sold out Friday and only a few remain for the rest of the weekend.

The same is true between Tsawwassen to Duke Point, with Friday reservations fully booked in each direction, with just a couple available for Saturday, Sunday and Monday.

For Friday, the 8:45 a.m. to 11:05 a.m. sailings from Horseshoe Bay to Departure Bay are full, with 40 to 58 per cent availability for the rest of the day. In the opposite direction, no sailings are full yet and availability ranges between 20 and 80 per cent.

From Tsawwassen to Duke Point, the 10:15 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. Friday sailings are full, with two to 16 per cent availability for the remaining three. Travelling the other way, Friday’s availability ranges between 14 and 48 per cent.

BC Ferries has warned it will be a busy weekend for ferry traffic and has suggested those who haven’t booked ahead sail on less busy days and at less busy times.

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About the Author: Peninsula News Review Staff

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