A staff shortage put a Duke Point-destined ferry more than two hours behind schedule this morning, but B.C. Ferries said it is prepared for high traffic volume expected this weekend.
The 5:15 a.m. sailing of the Queen of Alberni, from Tsawwassen to Duke Point, was 145 minutes behind schedule, said Deborah Marshall, B.C. Ferries spokesperson, departing at 7:40 a.m., with an officer from Swartz Bay filling in. However, there are proper staff numbers for this weekend and vessels are anticipated to depart on time, she said.
“Sometimes ships can be delayed with heavy traffic, but our staff certainly does their best to keep the ships on time … somebody might fall in sick, there’s some unanticipated things that can happen, but at this point, we don’t expect any impacts this weekend,” said Marshall.
Marshall said families tend to take vacations during first two weeks or last two weeks of August, so this coming weekend will see overlap between the groups of travellers. It is highly recommended that people book ferry trips in advance.
“If you’re travelling without a reservation on the major routes, we recommend you avoid Friday and Saturday morning,” said Marshall
With aging staff, Marshall says B.C. Ferries is seeing declining work force numbers.
“We had probably about 50 officer positions retire and we are having a bit of a challenge trying to backfill them … there are fewer people going into the marine industry.”
For more information on ferry schedules, or to apply for a job, go to www.bcferries.com.