With another busy summer weekend expected, BC Ferries’ crews are bracing for not just the heat but an influx of customers.

They say, historically, the middle weekend in August tends to be very popular for ferry-goers; the company actually dubs it the unofficial “change-over” weekend of the summer.

But it seems major routes will likely see the brunt of traffic, as those from the mainland flock to Vancouver Island for a weekend getaway.

Lately, spokesperson Deborah Marshall has noticed pent-up demand, with B.C.’ers partaking in ‘stay vacations’ while travelling within the province. “We’re not quite back to pre-COVID numbers, but we’re very close and we’ve had quite a busy season,” she tells My Campbell River Now.

In the coming days, Marshall says sailings from Tsawwassen to Swartz Bay, Tsawwassen to Duke Point, and Horseshoe Bay to Departure Bay are expected to be ‘particularly busy’ – all day Friday and Saturday morning especially.

For those hopping aboard, Marshall says it’s ‘always a good idea’ to book in advance, adding it’s important that ferry-goers arrive early, 45 to 60-minutes before departure. Mobile ‘Easy Check-In’ is also available.

“Many of the peak sailing times, the reservations have been fully subscribed already,” she notes. “If you are travelling on a major route and you don’t have a reservation, we would suggest you travel at off-peak times, maybe Thursday or Saturday afternoon. Otherwise, be prepared for sailing waits.”

But as the tourists come, so does the warmer than usual weather. A heat warning is currently in effect, with parts of East Vancouver Island facing temperatures around 30°C combined with overnight lows near 16°C.

With this in mind, Marshall adds, “We’re definitely recommending that people bring water for themselves as well as their pets. It is going to be quite a warm weekend, and we will see some sailing waits so make sure you’re prepared. Hats and sunscreen are also a good idea.”