A bylaw to regulate the ferry line-up was adopted in 2019, so there are some “official rules” you need to know about:

  • DO NOT park in the ferry line-up unless you are waiting to board the next sailing.
  • Enter the ferry line behind the last vehicle in the line, or in the first open space closest to the ferry. Yes, this means you may “fill the gaps.”

BIM Information A simple way of thinking about it is: don’t leave a gap. But if you see a gap, fill it.

  • Park within two feet (or 0.6 metres) of the vehicle in front of you. If there’s a cross-hatched area behind the next vehicle, pull right up to the edge of the cross-hatched area.
  • DO NOT stop or park any portion of your vehicle on the cross-hatched areas.
  • In the two-lane area of the ferry line, enter the shorter lane. When vehicles start loading, merge like a zipper at the point where it narrows to one lane. Don’t worry, there are signs there to help.

Bylaw officers will be monitoring the ferry line during peak sailing times, and they’ll be handing out these educational cards to help everyone understand how the new rules work.

Read Traffic and Use of Streets Amendment Bylaw No. 469, 2019 (Ferry Line-Up)

Ferry line DOs and DON’Ts

Islanders are pretty particular when it comes to the ferry, so we thought we’d let you know about both the official and unwritten rules.

Vehicles: DO

  • Line up behind the last vehicle in the line, or in the first open space closest to the ferry. Yes, this means you may “fill the gaps.”
  • In the two lane area of the ferry line, park in the shorter lane.
  • Snug Up! Park within two feet (0.6 m) of the vehicle in front of you.
  • Be in your vehicle at least 10 minutes before the scheduled departure of the ferry.
  • Motorcycles: you will be loaded and unloaded before cars. Go right to the front of the line.
  • Cyclists: load and unload with foot passengers. Walk your bike across the ramp.

Vehicles: DON’T

  • Don’t park in the ferry line unless you are waiting to board the next sailing.
  • Don’t speed to get to the ferry. Speed limits are enforced by the RCMP.
  • Don’t look for a toll booth. The fare you purchased in Horseshoe Bay includes the return trip!
  • Don’t make a U-Turn on the hill to get into the ferry line.
  • Don’t stop or park beyond the “End of Ferry Line Up” sign. If the lanes are full you will not get on the ferry. Come back for the next sailing.
  • Don’t stop or park in cross-hatched areas. They are there so that ferry traffic doesn’t block entrances to stores, side streets and parking lots.

Foot passengers: DO

  • Arrive at the waiting area at least 10 minutes before the scheduled departure.
  • Wait for ferry traffic to load or unload before crossing the street.

Foot passengers: DON’T

  • Don’t walk on the road after you cross the ramp. Move to the sidewalks so that vehicles can unload.
  • Don’t look for a toll booth. The fare you purchased in Horseshoe Bay includes the return trip!

Ferry Marshal on peak days

Looking at historic traffic data from BC Ferries, we’ve determined certain days of the year when the volume of ferry traffic leaving the island is much higher than usual. This can lead to stress and confusion in the lineup for commuters and visitors. To reduce these issues, we hire a Ferry Marshal to help keep traffic in the ferry line under control and running smoothly. BC Ferries contributes half of the cost to cover marshalling services.

Here is the anticipated schedule for 2022. Please note, the Ferry Marshal’s schedule is subject to change, depending on traffic volume and other factors.

DateTime
Monday, April 18 (Easter Monday)2:45 pm – 6:45 pm
Tuesday, April 19 (day after Easter Monday)6:00 am – 10:00 am
Monday, May 23 (Victoria Day)2:45 pm – 6:45 pm
Tuesday, May 24 (day after Victoria Day)6:00 am – 10:00 am
Sunday, July 32:45 pm – 6:45 pm
Monday, July 4 (day ater Canada Day long weekend)6:00 am – 10:00 am
Sunday, July 102:45 pm – 6:45 pm
Sunday, July 172:45 pm – 6:45 pm
Sunday, July 242:45 pm – 6:45 pm
Sunday, July 312:45 pm – 6:45 pm
Monday, August 1 (BC Day)2:45 pm – 6:45 pm
Tuesday, August 2 (day after BC Day)6:00 am – 10:00 am
Sunday, August 72:45 pm – 6:45 pm
Sunday, August 142:45 pm – 6:45 pm
Sunday, August 212:45 pm – 6:45 pm
Sunday, August 282:45 pm – 6:45 pm
Monday, September 5 (Labour Day)2:45 pm – 6:45 pm
Tuesday, September 6 (day after Labour Day)6:00 am – 10:00 am
Monday, October 10 (Thanksgiving Day)2:45 pm – 6:45 pm

Questions about ferry marshalling? Please contact Bylaw Services at 604-328-5499 or bylaw@bimbc.ca.

Bowen Ferry Guide

The Bowen Island Ferry Guide is available in print at locations throughout Snug Cove and at Municipal Hall. You can also download a PDF of the Bowen Ferry Guide.