B.C. Ferries is banning tobacco, e-cigarette, and marijuana smoke on all vessels

If you grew up in the Lower Mainland, you might share with many locals the memory of smoking a joint

BCferries / bcferries.com

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If you grew up in the Lower Mainland, you might share with many locals the memory of smoking a joint with your pals on the back of a B.C. ferry, taking in the stunning wilderness of the boat’s route from Horseshoe Bay to Nanaimo or up to the Sunshine Coast. And so it’s with a pang of nostalgia that some heard the news yesterday (August 22) that the Crown Corporation is finally banning smoking on its vessels.

“B.C. Ferries made the decision to provide a smoke-free environment for the travelling public and our employees on-board our ships and at our terminals,” B.C. Ferries president and CEO Mark Collins said quoted in a media release. “This new policy supports the health and wellness of our customers and employees, as it helps control their exposure to second-hand smoke. We continue to focus on improving our customers’ experience, and providing the safest working environment for our crews.”

The release specifically mentions marijuana, alongside tobacco and e-cigarettes. It adds there will be no exceptions for marijuana that was obtained legitimately for a medical purpose.

The ban is scheduled to take effect in January 2018.

The view from the back of a B.C. Ferries’ vessel on its way from Horseshoe Bay to the Sunshine Coast. Credit: Travis Lupick

The organization also recently announced it will no longer allow passengers to remain in cars on closed decks. That change is scheduled to occur on October 11, 2017.

“B.C. Ferries will harmonize its safety practices with Canadian ferry operators relating to Transport Canada regulations that prohibit passengers from remaining in their vehicle on any closed deck on a vessel that is underway,” reads a second August 22 media release. “Since 2007, B.C. Ferries has been complying with Transport Canada regulations by maintaining a continuous car deck patrol. B.C. Ferries and Transport Canada recently re-examined the policy and in an effort to coordinate safety practices will change the application of the regulation.”

The release does not explain what sort of safety concerns the change in policy is intended to address.

Passengers will still be allowed to access vehicles parked on upper, open decks, but only B.C. Ferries’ larger vessels have those. The release states that customers “with special circumstances” can request a ticket for a spot on an upper deck. “Where this is possible, B.C. Ferries will try and accommodate your request,” the release states.

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