Friday, June 9, 2023
June 9, 2023

Editorial: Boozey cruises

Last week’s news about beer and wine being sold on some major-route ferries as a pilot project was disconcerting to hear.

BC Ferries confirmed a leaked memo on the subject was no joke and that it will make beer and wine available in the Pacific Buffet area on the three vessels sailing between Swartz Bay and Tsawwassen beginning in June.

Critics of the idea are supposed to be comforted by the fact that sales won’t start until 11 a.m., that no more than two drinks will be sold to one person and that food must be purchased along with the booze.

In addition to the obvious boost in revenue, BC Ferries is no doubt imagining that adding beer and wine sales to the buffet area will enhance the voyage experience for tourists, along with the corporation’s TripAdvisor rating. But visitors who are unfamiliar with disembarking procedures and roadways at and beyond the Swartz Bay and Tsawwassen ferry terminals are the last people who should have more opportunities to cloud their vigilance behind the wheel.

It’s hard to imagine how BC Ferries will evaluate the pilot. Will the question be whether it makes enough money to justify the potential tragedy of a drunk-driver-caused accident at the other end? Or at least enough money to justify the stress on employees having to police the consumption or sobriety of buffet area patrons? Or enough money to justify the issues arising when RCMP have to pluck a suspected impaired driver from the disembarking traffic?

BC Ferries staff and RCMP officers already deal with cases where impaired drivers are suspected on vessels. And with more people likely to be driving when impaired by cannabis now that it’s a legal substance, it seems foolhardy to add more fuel to the impaired driving fire.

According to Statistics Canada, impaired driving rates steadily declined between 1986 and 2016. Sustained education and policing efforts have had a positive impact. Still, an average of 65 people per year die in B.C. in car crashes caused by drug or alcohol-impaired drivers. It is still a serious social issue whose solution cannot rely solely on individuals’ discretion and ability to make sound judgements on every occasion.

Making beer and wine available before sending drivers on their merry way is just plain irresponsible. Let’s hope BC Ferries determines that it’s not worth the risk.


  1. I find this very melodramatic and lacking personal responsibility. So you are saying when we go to concert venue which usually has a two drink maximum in some occasions that the promoter should also be held responsible for their concert goers if they sneak in booze or drink before or after the concert? That if you go to a restaurant, the restaurant should be held accountable as well for an irresponsible driver who exceeds their limit and in this case, you cannot exceed two drinks, period. I am sure with only two drinks, a restaurant would feel very safe letting their patrons leave..It isn’t hard to monitor with the procedures they will have in place. It only allows you a nice ‘with dinner’ beverage, not to get drunk or over the limit even. You don’t think that a person could hide alcohol on their persons regardless of where they are and make stupid decisions regardless of where they are? It’s a TWO drink maximum on a ferry ride that lasts over an hour and a half. You can hardly get a buzz let alone being drunk with that kind of restrictions.This whole over reaction is laughable at best. If you are going to attack BC Ferries for having a two drink maximum, don’t focus holy on them, focus on the drivers who are supposed to be adults and behave accordingly. Does your paper have a personal vendetta against this company? I mean, two articles bashing it, one against alcohol and a horrible article questioning the ferry workers, their abilities and their commitment..shameful.

    • Well said! Just another case of people making an issue out of a non issue. In fact, there seems to be a higher proportion of general wankers on the Gulf Islands that like to bitch and whine over every little change. What happened to the saying of ‘take responsibility for your own actions’’, now a days it seems that everyone is offended. People need to stop acting like such weak little pussies in general. I’m sure I just offended people with that comment… maybe they will write an article about it?


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