NEWS BULLETIN file photo Ferry rider shares her observations to foster understanding, patience, sympathy and consideration for others, so that we can all travel safely, successfully and stress-free, she says.

OPINION: Respect ferry etiquette

Writer suggests that we consider the ferry terminal and the ferry itself as a ‘village’

For 25 years I have averaged 250 sailings a year on BC Ferries, almost exclusively as a walk-on passenger. I share my observations to foster understanding, patience, sympathy, consideration for others, and perhaps a little better planning so that we can all travel safely, successfully and stress free.

As a ‘frequent floater,’ I would like to suggest that you consider your ferry terminal and the ferry itself as a ‘village.’ B.C. Ferries terminal staff and crew members are your village’s emergency (fire, police, ambulance), transport, food, beverage and entertainment providers; they and the other passengers are your fellow villagers. We are all in this together, so let’s make this the most pleasant village experience possible.

Arrive with adequate time to make your desired sailing; it is not the fault of traffic, parking, or staff when you arrive late.

Understand that the ticket agent is not responsible for you not making the ferry of your choice; they neither set the schedule nor decide when to cut off sales.

Ensure you bathe when about to travel in close quarters, and leave the perfumes and aftershaves alone. We should not be able to smell you unless we are touching you.

Check your luggage, whenever possible. Suitcases, duffel bags, backpacks, car seats etc. are a trip hazard for all those behind and beside you, take up unnecessary space in the passenger area, and frankly are a hassle for everyone around you. Keep bags, coats, or other stuff off the seats. Not only is this rude and selfish, it deprives you of the possibility of making a friend, learning something new, and engaging with your fellow villagers.

Respect others’ right to a peaceful sail; please speak quietly on cell phones; use personal audio devices (earbuds/headphones), at a reasonable level when listening to music, gaming or watching content on line. Do not run, speak loudly, or engage in disruptive behaviour.

Take the opportunity to enjoy the trip. Unplug, read a book, make a new friend or simply meditate or rest.

Choose to view your ferry trip as a voyage of discovery, and the cheapest cruise on the coast. Take the time to share and appreciate our beautiful vistas, wildlife and rainbows.

Lorinne Anderson is a Nanaimo resident and frequent floater.

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