Two-drink maximum, only with food: BC Ferries shares details of booze plan
CTV News Vancouver
Published Thursday, April 18, 2019 9:10AM PDT
Last Updated Thursday, April 18, 2019 7:01PM PDT
Passengers on some BC Ferries sailings could soon be able to unwind with a glass of beer or wine on board.
A BC Ferries spokesperson confirmed the company is developing a pilot project that would see alcohol served on three vessels travelling between Swartz Bay and Tsawwassen.
But the beverages sold on the Coastal Celebration, the Spirit of British Columbia and the Spirit of Vancouver Island would only be available at the buffet, not the cafeteria, and there would be a limit to how much passengers can drink.
"We are looking at a two-drink maximum in the Pacific Buffet," BC Ferries spokesperson Astrid Braunschmidt said. "And those drinks must be purchased with a meal."
Markita Kaulius, whose daughter Kassandra was killed by an impaired driver in 2011, has a number of concerns about BC Ferries' plan to rollout beer and wine sales.
In a phone interview with CTV News, she said most people are responsible and will act accordingly if they plan to drive but it just takes one person getting behind the wheel drunk to take a life.
Kaulius said she's interested in hearing how BC Ferries plans to enforce its two-drink maximum, and questioned how staff will know if a passenger has consumed alcohol before boarding.
With the recent legalization of cannabis, Kaulius also has concerns about people getting high and then drinking on the ferry before driving their cars.
The company's spokesperson noted staff members are already being trained how to sell alcohol responsibly under B.C.'s Serving it Right program.
"That will help them be responsible hosts," Braunschmidt said. "Like any restaurant, we do expect our patrons to be responsible guests as well."
The company hasn't decided how much it will charge for beer and wine, or when the project will start, but Braunschmidt said it could be in the next couple months.
"We are looking to launch this pilot sometime this summer but we don't have all the details just yet," she said.
Ferry passengers were split on the idea Thursday, with some excited to sip a beer on board and others concerned about drivers getting behind the wheel after downing a couple drinks.
"Anybody who can't go two hours without a drink has got a problem," Gerry Kristianson told CTV News. "I've never felt that the lack of being able to buy alcohol while I was on the ferry was a problem that needed solving."
The Delta Police Department said it was notified about the proposal, and will continue working with BC Ferries to intervene any time a possible drunk driver is disembarking on the mainland.
"When BC Ferries staff suspects a person may be impaired by drugs or alcohol and driving off the ferry, they contact Delta police so our officers can take action.
They’ve done this on a number of occasions in the past, and we anticipate those types of communications will continue in the future," the department said in an email.
Another passenger, Roger Bailey, told CTV News he doesn't expect the pilot project to cause much trouble if BC Ferries enforces its proposed drink limit.
"It's about time BC Ferries got with it," Bailey said. "In Europe, it's quite normal to have a pub on the ferry."
BC Ferries hasn't decided what kind of drinks will be available, but said it's considering B.C. VQA wines and craft beers.
With files from CTV Vancouver's Sheila Scott and Ben Miljure