Penelakut Island residents are glad to have their ferry back in service after a 13-day absence due to damage caused by December’s windstorm. Cancelled sailings on that route contributed to a record December for BC Ferries cancellations last month. (Don Bodger file photo)

Windstorm blows in a December record for cancelled BC Ferries sailings

BC Ferries reports 50 per cent increase over the previous December high

Last month set a record for the highest number of ferry cancellations in the month of December.

With a total of 330 sailings canceled across all BC Ferries routes last month, December 2018 blew the previous record of 220 cancellations out of the water.

According to Deborah Marshall, executive director of public affairs for BC Ferries, the cancellations were due to weather.

“A variety of factors go into the decision to cancel a sailing due to high winds including wind speed, wind direction, sea state and wave height,” she said. “It depends on the vessel but wind speed can be around 35 knots when we would make the decision to cancel due to high winds.”

VIDEO: Giant wave covers vehicle deck of ferry

RELATED: Ferries cancelled on more than a dozen routes due to winds

Aside from ferry cancellations, the rough weather on also caused damage to the Tsawwassen berths and Penelakut Island dock. The Dec. 20 storm caused localized flooding at Tsawwassen where repairs were completed quickly, and left Penelakut Islanders without their usual tie to Chemainus for nearly two weeks.

The Penelakut dock required more extensive repairs which took 13 days to complete.

The Comox to Powell River route had 33 sailings canceled in December. The previous year only saw four cancellations in the same month.

This route saw no cancellations in November 2018, but 16 due to high winds in November 2017.

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