Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Transport Canada Regulations Cause Gabriolans Grief

New Regulations Limit Passengers

Some time ago Transport Canada introduced regulations seriously reducing the number of passengers the Bowen Queen and the Quinsam can carry. The reductions were implemented to meet safety concerns as to how many passengers the crew could safely handle in the event of an emergency.

I have not been able to find out how the sea-going mariners who work for Transport Canada came up with their numbers but if it is typical government, I have long since stopped looking for common sense or logic. This decision does come from the same brain trust that decided to close lighthouses on the coast, remember.

A quick look at their decision would indicate that each crew member can safely handle 41.7 passengers, whereas the old limit would have meant handling 56 passengers. That is 292 or 393 passengers being handled by 7 crew members. What practical study was this based upon?

Based on information I could find the Bowen Queen was launched in 1965 and for many years has been allowed 70 cars and a total of 393 passengers manned with a crew of 7.

The Quinsam was launched in 1982 and has been allowed 70 cars and 400 passengers with a crew of 7.

I cannot find any record of either of these vessels being in a life threatening emergency and I think the Nanaimo to Gabriola ferry run is hardly a high risk route with danger at every turn. There is one or two embarrassing incidents at the dock however.

The solution it would appear would be to hire 2.4 more crew and raise fares to cover the cost of their wages, they could of course likely take turns sleeping on the crossing.

Or . . . . . . . wait for it . . . . . . . Transport Canada could apply some good ole fashion horse sense and decide the old regulations have served the people of Gabriola well for a great many years and really don't need ch


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