We understand that it can be quite frustrating and inconvenient when weather disrupts your travel plans. It can also be even more problematic when the cancellation takes place with little advance notice. At Marine Atlantic, we try to provide as much notice as possible if there is the potential of schedule disruptions.
We operate in an environment where severe weather and ice conditions can impact our sailing schedule at times, especially during the winter months. So when exactly is the decision made as to whether a crossing will be delayed or cancelled? It’s a good question and the answer may not be as simple as you may think.
Our Captains make the final decision as to whether a vessel sails when weather conditions are less than ideal. When making these decisions, a number of different factors including wind speeds, wind direction and sea states are taken into consideration with safety and passenger comfort as top priorities.
When preparing for an upcoming crossing, each Captain reviews the weather forecast and discusses it with their colleagues before any final decisions are made as to whether a scheduled crossing may be impacted. If a weather system is approaching, advance notice is usually provided to customers that we are monitoring a system that could potentially impact sailings. The actual decision to cancel or delay a sailing is made when weather data shows a consistent trend with no improvement. With this in mind, we try to provide as much advance notice as possible regarding potential impacts. Depending on the forecast models these decisions may be made several hours in advance of a crossing, or even longer, subject to the severity or expectations of the weather system.
Unfortunately, we also experience circumstances where the weather systems being experienced in port are worse than originally forecast which may result in the last minute cancellation of a crossing. While we try to avoid these disruptions, Mother Nature can be unpredictable and oftentimes has the final say.
In times of potential delays and cancellations, we will provide you with as much advance notice as possible. You will be contacted directly if there is the potential for disruption and updated information will be posted on our website at www.marineatlantic.ca and advisories issued through our Twitter account, @MAferries.
During weather disruptions, we appreciate your patience and understanding and will work to get you to your destination at the earliest opportunity following the weather event.