We understand that it can be frustrating and inconvenient when weather disrupts travel plans. It can be more problematic when the cancellation has little advance notice. At Marine Atlantic, we try to provide as much notice as possible if there is a potential schedule disruption.

We operate in an environment where severe weather and ice conditions can impact our sailing schedule, especially during winter months. This winter, we’ve experienced weather systems that created 11-metre seas and hurricane force wind warnings up to 120km/h.

It’s up to our captains to make the final decision as to whether a vessel sails during adverse weather.

When making these decisions, a number of different factors including wind speeds, wind direction and sea states are taken into consideration. Both safety and passenger comfort are our top priorities.

While preparing for an upcoming crossing, each Captain reviews the weather forecast and discusses it with their colleagues before making decisions that may impact scheduled crossings. 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, depending on the severity or expectations of the weather system.

We also experience circumstances where the weather systems being experienced in port, or at the destination, are worse than originally forecast which may result in the last minute cancellation of a crossing. We try to avoid these disruptions, but Nova Scotia and Newfoundland’s weather is often unpredictable.

In times of potential delays and cancellations, we provide customers with as much advance notice as possible. Customers are contacted through a system that uses the contact information provided at the time of a booking.

If there is the potential for disruption, updated information will be posted on our website at www.marineatlantic.ca, and all advisories are issued through our Twitter account @MAferries

During weather disruptions, we appreciate patience and understanding and are committed to getting passengers to their destination at the earliest opportunity.