VICTORIA -- British Columbia's ferry service is warning travellers to plan ahead if they are taking a boat this holiday weekend.

BC Ferries says travellers are strongly advised to book a sailing in advance in order to guarantee a spot on a ferry during what's expected to be a very busy sailing weekend.

The company says customers without a reservation can expect multiple sailing waits, especially on the Horseshoe Bay-Langdale and Horseshoe Bay-Departure Bay routes.

BC Ferries says the less busy times for those routes are in the late evenings and early mornings. The busiest times tend to be Thursday and Friday afternoons, was well as Saturday morning.

Likewise, the busiest times at the end of the weekend are typically Monday (B.C. Day) and the following Tuesday morning, especially for traffic heading from Vancouver Island and the Sunshine Coast to the Lower Mainland.

The ferry service recommends that travellers between Horseshoe Bay and Departure Bay consider an alternate route, such as Tsawwassen-Duke Point or Tsawwassen-Swartz Bay.

BC Ferries is reminding all customers – whether travelling by vehicle or on foot – to arrive at least an hour before a planned sailing as Transport Canada screening protocols during the COVID-19 pandemic may slow the check-in process.

The ferry operator is also reminding customers to bring and wear a mask.