BC Ferries staff say abuse from passengers is on the rise, including one incident Wednesday in which an angry passenger allegedly tried to run over a ferry employee.

The B.C. Ferry and Marine Workers' Union is calling on the ferry company to protect its employees after a survey shows a staggering number of workers say they've been abused by customers.

The results show 82 per cent of BC Ferries staff said they've experienced threats, harassment, and physical violence at work.

The union reports that over half the workers surveyed experienced mental health issues due to the abuse they received.

On Wednesday morning, the union said an angry passenger attempted to run a worker over with their car. BC Ferries said it's looking into the incident, but the union believes more needs to be done to protect employees.

The group said it wants to see a zero-tolerance policy for violence enforced.

In a statement, BC Ferries said there is already such a policy in place.

The company adds that abusive conduct and comments aren't tolerated and can result in a denial of service. It said all employees will be treated with dignity and respect in a workplace free of discrimination.

Police say most incidents are handled by BC Ferries security, but add that they have been called on occasion for passengers who have been drinking.

BC Ferries said it's in the process of putting up signage in all terminals to remind people to be respectful.