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British Columbia Ferry Services Inc.
Trade name
BC Ferries
Organized as a privately held company, with the provincial Crown as sole shareholder
Industry Transportation
Founded Victoria, British Columbia (June 15, 1960)
Headquarters Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Key people
Joy MacPhail, Chair
Nicolas Jimenez, President & CEO
Products Ferry service
Revenue Increase C$769.5 million (2023)
Operating income
Increase (7.070) million (2023)
Decrease C$1.842 million (2021)
Owner BC Ferry Authority (Government of British Columbia)
Number of employees
4,500 (2017)

British Columbia Ferry Services Inc., operating as BC Ferries (BCF), is a former provincial Crown corporation, now operating as an independently managed, publicly owned Canadian company. BC Ferries provides all major passenger and vehicle ferry services for coastal and island communities in the Canadian province of British Columbia. Set up in 1960 to provide a similar service to that provided by the Black Ball Line and the Canadian Pacific Railway, which were affected by job action at the time, BC Ferries has become the largest passenger ferry line in North America, operating a fleet of 41 vessels with a total passenger and crew capacity of over 27,000, serving 47 locations on the B.C. coast.

The federal and provincial governments subsidize BC Ferries to provide agreed service levels on essential links between the BC mainland, coastal islands, and parts of the mainland without road access. The inland ferries operating on British Columbia's rivers and lakes are not run by BC Ferries. The responsibility for their provision rests with the British Columbia Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, which contracts operation to various private sector companies.


At its inception, BC Ferries was a division of the British Columbia Toll Highways and Bridges Authority, a provincial Crown corporation. Through successive reorganizations, it evolved into the British Columbia Ferry Authority and then the British Columbia Ferry Corporation, both of which were also provincial Crown corporations. In 2003, the Government of British Columbia announced that BC Ferries, which had been in debt, would be reorganized into a private corporation, implemented through the passage of the Coastal Ferry Act (Bill 18–2003). The single voting share of BC Ferries Corporation is held by the provincial government's BC Ferry Authority, which operates under the rules of the Act.


In the summer of 1958, a strike by employees of CP Steamships and the Black Ball Line caused the Social Credit government of W. A. C. Bennett to decide that the coastal ferry service in British Columbia needed to be government-owned, and so it set about creating BC Ferries. Minister of Highways Phil Gaglardi was tasked with overseeing the new Crown corporation and its rapid expansion.

Tsawwassen terminal was constructed by filling in a large area at the end of a causeway in 1960
BC Ferries Tsawwassen Tollbooths
Toll booths at Tsawwassen Terminal
BC Ferries Loading Ramp
A BC Ferries loading dock (berth 4 at Tsawwassen terminal)
Loaded onto a ferry
Final loading of cars onto a ferry

BC Ferries' first route, commissioned in 1960, was between Swartz Bay, north of Sidney on Vancouver Island, and Tsawwassen, an area in Delta, using just two vessels. These ships were the now-retired MV Tsawwassen and the MV Sidney. The next few years saw a dramatic growth of the B.C. ferry system as it took over operations of the Black Ball Line and other major private companies providing vehicle ferry service between Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland. As the ferry system expanded and started to service other small coastal communities, BC Ferries had to build more vessels, many of them in the first five years of its operations, to keep up with the demand. Another method of satisfying increasing demand for service was BC Ferries' unique "stretch and lift" program, involving seven vessels being cut in half and extended, and five of those vessels later cut in half again and elevated, to increase their passenger and vehicle-carrying capacities. The vast majority of the vessels in the fleet were built in B.C. waters, with only two foreign purchases and one domestic purchase. In the mid-1980s, BC Ferries took over the operations of the saltwater branch of the B.C. Ministry of Transportation and Highways, which ran ferry services to very small coastal communities. This action dramatically increased the size of BC Ferries' fleet and its geographical service area. The distinctive "dogwood on green" flag that BC Ferries used between 1960 and 2003 gave the service its popular nickname "the Dogwood Fleet".

During the 1990s, the NDP government commissioned a series of three fast ferries to improve ferry service between the Mainland and Vancouver Island. The ships proved problematic when they suffered many technical issues and cost double what was expected. The fast ferries were eventually sold off for $19.4 million in 2003.

A controversy began in July 2004 when BC Ferries, under a new American CEO, announced that the company had disqualified all Canadian bids to build three new Coastal-class ships, and only the proposals from European shipyards were being considered. The contract was estimated at $542 million for the three ships, each designed to carry 370 vehicles and 1600 passengers.

The argument for domestic construction of the ferries was that it would employ numerous British Columbia workers, revitalize the sagging B.C. shipbuilding industry, and entitle the provincial government to a large portion of the cost in the form of taxes. BC Ferries CEO David Hahn claimed that building the ferries in Germany would "save almost $80 million and could lead to lower fares."

On September 17, 2004, BC Ferries awarded the vessel construction contract to Germany's Flensburger shipyard. The contract protected BC Ferries from any delays through a fixed price and fixed schedule contract. Coastal Renaissance entered service in March 2008, while Coastal Inspiration was delivered the same month and entered service in June that year. The third ship, Coastal Celebration, was delivered in June of the same year and entered service in November.

On August 18, 2006, BC Ferries commissioned Flensburger to build a new vessel for its Inside Passage route, with the contract having many of the same types of terms as that for the Coastal-class vessels. The new northern service vessel, Northern Expedition, was delivered in March of 2008, and entered service in May of the same year.

On August 26, 2012, BC Ferries announced that it would be cutting 98 round trips on its major routes starting in the fall and winter of 2012 as part of a four-year plan to save $1 million on these routes. Service cuts have included the elimination of supplementary sailings on the Swartz Bay–Tsawwassen route, 18 round trips on the Horseshoe Bay–Departure Bay route, and 48 round trips, the largest number of cuts, on the Duke Point–Tsawwassen route, with plans to look for savings on the smaller unprofitable routes in the future.

Free ferry trips for seniors were suspended from April 2014 to April 2018.

In the fall of 2014, BC Ferries announced the addition of three new Intermediate-class ferries to phase out Queen of Burnaby and Queen of Nanaimo. These three vessels were to be named the Salish class; Salish Orca, Salish Eagle and Salish Raven. In 2022, Salish Heron, the fourth Salish-class vessel, entered service. All four ferries were designed and built by Remontowa Shipbuilding S.A. in Gdansk, Poland, and are dual-fuel, capable of operating on liquefied natural gas and marine diesel. These vessels are a part of BC Ferries standardized fleet plan, which will take the number of ship classes in the BC Ferries fleet from 17 to 5. The proposed replacement classes are Northern, Major, Salish, Shuttle and Island. Additionally, there will still be three unique (unclassed) vessels in the fleet after standardization is complete. BC Ferries has stated, however, that this total standardization of the fleet will not be achieved for another 40 years. As of March 2024, the fleet has so far been reduced to 11 classes of vessels, with 8 unique (unclassed) vessels remaining as well.

Financial results


Service Fees
(Ferry Tspt.)
Other Govt.
Net Regulatory
2005 422 00(4) 092 024 040
2006 436 011 092 025 050
2007 452 007 091 025 049
2008 481 008 104 026 037
2009 523 021 103 026 009
2010 549 035 126 027 003
2011 557 030 125 027 004
2012 555 025 127 027 0(16)
2013 571 047 149 028 015
2014 594 062 144 028 025
2015 620 082 148 028 041
2016 673 099 144 029 065
2017 697 113 155 029 088
2018 735 104 159 030 071
2019 712 065 188 031 057
2020 707 033 198 031 022
2021 460 (146) 194 218 022

Current routes


Route numbers are used internally by BC Ferries. All routes except Route 13 and the Unregulated Routes carry vehicles.

Figures displayed are annual vehicle equivalent and annual passengers.

Route 1 – Georgia Strait South (Highway 17): Swartz Bay to Tsawwassen

Route 2 – Georgia Strait Central (Highway 1): Nanaimo (via Departure Bay) to Horseshoe Bay

Route 3 – Howe Sound: Langdale to Horseshoe Bay

Route 4 – Satellite Channel: Swartz Bay to Saltspring Island (via Fulford Harbour)

Route 5 – Swanson Channel: Swartz Bay to the Southern Gulf Islands (Galiano Island (via Sturdies Bay), Mayne Island (Via Village Bay), Pender Island (via Otter Bay), and Saturna Island (via Lyall Harbour)

Route 6 – South Stuart Channel: Crofton to Saltspring Island (via Vesuvius)

Route 7 – Jervis Inlet (Highway 101): Earls Cove to Saltery Bay

Route 8 – Queen Charlotte Channel: Horseshoe Bay to Bowen Island (via Snug Cove)

Route 9 – Active Pass Shuttle: Tsawwassen to the Southern Gulf Islands (Galiano Island (via Sturdies Bay), Mayne Island (via Village Bay), Pender Island (via Otter Bay), Saturna Island (via Lyall Harbour), and Saltspring Island (via Long Harbour)

Route 10 – Inside Passage: Port Hardy (via Bear Cove) to Prince Rupert (on Kaien Island)

Route 11 – Hecate Strait (Highway 16): Prince Rupert (on Kaien Island) to Haida Gwaii (via Skidegate, on Graham Island)

Route 12 – Saanich Inlet: Brentwood Bay to Mill Bay

Route 13 – Thornbrough Channel: Langdale to Gambier Island (via New Brighton) and Keats Island (via Keats Landing and Eastbourne). (Foot passengers only, no vehicles). (Operated by Kona Winds Yacht Charters Ltd.)

Route 17 – Georgia Strait North: Powell River (via Westview) to Comox (via Little River)

Route 18 – Malaspina Strait: Powell River (via Westview) to Texada Island (via Blubber Bay)

Route 19 – Northumberland Channel: Nanaimo Harbour to Gabriola Island (via Descanso Bay)

Route 20 – North Stuart Channel: Chemainus to Thetis Island (via Preedy Harbour) and Penelakut Island (via Telegraph Harbour)

Route 21 – Baynes Sound: Buckley Bay to Denman Island (via Denman West)

Route 22 – Lambert Channel: Denman Island East (via Gravelly Bay) to Hornby Island (via Shingle Spit)

Route 23 – Discovery Passage: Campbell River to Quadra Island (via Quathiaski Cove)

Route 24 – Sutil Channel: Quadra Island (via Heriot Bay) to Cortes Island (via Whaletown)

Route 25 – Broughton Strait: Port McNeill to Alert Bay (on Cormorant Island) and Sointula (on Malcolm Island)

Route 26 – Skidegate Inlet: Skidegate (on Graham Island) to Alliford Bay (on Moresby Island)

Route 28 – Central Coast Connector: Port Hardy (via Bear Cove) to Bella Coola (seasonal direct summer service)/Route 28A: Port Hardy to Bella Coola (with stops at Bella Bella (via McLoughlin Bay, on Campbell Island), Klemtu, Ocean Falls, and Shearwater)

Route 30 – Mid-Island Express (Highway 19): Nanaimo (via Duke Point) to Tsawwassen

Unregulated routes

These are contracted routes that carry foot passengers only, but no vehicles, and are sponsored by BC Ferries.

  • Route 25u – Broughton Strait: Port McNeill to Alert Bay (on Cormorant Island) and Sointula (on Malcolm Island) (Acts as a water taxi/school trip ferry) (Operated by Western Pacific Marine Ltd.)
  • Route 51 – Vancouver Island West: Ahousat (on Flores Island) to Hotsprings Cove and Tofino (Operated by various water taxis)
  • Route 53 – Vancouver Island Northwest: Kyuquot to Tahsis and Gold River (Operated by Get West Adventure Cruises)
  • Route 54 – Inside Passage: Dodge Cove (on Digby Island) to Prince Rupert (via Cow Bay, on Kaien Island) (Operated by West Coast Launch)
  • Route 55 – Georgia Strait North-Central: French Creek to Lasqueti Island (via False Bay) (Operated by Western Pacific Marine Ltd.).
  • Route 59 – Vancouver Island West: Bamfield to Kildonan and Port Alberni (Operated by Lady Rose Marine Services)
  • Route 60 – Inside Passage: Hartley Bay to Kitkatla (on Dolphin Island), Oona River (on Porcher Island), Metlakatla, and Prince Rupert (on Kaien Island) (Operated by North Co Corp.)
  • Unnumbered Route – Inside Passage: Prince Rupert (on Kaien Island) to Port Simpson (also known as Lax Kw'alaams) (Operated by the Lax Kw'alaams First Nation).


Numbers in blue circles are ferry route numbers. Provincial highway trailblazers are added where appropriate.


BC Ferries has the largest fleet of vehicle ferry vessels in the world. There are at least 45 vessels, ranging from small passenger-only water taxis, up to the 358-car Spirit-class ferries. All of the vessels in use by BC Ferries are roll-on/roll-off car ferries. Most of the major vessels are based on similar designs, which are aggregated into classes of ferries:

Current vessels

Name Class Year built
Auto capacity Passenger capacity Notes Route(s) Photo
Island Gwawis Island 2021 47 300 Hybrid diesel-electric; Entered service on April 12, 2022 19 BC Ferries Island Gwawis.jpg
Island Kwigwis Island 2021 47 300 Hybrid diesel-electric; Entered service on April 12, 2022 19 BC Ferries Island Kwigwis.jpg
Island K'ulut'a Island 2020 47 300 Hybrid diesel-electric; Entered service on January 17, 2023 23 BC Ferries Island K'ulut'a.jpg
Island Nagalis Island 2020 47 300 Hybrid diesel-electric; Entered service on January 18, 2023 23 Island Nagalis.jpg
Island Aurora Island 2017–2019 47 300 Hybrid diesel-electric; Entered service on June 18, 2020 25 BC Ferries Island Aurora.jpg
Island Discovery Island 2017–2019 47 300 Hybrid diesel-electric; Entered service on June 10, 2020 18 BC Ferries Island Discovery.jpg
Spirit of British Columbia Spirit 1993 (2017–2018) 358 2100 Converted to marine diesel and LNG between 2017 and 2018. Entered service in 1992. 1
Spirit of Vancouver Island Spirit 1994 (2018–2019) 358 2100 Converted to marine diesel and LNG in 2018. Entered service in 1994. 1 2022-04-06 MV SPIRIT OF VANCOUVER ISLAND – IMO 9030682.jpg
Coastal Renaissance Coastal 2007 310 1604 Formerly the world's largest double-ended ferries. Built in Germany. Entered service on March 8, 2008. 2
1 (relief)
Ferry Coastal Renaissance at Departure Bay.jpg
Coastal Inspiration Coastal 2007 310 1604 Formerly the world's largest double-ended ferries. Built in Germany. Entered service on June 16, 2008. 30
1 (relief)
Coastal Celebration Coastal 2007 310 1604 Formerly the world's largest double-ended ferries. Built in Germany. Entered service on November 21, 2008. 1
30 (relief)
Queen of Coquitlam C 1976 (2003) 316 1494 Entered service in 1976. 2 (spring, relief)
3 (spring, summer/relief)
2021-11-26 MV QUEEN OF COQUITLAM - IMO 7411155 at Horseshoe Bay, Canada.jpg
Queen of Cowichan C 1976 (2004) 312 1494 Entered service in 1976. 2 (year round)
3 (fall, winter)
Cowichan Approaching HB.JPG
Queen of Alberni C 1976 (1984/2007) 280 1200 Upper car deck added in 1984. Entered service in 1976. 30 (all other times based out of Tsawwassen as main vessel), (secondary out of Nanaimo in summer, based out of Departure Bay)
2 & 3 (after Labour Day weekend to Canadian Thanksgiving weekend)
Queen of Alberni arriving at Departure Bay.jpg
Queen of Oak Bay C 1981 (2005) 308 1494 Entered service in 1981. 2 BC Ferry Queen of Oak Bay.jpg
Queen of Surrey C 1981 (2006) 308 1494 Entered service in 1981. 3 (year round)
2 (fall, winter)
2021-11-26 01 BC Ferries MV QUEEN OF SURREY - IMO 7902221.jpg
Queen of New Westminster None 1964 (1973/ 1991/ 2009) 254 1332 Originally a V-class ferry when built. Entered service on August 4, 1964. 1
30 (If either Queen of Alberni or other Coastal-class vessels are unavailable)
New West in Active Pass.JPG
Salish Orca Salish 2016 138 600 Entered service on May 16, 2017. 17 (primary)
9 (relief)
Salish Orca.jpg
Salish Eagle Salish 2016 138 600 Entered service in mid-2017. 5, 9, 9A, 17, 18 (rotating relief vessel) Salish Eagle leaving Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal.jpg
Salish Raven Salish 2016 138 600 Entered service on July 27, 2017. 9 (primary)
5, 17 (relief)
2018-08-26 SALISH RAVEN - IMO 9750294.jpg
Salish Heron Salish 2020 138 600 Entered service on May 6, 2022. 9 (primary)
5, 17 (relief)
1 (relief in exigent circumstances)
Salish Heron departing Sturdies Bay for Southern Gulf Island.jpg
Northern Expedition None 2009 115 600 Entered service on May 18, 2009. 10 (fall, winter)
11 (summer, fall, winter)
Northern Adventure None 2004 87 600 Purchased in late-2006 to replace the sunken Queen of the North. 10 (spring, summer)
11 (spring)
MV Northern Adventure.jpg
Queen of Capilano I 1991 (2015) 100 462 Auto capacity increased from 85 in 2015. Entered service in June 1991. 8 Queen of Capilano -d.jpg
Queen of Cumberland I 1992 (2016) 112 462 Entered service in late 1992. 5
4, 7, 8 (relief)
2022-01-07 BC Ferries QUEEN OF CUMBERLAND - IMO 9009360, at Swartz Bay, BC Canada.jpg
Malaspina Sky I 2008 112 450 Entered service in February 2009. Vessel was formerly known as Island Sky, and was renamed to avoid confusion with the Island-class ferries as part of BC Ferries fleet standardization initiative, on October 24, 2019. 7 2021-11-25 01 MALASPINA SKY - IMO 9370458, at BC Ferries terminal at Saltery Bay, Canada.jpg
Skeena Queen Century 1997 92 600 Entered service in 1997. 4 M-V Skeena Queen.jpg
Quinitsa Q 1977 (2008) 44 394 Transferred to BC Ferries in 1985. 22 (summer, relief other times)
6, 19, 21 (relief)
BC Ferry Quinitsa cropped.jpg
Baynes Sound Connector None 2015 45 150 First and only cable ferry owned by BC Ferries and world's longest cable ferry. Entered service in February 2016. 21 Baynes Sound Connector.JPG
Quinsam Q 1982 (2010) 63 400 Transferred to BC Ferries in 1985. 6 MV Quinsam.jpg
Quadra Queen II T 1969 (2010) 26 293 Transferred to BC Ferries in 1985. relief on routes 24 & 25 Quadra Queen II drydocked 2008.jpg
Tachek T 1969 (2011) 26 243 Transferred to BC Ferries in 1985. 24 BC Ferries Tachek.jpg
Klitsa K 1972 19 195 Transferred to BC Ferries in 1985. 12 MV Klitsa on First Day of Service (Replaced MV Mill Bay) - panoramio.jpg
Kahloke K 1973 21 200 Transferred to BC Ferries in 1985. 21 (summer)
22 (spring, fall, winter)
12, 20 (relief)
BC Ferries MV Kahloke-b.jpg
Kwuna K 1975 16 154 Transferred to BC Ferries in 1985. 26 MV Kwuna.jpg
Pune'luxutth K 1985 (2006) 26 269 Purchased in 2006. Vessel was formerly known as Kuper, and was renamed in the spirit of reconciliation, on December 1, 2023. 20 BC Ferries Kuper.jpg
Nicola (also known as Spirit of Lax Kw' alaams) N 1960 16 133 Transferred to BC Ferries in 1985
Owned by but not operated by BC Ferries.
Unnumbered Route (Operated by the Lax Kw'alaams First Nation). Nicola PR Harbour.jpg
Northern Sea Wolf None 2000 35 150 Purchased in 2017. 28A (year round)
28 (summer)
MV Northern Sea Wolf.jpg
Stormaway III None n/k 0 40 Owned and operated by Kona Winds Yacht Charters Limited, under the sponsorship of and out of the Langdale terminal of BC Ferries, since 2003. 13 (Operated by Kona Winds Yacht Charters Ltd).
No image available 600 x 200.svg
Stormaway IV None n/k 0 40 Owned and operated by Kona Winds Yacht Charters Limited, under the sponsorship of and out of the Langdale terminal of BC Ferries, since 2010. 13 (Operated by Kona Winds Yacht Charters Ltd). 2021-11-26 01 MV STORMAWAY IV (Canada Registration - 346309).jpg
Centurion VII None 1985 0 60 Owned and operated by Western Pacific Marine, under the sponsorship of BC Ferries, and out of Western Pacific Marine's French Creek Terminal, since 2011. 55 (Operated by Pacific Western Marine Ltd). Centurion VII - small.jpg
[[MV Spirit of Yalis Spirit of Yalis


None n/k 0 n/k Owned and operated by Western Pacific Marine, as a water taxi/school trip ferry, under the sponsorship of Ferries. 25u (Operated by Western Pacific Marine Ltd). MV Spirt of Yalis.jpg
[[MV Uchuck III Uchuck III


None 1942 0 100 Owned and operated by Get West Adventure Cruises, under the sponsorship of Ferries. 53 (Operated by Get West Adventure Cruises). Spanish Fort Site (7462036308).jpg
[[MV Frances Barkley Frances Barkley


None 1958 0 200 Owned and operated by Lady Rose Marine Services, under the sponsorship of Ferries. 59 (Operated by Lady Rose Marine Services). Frances Barkley at the port of Port Alberni.jpg
[[MV Tsimshian Storm Tsimshian Storm


None n/k 0 n/k Owned by the communities of Kitkatla, Hartley Bay, and Metlakatla. Operated by the Gitxaala First Nation, under the sponsorship of BC Ferries. 60 (Operated by the Gitxaala First Nation). No image available 600 x 200.svg
Various vessels None n/k 0 n/k Operated by various water taxis, under the sponsorship of BC Ferries. 51 (Operated by various water taxis). No image available 600 x 200.svg
Various vessels None n/k 0 11-100 Operated by West Coast Launch, under the sponsorship of BC Ferries. 54 (Operated by West Coast Launch). No image available 600 x 200.svg

Former vessels

  • List of retired BC Ferries ships
  • PacifiCat-class ferry

Future vessels

In 2019, BC started a $200 million program to acquire four hybrid/electric ferries (800 kWh each) to service three routes. As for the remaining seven vessels within the 12-year capital plan, they will all be large ships, which will replace six aging ships and provide one additional vessel to support growth and improve resiliency. Marshall says the first of these new large ships will enter service in 2029.

Name Class Year built
Auto capacity Passenger capacity Notes Route(s) Photo
Island class 2nd Batch Island 0TBA 47 400 Four BC-built ships which are hybrid electric-powered, with the ability to convert to full-electric propulsion, once shore-based charging technology is available for implementation. These vessels are expected to serve routes connecting Vancouver Island to Saltspring Island, Denman Island to Hornby Island, as well as Quadra Island to Cortes Island. This would also allow for the retirement of the two remaining T-class vessels. 24, 22, 6, and 1 relief vessel All four ships will be identical to the existing Island-class vessels (see above).
New Major Vessel 0TBA 2029–2035 ~ 360 ~ 2,100 The New Major Vessel class, introduced on February 26, 2024, will comprise of at least seven double-ended ships. As with the Island class vessels, the New Major Vessels will be hybrid electric-powered, with the ability to convert to full-electric propulsion, once shore-based charging technology is available for implementation. These vessels are expected to serve the three major routes connecting Vancouver Island and the lower mainland, and would allow for the retirement of the Queen of New Westminster, as well as the five C-class vessels. BC Ferries commenced the bidding process to find a shipyard to build the vessels, in November of 2023, with the contract expected to be awarded by December of 2024. 1, 2, 3, 30, and 1 relief vessel No image available 600 x 200.svg

Accidents and incidents

The following is a summary of some of the incidents that have occurred involving BC Ferries vessels and/or properties.

Queen of Alberni

On August 9, 1979, Queen of Alberni was transiting through Active Pass when it ran aground on Galiano Island, tipping fifteen degrees to starboard. Several large commercial vehicles on board the vessel at the time were damaged. No persons were injured, but a racehorse on board died. This accident suspended all C-class vessels from travelling on Route 1 or any of the Southern Gulf Islands routes.

In June 1989, the vessel slammed into the loading dock at Departure Bay at about eight knots. Six people sustained slight injuries, including one who fell down a stairway. The ship received a scrape and some onboard vehicles were damaged.

On March 12, 1992, at 8:08am (16:08 UTC), Queen of Alberni collided with the Japanese freighter Shinwa Maru southwest of Tsawwassen. The collision occurred in heavy fog, with both vessels suffering minor damage. Injuries included 2 serious and 25 minor injuries for the 260 people on the ferry, while none of the 11 people aboard the freighter received injuries.

Queen of Burnaby

On August 25, 1966, the Queen of Burnaby broke her mooring at Departure Bay terminal while engines were being run in the early morning. The variable-pitch propellers were not left in the neutral position as was standard, and no crew was present on the bridge. The ferry was recovered after the anchor was dropped and the captain was shuttled to the vessel, and all sailings continued as scheduled.

Queen of Coquitlam

On October 19, 1980, Queen of Coquitlam sustained $3 million of damage on tipping in the Burrard Shipyard floating drydock.

In October 1995, the vessel lost power and slammed into pilings at Horseshoe Bay, damaging its bow.

Queen of Cowichan

On August 12, 1985, three occupants were killed when Queen of Cowichan ran over a pleasure boat near the Horseshoe Bay terminal. The BC Court of Appeal found the Cowichan two thirds at fault and ordered that $500,000 in damages be paid.

On June 19, 2018, the vessel launched a rescue boat to recover a man who went overboard near Bowen Island, after the ferry had departed Horseshoe Bay for Nanaimo. The man was transferred to nearby Coast Guard vessel, and the ferry experienced minor delays in the continuation of its sailing.

On October 19, 2019, a crew member was significantly injured after being hit by the vessel's bow door which was having trouble opening at Horseshoe Bay terminal. The next round trip to Departure Bay and back was subsequently cancelled.

On February 21, 2021, the RCMP were called to meet the vessel as it arrived at the Departure Bay ferry terminal, after two women (aged 19 and 43) caused a disturbance while refusing to wear masks while on a sailing from Horseshoe Bay, during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Queen of Cumberland

On April 18, 2018, Queen of Cumberland crew members were injured during a safety drill at Swartz Bay ferry terminal. When a hoist cable parted on the ship's davit, a rescue boat holding two occupants fell about 11 metres (36 ft) into the water. The boat was damaged and the individuals injured, one seriously.

Queen of the Islands

On September 20, 1978, Queen of the Islands rammed the Saltery Bay dock causing $495,000 worth of damage.

Queen of Nanaimo

On November 2, 2013, Queen of Nanaimo was pushed off course by severe weather as it was leaving the berth at Village Bay, Mayne Island. It damaged a private dock, and no one was injured. There was damage to the ship and all Tsawwassen–Gulf Islands sailings had to be cancelled while it was repaired.

Queen of New Westminster

On October 20, 1971, Queen of New Westminster pulled out of its berth at the Departure Bay terminal while vehicle loading was in progress. A car and its two occupants fell into the water. Both of the vehicle's occupants were rescued.

In a similar incident, on August 13, 1992, the Queen of New Westminster pulled out of its berth at the Departure Bay terminal while vehicle loading ramps were still lowered and resting on the ship. Three people were killed, including two children, one was seriously injured, and two others received minor injuries when a van containing 6 people fell 15 m (49 ft) from the upper deck onto the lower car deck and finally into the sea below. The van had been stopped and instructed to wait on the loading ramp by terminal crew members. The Transportation Safety Board of Canada determined that the accident was caused by the vessel not properly following departing procedures and secondarily due to poor communication between terminal and ship crew members.

Queen of the North

On December 17, 1974, the formerly named Queen of Surrey was withdrawn to repair damage from a fire in an electrical panel.

On March 22, 2006, Queen of the North sank 135 nmi (250 km; 155 mi) south of Prince Rupert, British Columbia, when it struck Gil Island at approximately 1:00 a.m. Two people from 100 Mile House were reported missing. BC Ferries CEO David Hahn said, "There is a real possibility that they went down with the ship." It is unlikely that it will be possible to salvage Queen of the North.

Officials determined the cause of the accident was human error by three BC Ferries employees neglecting their navigational duties. Charges of criminal negligence causing death were considered, and a class action lawsuit for the passengers is proceeding while the Ferry and Marine Union sought to reinstate the fired crew who failed to provide information to the $1 million TSB enquiry.

Queen of Oak Bay

On June 30, 2005, at about 10:10 a.m. (17:10 UTC), the vessel Queen of Oak Bay, on the Nanaimo–Horseshoe Bay (Trans-Canada Highway) ferry route, lost power four minutes before it was to dock at the Horseshoe Bay terminal. The vessel became adrift, unable to change speed but able to steer with the rudders. The horn was blown steadily, and an announcement telling passengers to brace for impact was made minutes before the 139 m (456 ft) ship slowly ran into the nearby Sewell's Marina, where it destroyed or damaged 28 pleasure crafts and subsequently went aground a short distance from the shore. No casualties or injuries were reported.

On July 1, 2005, BC Ferries issued a statement that Transport Canada, the Transportation Safety Board, and Lloyd's Register of Shipping were reviewing the control and mechanical systems on board to find a fault. An inspection revealed minimal damage to the ship, with only some minor damage to a metal fender, paint scrapes to the rudder, and some minor scrapes to one blade of a propeller.

On July 7, BC Ferries concluded that a missing cotter pin was to blame. The pin normally retained a nut on a linkage between an engine speed governor and the fuel control for one of the engines. Without the pin, the nut fell off and the linkage separated, causing the engine, clutches, and propellers to increase in speed until overspeed safety devices activated and shut down the entire propulsion system. The faulty speed governor had been serviced 17 days before the incident during a $35-million upgrade, and the cotter pin had not been properly replaced at that time.

Queen of Oak Bay was quickly repaired and tested at sea trials. She returned to regular service on July 8. A complete investigation report consisting of a 14-page Divisional Inquiry and a 28-page Engineering Incident Investigation was released in September 2006.

The Transportation Safety Board's Marine Investigation Report, released on September 6, 2007, indicated that "inadequacies in BC Ferries' procedures on safety-critical maintenance tasks and on ship handling during berthing operations" were major contributing factors to the accident. It appears that insufficient oversight of work done by contractors also played a role in the accident.

Queen of Prince Rupert

On August 25, 1982, the MV Queen of Prince Rupert departed from McLoughlin Bay (Bella Bella, Campbell Island) several hours behind schedule, headed for Ocean Falls. In an effort to make up for some of the lost time, the captain ordered for the ship to be taken through Gunboat Passage, a narrow and dangerous shortcut. Gunboat Passage would have allowed for the vessel to entirely skip having to go south all the way around Denny Island, before going north again, up to Ocean Falls. This shortcut allows for a ship to sail between Denny Island and Cunningham Island, cutting the sailing time to Ocean Falls approximately in half.

When the Queen of Prince Rupert entered Gunboat Passage, several passengers aboard the ship went immediately to the Purser's Office to warn the crew that they were going the wrong way, down an unsafe passage. The Purser informed them that the captain knew what he was doing, and that everything was going as planned. Soon after, the ship ran aground in a particularly tight part of the channel. The captain quickly had the ship removed from the rock, then continued forward and ran aground again, on the same rock, further damaging the hull. This time, the ship would not budge, and the crew and passengers had to wait for 12 hours before being pulled away by a variety of tugboats, fishing boats, and a Coast Guard ship.

The captain turned the Queen of Prince Rupert around and opted to sail around Denny Island that time.

Queen of Saanich

On the morning of February 6, 1992, Queen of Saanich and the passenger catamaran Royal Vancouver collided in heavy fog near the northern entrance of Active Pass. The bow doors of the Saanich were damaged. Aboard the Royal Vancouver, 23 passengers and four crew sustained largely minor injuries. Although both vessels were operating their radar systems, the Royal Vancouver was found negligent in this regard.

Queen of Surrey

On August 29, 1982, Queen of Surrey rammed the Horseshoe Bay dock causing significant damage.

On May 12, 2003, the vessel was disabled as a result of an engine room fire. Queen of Capilano was dispatched and tethered to Queen of Surrey while tugboats were dispatched. The vessel was then towed back to shore. None of the 318 passengers were injured, but several crew members were treated for minor injuries. Some buckling of the main car deck resulted from the heat of the fire, but no vehicles were damaged in the incident.

On March 26, 2019, the 7:30am sailing from Horseshoe Bay of the vessel had an incident while docking at Langdale at 8:10am. The ship collided with a terminal structure and damaged its leading end. The bow of the ferry subsequently became lodged on the structure, causing severe delays, with all following vehicle sailings that day cancelled until the late evening, when relief could be provided. Passenger service was offered by water taxi for walk-in passengers.

Queen of Victoria

On August 2, 1970, the Soviet freighter Sergey Yesenin collided with Queen of Victoria in Active Pass, slicing through the middle of the ferry, days after its return to service following stretching. Three people were killed, and damage was estimated at over $1 million (1970 dollars). The Soviet ship did not have permission to be in Active Pass, and as such, the Soviet government compensated BC Ferries.

In 1972, while in Active Pass and within metres of the site of the 1970 collision, Queen of Victoria was disabled by a fire in the engine room.

Langdale Queen

On January 23, 1966, Langdale Queen ran over a rowboat at Horseshoe Bay, on which both occupants survived.

Mayne Queen

On November 7, 1995, Mayne Queen departed from Snug Cove and ran into a neighbouring marina, heavily damaging a floating dock in addition to 12 small pleasure boats, one of which sank. The crash was primarily attributed to human error and while transferring steering and power control from one control panel to the other located in the ship. The vessel's captain was also inexperienced with Mayne Queen and normally piloted other vessels. The captain then promptly left the scene of the accident after the incident without conducting a proper damage assessment.

On August 12, 1996, Mayne Queen departed Swartz Bay terminal and ran aground off Piers Island after losing steering control. The grounding occurred while performing a regular weekly test of the batteries for the steering control system. A crew member overheard there was going to be a test, and in an attempt to be helpful, and without direction, cut all power from the vessel's steering batteries, as he had done at night when the ship was stored. However, he did not realize that the test in question only required the removal of a battery charger and that his assistance was neither requested nor required. No one was injured in the incident, and the vessel was assisted off the rocks at high tide, but it suffered extensive damage to its propulsion system, having two of the four steering and propulsion pods for the right-angle drives sheared off and one of the two remaining pods suffering propeller damage.

Sechelt Queen

On April 5, 1962, Sechelt Queen ran aground on a submerged reef east of Snake Island in dense fog.

On July 17, 1962, a time-bomb, comprising three sticks of dynamite, likely planted by the Freedomites, destroyed a locker onboard the Sechelt Queen.

On July 14, 1974, Sechelt Queen collided with a pleasure craft in Active Pass, causing some damage, but did not stop to render assistance.

Vesuvius Queen

In August 1983, Vesuvius Queen rammed and substantially damaged the Saltspring Island dock.

Spirit of British Columbia

On July 27, 2005, a man travelling to Mayne Island missed his ferry, so he got on the Spirit of British Columbia and jumped off as the ferry was approaching Active Pass. The man refused rescue assistance from crew members, and was later banned from travelling with BC Ferries.

On April 27, 2019, Spirit of British Columbia was damaged while docking at Tsawwassen ferry terminal during heavy winds.

On April 2, 2021, Spirit of British Columbia was forced to turn around and return to the Swartz Bay ferry terminal in the middle of a sailing to Tsawwassen, after a man caused a disturbance while refusing to wear a mask, during the COVID-19 pandemic. The RCMP met the passenger upon the ferry reaching the terminal, and issued them two tickets worth $230 each. The passenger was also permanently banned from BC Ferries. The sailing was left running 44 minutes behind schedule as a result of the incident.

On September 29, 2021, three men were arrested by Delta Police onboard Spirit of British Columbia at the Tsawwassen ferry terminal, after they threatened to fight fellow passengers and BC Ferries' staff members who confronted them as they were not wearing masks during the COVID-19 pandemic, while on a sailing from Swartz Bay. The men were later released from jail with conditions that they were not to attend any BC Ferries' property, pending a court appearance that December.

Spirit of Vancouver Island

On September 14, 2000, Spirit of Vancouver Island collided with the 9.72 m (31.9 ft) Star Ruby while attempting to overtake the vessel in a narrow channel. The collision occurred approximately 1 km (0.62 mi) from the Swartz Bay Terminal, from which the ferry had departed. Spirit of Vancouver Island struck Star Ruby on its port side, causing the pleasure craft to flip over and eventually right itself, though swamped and heavily damaged. According to the accident report, the pleasure craft ignored warning blasts from the approaching ferry and made a sharp turn towards the ferry just prior to impact. Both individuals aboard Star Ruby later died as a result of injuries sustained by the collision.

On July 21, 2003, Spirit of Vancouver Island collided with the dock at Swartz Bay. Four passengers suffered minor injuries. The accident caused tens of thousands of dollars of damage to the dock and the ship.

On October 9, 2009, a standby generator on Spirit of Vancouver Island caught fire on an early morning sailing out of Swartz Bay Terminal. No one was injured in the incident, but it caused major delays in the ferry system because of the already large volume of traffic for Thanksgiving weekend. Eight sailings were cancelled that day, and the ship remained out of service for the weekend.

On August 31, 2018, two crew members were injured during an early morning safety drill at Swartz Bay ferry terminal when the ship's davit malfunctioned, causing a rescue boat to flip, dropping the two occupants into the water. The coxswain fell about 14 metres (46 ft), but the bowman held on while the boat continued to descend, reducing the fall to about 2 metres (7 ft).

On April 18, 2020, at 4:26pm (16:26 UTC), the vessel, travelling at an approximate speed of 5.4 knots, struck the concrete abutment on the wall of berth 3 at Tsawwassen ferry terminal. Although damage was minor, the offloading of vehicles on the upper car deck and foot passengers was delayed until 6:02pm. Passengers were required to disembark from the main car deck instead of the overhead walkway. Offloading of vehicles on the main car deck began at 8:58pm.

On April 2, 2021, Spirit of Vancouver Island was forced to turn around and return to Swartz Bay in the middle of a sailing to Tsawwassen after passenger caused a disturbance while being confronted by staff about him not wearing a mask during the COVID-19 pandemic. RCMP officers met the ferry as it arrived at the dock, issued the passenger several tickets for violating COVID-19 restrictions, and transported him off-site. The passenger was also banned from riding the ferries for the rest of the day. The Spirit of Vancouver Island was left running 44 minutes behind schedule as result of the incident.

Coastal Celebration

On May 5, 2011, Coastal Celebration damaged the dock at Swartz Bay after the vessel reversed into it for roughly 6.1 to 10.7 metres (20 to 35 ft). An investigation found that this was due to an error on the bridge. No one was hurt in the incident. However, damage to Coastal Celebration and the berth at Swartz Bay cost CAN$470,000.

On November 4, 2015, while the ship was sailing from Tsawwassen to Swartz Bay, a man launched one of Coastal Celebration's 100-person life rafts and jumped overboard. The man then swam to Galiano Island while the ferry recovered the life raft and launched rescue craft to recover the man. The man was later arrested on the island.

On December 17, 2018, the Coastal Celebration rescued a man from a sinking vessel near Moresby Passage in dark and stormy conditions. All remaining sailings from Tsawwassen to Swartz Bay were cancelled that night.

Coastal Inspiration

On December 20, 2011, at 14:50 (21:50 UTC), Coastal Inspiration crashed into the Duke Point terminal, causing minor injuries to one passenger and crew member. The collision damaged the loading ramp, and foot passengers were held up for an hour before being unloaded; the vessel was rerouted to Departure Bay to unload its vehicle traffic. An electrical component failure in the propulsion control system was blamed for the crash. The ferry was taken out of service for repairs before resuming service on January 20, 2012. The damage caused the Duke Point terminal to be closed for five months, resulting in all services from Tsawwassen being rerouted into Departure Bay. The terminal reopened for service on May 1, 2012.

On August 25, 2022, the RCMP were called to meet Coastal Inspiration after it was forced to turn around and return to the Duke Point ferry terminal in the middle of a sailing to Tsawwassen, after two men travelling together caused a disturbance by acting strangely.

Mill Bay

On May 29, 1989, Mill Bay ran aground near the Mill Bay dock.


On January 9, 2007, Quinsam was loading traffic from Nanaimo to Gabriola Island when it unexpectedly pulled out of its berth. A pickup truck on the boarding ramp plunged into the water below. Ferry workers were able to warn the truck's lone occupant, who was able to escape before the vehicle fell.

Departure Bay ferry terminal

On August 13, 2014, suspected kidnapper David Rogerson was arrested on a ferry docked at the Departure Bay ferry terminal after BC Ferries' staff recognized the him as the subject of a Canada-wide warrant during a sailing from Horseshoe Bay, and called police to inform them that Rogerson and his vehicle were onboard the vessel.

On May 8, 2018, a police-involved shooting occurred at the terminal after RCMP officers attempted to arrest a man wanted for perpetrating a violent carjacking in another part of the province. 6-8 shots were fired, and the man later died from his injuries.

Earls Cove ferry terminal

On September 20, 2020, an elderly woman collapsed in the morning ferry lineup at the terminal and went into respiratory failure, leading to cardiac arrest. A BC Ferries' employee initiated CPR and the local Fire Department and Ambulance service were called, and the woman's pulse was eventually restored. Once she began breathing on her own, she was airlifted to hospital from the parking lot.

Horseshoe Bay ferry terminal

On May 22, 2017, two passengers (a 47-year-old male and a 31-year-old female) were removed from the Queen of Cowichan by the West Vancouver Police Department, while it was docked at the Horseshoe Bay ferry terminal. This occurred after the pair drove onto the ferry bound for Nanaimo, having bought cheaper tickets on the shorter Bowen Island route instead. Shortly there after, they aroused the suspicions of staff members when they refused to put out their cigarettes on the vehicle deck when asked, then verbally abused the staff members when they were asked to leave the vessel. Police were called to assist after the two subjects refused to disembark the ferry, however no further incident occurred.

On December 19, 2020, police were called to the terminal to assist with a man acting belligerently while refusing to wear a mask during the COVID-19 pandemic. Officers reportedly escorted the man off BC Ferries' property.

On October 13, 2021, the Canadian Coast Guard was dispatched after it was discovered that a female passenger in her 50's had ended up in the water by unknown means, after driving her vehicle onboard the vessel at Departure Bay. The water was searched around both terminals, and the passenger was eventually recovered on the mainland side and taken to hospital for treatment and a mental health evaluation. The next sailing back to Nanaimo was delayed by an hour and 44 minutes as a result.

On January 14, 2023, a Tesla Model 3 suddenly accelerated before crashing into a gate blocking an empty berth at the terminal, and was effectively destroyed on impact. Both occupants of the vehicle were transported to hospital with non life-threatening injuries. The cause of the accident remains unknown.

Langdale ferry terminal

On May 26, 2023, a 36-year-old Surrey man was arrested at the Langdale ferry terminal by the RCMP for uttering threats after refusing to obey the directions of a BC Ferries staff member, driving his van aggressively, and boarding a ferry without permission. The man was banned from travelling with BC Ferries for 1 year.

Quathiaski Cove ferry terminal

On August 10, 2022, a man was asked to leave the terminal property by the RCMP after interfering with BC Ferries' staff by attempting to direct traffic in the parking lot himself. The man refused to stop when asked by the staff to do so, and as such police were called. The man was initially argumentative about being asked to leave, but eventually did so without further incident.

On October 9, 2022, a man who had been previously banned from travelling with BC Ferries for reasons unknown was spotted by staff while he attempted to board a ferry departing Quadra Island for Campbell River. The subject was allegedly wearing a disguise consisting of a wig, scarf, sunglasses, and a mask. The man apparently also used an odd, high-pitched accent that was either Australian or British, in efforts to conceal his true identity. BC Ferries called the RCMP upon recognizing the man, however he apparently fled on foot up a nearby trail before he could be apprehended, leaving his disguise behind as he ran. The officers stated that they plan to locate the man and issue him a $115 ticket for trespassing.

Swartz Bay ferry terminal

On May 20, 2011, 29-year-old James Davies crashed his pickup truck through the barricades on the Swartz Bay ferry terminal's loading ramp, and sped off the end of the platform. His vehicle crashed into water below, where his body was recovered from 35 feet of water, later that evening.

On October 10, 2023, a 16-year-old boy was arrested by the RCMP for setting a fire in a washroom onboard a ferry docked at the terminal. The youth was released with a future court date.

On January 11, 2024, the RCMP arrested a man at the terminal for committing an indecent act, after he allegedly exposed himself onboard an evening sailing from Tsawwassen. The man was released with a future court date and transported to a nearby shelter due to the extreme cold weather occurring at the time.

Tsawwassen ferry terminal

On May 29, 2019, a man stole a taxi at the Tsawwassen ferry terminal before nearly striking a Delta Police Department vehicle in a parking lot off the ferry causeway at high speed. The officer occupying the cruiser immediately called for backup and chased after the man when he exited the taxi and fled on foot. The officer had the man at gunpoint shortly thereafter, when the man pulled a knife. The officer ordered the man to drop the knife, and tased him three times after he failed to comply. Over the next 15 minutes, 9 officers responded, however the man then pulled a pipe from his backpack as well, and goaded the officers to shoot him. The officers fired no shots, and continued attempts to de-escalate the situation, using tasers and 40mm less-lethal launchers, however the man ultimately turned the knife on himself. Attempts were made to save the man's life, however he soon after died from his injuries.

On November 4, 2020, police were called to the terminal after a man through traffic and into the ocean due to being denied boarding onto a ferry in the early hours of the morning. Officers took the man into custody for mental health reasons after he attempted to walk into traffic a second time, once they had coaxed him out of the water.

Police were again called to the terminal later that day after a woman caused a disturbance while refusing to wear a mask during the COVID-19 pandemic. Officers reportedly escorted the woman off-site, to another location. These two incidents left the Spirt of British Columbia running 49 minutes behind schedule.

Fleet Maintenance Facility

On June 12, 2020, BC Ferries worker Kulwant Singh Chohan fell into the Fraser River while on shift at the Fleet Maintenance Facility in Richmond, British Columbia, after attempting to retrieve a knee pad that had fallen into the water. Surveillance cameras later revealed that Chohan was leaning over a protective webbing panel, which broke away, leading to his fall. Police were called after Chohan's family showed up at the facility, stating that he had not returned home as scheduled. Police were immediately called and a land and marine search was conducted, however Chohan's body was recovered the next day, from five metres below the surface of the river. On October 21, 2022, The BC Coroner Service announced that Chohan's cause of death was accidental drowning, with heart disease as a contributing factor. WorkSafeBC fined BC Ferries $674,445 as a result of their investigation into the incident.

In film

Film Year Vessel or class
Five Easy Pieces 1970 Mill Bay
Food of the Gods 1976 Howe Sound Queen
The Other Side of the Mountain 1978 Queen of Victoria
Shoot To Kill 1988 Queen of Vancouver
Bird On A Wire 1990 Queen of Burnaby or Queen of Nanaimo
Another Stakeout 1993 Powell River class
Mr. Magoo 1997 Queen of Esquimalt
Disturbing Behavior 1998 Queen of Capilano
Double Jeopardy 1999 Quadra Queen II
Black Point 2002 Mill Bay
Scary Movie 3 2003 Powell River class
Battlestar Galactica miniseries 2003 V class
Walking Tall 2004 Albert J Savoie
Elektra 2005 Albert J Savoie
The Mermaid Chair 2006 Mill Bay
The Suite Life Movie 2011 Northern Expedition
The Killing 2012 Queen of Capilano

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: B.C. Ferries para niños

Other ferry services

  • Barnston Island Ferry – a ferry operated by the BC Ministry of Transportation
  • Black Ball Line
  • Kootenay Lake Ferry – a ferry in the British Columbia interior operated by the BC Ministry of Transportation

Ferry services elsewhere

  • Alaska Marine Highway – Alaska's Marine Highway System, similar to BC Ferries. Also serves Prince Rupert.
  • Inter-Island Ferry Authority
  • Marine Atlantic – An east-coast analogue of BC Ferries.
  • Washington State Ferries
  • Baja Ferries - a Mexican analogue of BC Ferries


  • Allied Shipbuilders Ltd.
  • Burrard Dry Dock
  • Vancouver Shipyard
  • Victoria Machinery Depot
  • Washington Marine Group – Originally called the Vancouver Shipyards Co. Ltd.
  • Yarrow Shipbuilders
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