BC Ferries Seeking Community Input on Next-Generation Ships

Canadian ferry owner and operator BC Ferries is providing an opportunity for community input regarding the company’s five next-generation vessels.

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Specifically, the company is inviting “customers and communities to join conversations about the new vessels and to provide input that will help shape their future onboard experience.”

A few months ago, BC Ferries unveiled plans to build up to five new ferries to replace four existing vessels – the Queen of New Westminster, Queen of Alberni, Queen of Coquitlam and Queen of Cowichan.

Expected to add more capacity to the Metro Vancouver – Vancouver Island routes, the new ships are being specified to deliver enhanced environmental sustainability and offer flexibility to meet changing travel demands into the future.

BC Ferries expects the new ferries to enter service in the mid-2020s to serve Swartz Bay-Tsawwassen, Departure Bay-Horseshoe Bay and Duke Point-Tsawwassen routes.

The engagement runs from March 12 to April 12 and customers can provide their feedback online or participate in customer engagement sessions on board the Metro Vancouver – Vancouver Island routes. Focused stakeholder workshops will also be held.

“This is an exciting project and we invite our customers to join the conversation,” Mark Collins, BC Ferries’ President & CEO, said.

“There is still a lot to be decided as we work to keep fares affordable, reduce our environmental impact, plan for future flexibility and enhance the onboard experience for customers… This is an opportunity to get informed and provide feedback on the newest additions to our fleet as they are being designed,” he added.

When it comes to designing the ships, BC Ferries’ technical teams are identifying options to minimize underwater radiated noise (URN) and reduce environmental impact. Each new class of ship BC Ferries builds is quieter than the ships they replace.

BC Ferries is also identifying the operational needs around size and capacity, speed and maneuverability, space allotments and other technological requirements.

“One of the complexities of designing a new ferry is working within weight, space and cost restrictions,” Collins explained.

As informed by the company, the feedback received through engagement will be used to help inform the detailed design of the vessels.

The acquisition of the ships requires the approval of the BC Ferries Commissioner under Section 55 of the Coastal Ferry Act. Subject to a favorable decision, BC Ferries expects to award a contract to build these vessels next year.