Gulf Islands ferry to undergo refit

Esquimalt Drydocking gets $18 million upgrade contract.

  • Oct. 23, 2015 6:00 p.m.

VICTORIA — From Nov. 21 to April 17, 2016, BC Ferries’ Queen of Cumberland will undergo an $18 million mid-life upgrade to prepare the vessel for another 20 years of service.

During the upgrade, service on the Swartz Bay-Southern Gulf Islands Route will be provided by a combination of the Skeena Queen and the Bowen Queen.

The work will be carried out at the Esquimalt Drydocking Company. Some of the main highlights of the upgrade will include the installation of a new boat deck entrance/exit for walk-on passengers, the installation of a new evacuation system and replacement of the rescue boat and the installation of a pet area. Other upgrades will also be included.

“A significant upgrade such as the one the Queen of Cumberland is undergoing allows BC Ferries to operate a more efficient vessel for decades into the future,” said Mark Wilson, BC Ferries’ Vice President of Engineering. “We are confident that our customers will see positive results and we hope they are pleased with this commitment to reliable service,” he said in a news release.

BC Ferries will be deploying the Skeena Queen on the Swartz Bay-Southern Gulf Islands route during the morning and the late-afternoon periods to better meet expected demand. The vessel will swap routes with the Bowen Queen during each weekday.

In order to maintain capacity levels to and from Salt Spring Island, BC Ferries will be adding sailings to the Swartz Bay-Fulford Harbour and Vesuvius Bay-Crofton routes. Regular sailing times will be adjusted due to the addition of sailings and travellers are encouraged to consult the schedules page for exact times at

— BC Ferries

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