About BC Ferries

New Salish Class Vessels

Rendering of how Darlene Gait’s artwork will appear on the Salish Orca

Coast Salish Artists

On March 29 2016,
BC Ferries, the First Peoples’ Cultural Council and Esquimalt Nation revealed the first of three Coast Salish artistic designs for BC Ferries’ new Salish Class vessels. Esquimalt Nation’s, Darlene Gait, designed the artwork that will adorn the Salish Orca. The artwork will also be displayed inside the vessel for customers to view and for additional exposure for the artist.

Last August the First Peoples’ Cultural Council issued a call for artists and Coast Salish artists were invited to submit their portfolios for consideration. From 37 expressions of interest, a jury of artist peers and
BC Ferries representatives identified a shortlist of nine artists who were invited to submit specific design concepts for the three Salish Class vessels. The jury reviewed the design concepts with attention to artistic excellence, Coast Salish artistic style, ability to express the vessel names through artwork, ability to provide digital images for fabrication and ability to meet the project timeline.

In January, BC Ferries and the First Peoples’ Cultural Council announced the selection of three Coast Salish artists to create designs for the new Salish Class vessels; Darlene Gait from Esquimalt Nation for the Salish Orca, John Marston from Stz'uminus for the Salish Eagle and Thomas Cannell from Musqueam for the Salish Raven. The vessels are named to recognize the Coast Salish as the original mariners of the Salish Sea. The two other artistic designs will be shared publically over the coming months.

Learn more about Darlene Gait and the ceremony where her artwork was revealed in the News Release .

More about the upcoming Salish vessels

Over the next two years, BC Ferries will be retiring the Queen of Nanaimo and the Queen of Burnaby from its fleet. These two vessels were built in 1964 and 1965 respectively, and will have served their communities for over 50 years by the time they are retired.

To replace these vessels, BC Ferries will be introducing its Salish Class of vessels, otherwise known as Intermediate Class Ferries (or ICFs). The Salish Orca and the Salish Eagle will be introduced into service on the Southern Gulf Islands routes starting in 2017. These two new vessels, as well as a third ICF (the Salish Raven) that will serve to augment peak and shoulder season service in the Southern Gulf Islands, are being built at Remontowa Shipbuilding S.A. in Gdansk, Poland.

The names Salish Orca, Salish Eagle and Salish Raven were chosen to honour the Coast Salish people and the Salish Sea where these vessels will operate. To celebrate Salish culture, BC Ferries is working with the First Peoples’ Cultural Council to select Coast Salish artisans to design artwork for the exterior and interior of the vessels. BC Ferries anticipates beautiful designs that both preserve and advance Coast Salish culture.

These new vessels will be capable of running as dual-fuel on either liquefied natural gas (LNG) or ultra-low Sulphur diesel. The first ICF is scheduled to arrive in August 2016, the second in October 2016, and the third in February 2017.

More Project Milestones:

Public Input

The upcoming introduction of the Salish Eagle and the Salish Raven into service is an opportunity to revisit the sailing schedules for the Southern Gulf Islands. In April 2015, BC Ferries embarked on a nine month consultation with our customers to develop sailing schedules that meet the needs of these communities.
BC Ferries and the External Working Group are presently working together on schedule modifications to the draft schedules that received relatively low levels of satisfaction in the Customer Feedback Survey. This summer, the 2017 spring and summer schedules for the Southern Gulf Islands routes will be posted on our website. Learn more about the consultation >>

Story Boards

BC Ferries presented story boards at each information session. For customers who were unable to attend any of these sessions, the story boards may be downloaded and viewed by clicking on the following link:

Thank you for your support throughout this project.



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