About BC Ferries

BC Ferries’ Island Class

BC Ferries' Newest Class of Vessels-Artist Rendering

BC Ferries has commenced work for the design and build of two new Island Class vessels to serve the Northern Gulf Islands. The first of the new vessels will be deployed on the Powell River – Texada Island route, replacing the 59-year old North Island Princess, which will be retired from the BC Ferries fleet. The second vessel will replace the Quadra Queen II on the Port McNeill – Alert Bay – Sointula route. The Quadra Queen II will become a relief vessel, allowing for fleet redeployments and the retirement of the 53-year old Howe Sound Queen. These two new Island Class vessels are planned to enter the fleet by 2020.

Both vessels will be the same build to achieve optimal procurement, low operating cost and interoperability. Standardized vessels help ensure consistent service across many routes.


Public Participation

In Fall 2016, BC Ferries embarked on a three phase engagement process with customers and local communities. We want to hear from our customers prior to the final designs being set.

Phase 1

Fall 2016

Feedback on Vessel Concept & Attributes

Phase 2

Summer 2017

Vessel Design Features and Onboard Amenities

Phase 3

Winter 2017

Updates from BCF on Final Design, Construction and Delivery Progress

Public Participation Sessions

In August 2017, BC Ferries hosted Public Participation Sessions in the communities of Texada Island, Alert Bay and Sointula to provide a project update, and to seek feedback on design features and amenities.

Artist Rendering - Passenger Deck   
Artist rendering images


Island Class Overview

The two minor class vessels will have the capacity to carry 47 vehicles and up to 450 passengers and crew. They will have a number of key features that support BC Ferries’ goal to be efficient and environmentally responsible throughout its system. Highlights include:

  • A hybrid diesel electric - battery power generation and propulsion system that uses on board electric battery power for operation of the vessel. Electric propulsion is quiet, smooth and efficient compared to traditional diesel propulsion. The design allows for future expansion of the on board battery capacity to permit full electric operation when the shore-side charging capacities are available.
  • Engines which operate on ultra-low sulphur diesel fuel, which has lower environmental impact than regular marine diesel oil.
  • Hull, propeller and thruster design that minimizes underwater radiated noise.
  • Arrangements to minimize shipboard vibration and airborne noise to improve conditions for communities, passengers and crew.
  • A fully contained waste water handling system which eliminates discharges to the sea.
Passenger Deck - Artist Rendering   Salon Overall - Artist Rendering   Salon Study
Artist rendering images


Concept Features

Function & Design

  • A double-ended hull with single vehicle deck, high bulwarks and enclosed ends.
  • Proposed capacity of 450 (passengers and crew).
  • Roll-on/roll-off vehicle deck with 47 automobile equivalents (AEQ*).
  • Standardized design for fleet interoperability and efficient training.
  • Service life of minimum 40 years; emphasis on sound structural design and effective coatings.
  • Suitable for year-round service in coastal British Columbia on Near Coastal Voyages, Class 2 (NC2), and Sheltered Waters routes.
  • Passenger lounge accessible from vehicle deck, meets accessibility requirements without elevators.
  • Lounge outfitted with mix of tables, study carrels, comfortable seats, community bulletin board, tourism space and charging stations for personal electronic devices.
  • Overhead sun deck with a mix of tables and individual seats protected by a transparent wind break.
  • Sufficient speed to maintain and recover schedule when required.


  • Overall design optimized for low noise, low vibration and minimal wake wash.
  • Sea keeping suitable for winter transit in coastal British Columbia without excessive motion or spray.
  • All systems designed for low energy consumption and clean environmental performance. 


  • Mechanical and electrical systems designed for simplicity, efficient performance and ease of maintenance.
  • Propulsion to provide efficient transit and sufficient manoeuvrability for reliable docking in expected environmental conditions.
  • Redundant systems for reliable performance.
  • Modern safety and control systems.

BC Ferries looks forward to welcoming you aboard in 2020.

*Automobile Equivalent (AEQ) is used to determine vessel capacity based on a standard vehicle measure of 6.1 x 2.6 meters, roughly equal to a full size family vehicle.

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