Introducing the Salish Heron

Our fourth Salish Class ferry

We are excited to continue rolling out our Clean Futures Plan with the construction of another liquefied natural gas (LNG)-fuelled ferry, the Salish Heron.. The ferry will be identical to the three Salish Class ferries built in 2016, with capacity to carry at least 138 vehicles and up to 600 passengers and crew. It will also allow for the retirement of the diesel-fuelled Mayne Queen ferry.
Built to be clean, quiet and efficient
The Salish Class ferries are built to support our goal to be efficient and environmentally responsible. Some key features include:
  • The use of natural gas as the primary fuel:
    • Reduces GHG emissions by 15% - 25%
    • Reduces sulphur oxides by over 85%
    • Reduces nitrogen oxides by over 50%
    • Nearly eliminates particulate matter
  • Electric propulsion eliminates gear boxes and shaft
  • Twin propellers reduce cavitation
  • Resilient engine mounts isolate structure borne noise
  • Hull design creates a very small wake
  • Engine management systems reduce machinery running time

Honouring the Coast Salish People

The Salish Class ferries celebrate and honour the Coast Salish People as the traditional stewards and original mariners of those waters. Historically, BC Ferries has worked alongside the First Peoples’ Cultural Council (FPCC) to select Coast Salish artists to design artwork that reflected each ferry's name for the exterior and interior of the ferries.

BC Ferries partnered once again with the FPCC and selected Coast Salish artist Maynard Johnny Jr. from Chemainus, B.C., to create the design for BC Ferries’ newest Salish Class vessel, Salish Heron. Maynard Johnny Jr. drew inspiration for the art from the herons that reside throughout the west coast. Traditionally the birds have been guides to where the fish were abundant so Johnny Jr. used his signature style to create something that would honour that Coast Salish living relationship with the Salish Sea. The Heron is scheduled to enter service in Spring 2022.

In the spring, the First Peoples’ Cultural Council invited Coast Salish artists to submit Expressions of Interest for consideration. From 36 submissions, a committee of Indigenous artist peers and BC Ferries representatives selected a shortlist of nine artists who were then commissioned to develop design concepts. Mr. Johnny’s design was selected from a list of 36 candidates.

“Herons and my people once inhabited the area in what is now known as the town of Chemainus,” said Maynard Johnny Jr. “The majestic birds were once plentiful and provided the people guidance on where fish were in abundance. I have created a Salish Heron using traditional Salish design with contemporary colours that have become my signature as a Coast Salish artist. The design reflects the long beak and long neck of a Great Blue Heron, and it’s wing, tail feathers and talon. I wanted to create a Salish Heron that was fascinating to the viewer and was obvious to the eye yet kept a flow of design and colour.”

The Salish Heron will be the fourth Salish Class ferry and will share routes with Salish Orca, Salish Eagle, and Salish Raven (pictured below) which entered service in 2017.

Photos: BC Ferries’ first three Salish Class ferries and their stunning artwork


Latest updates on the Salish Heron

The Salish Heron entered service between Tsawwassen and the Southern Gulf Islands on May 6, 2022.
Photo: BC Ferries’ fourth Salish Class vessel launches at Remontowa Shipbuilding S.A. in Gdansk, Poland


Press releases

December 22, 2021
New Salish Class vessel sets sail from Poland bound for B.C.
November 29, 2021
BC Ferries and First Peoples’ Cultural Council reveal Coast Salish artwork for Salish Heron vessel

March 23, 2021
Name reveal, FPCC partnership, call to artists
December 22, 2020
The Salish Heron launches
January 31, 2020
Contract awarded for additional Salish Class ferries

Check back here for more updates as the project progresses.
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