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For Immediate Release
April 11, 2022


VICTORIA – Commuters on the Gabriola-Nanaimo Harbour route are set to travel on the fleet’s newest Island Class vessels starting Tuesday, April 12 at 5:15 am. The augmented service will increase both capacity and sailing frequency to the communities they will serve.
One of the vessels will provide 18 hours of service with sailing times kept close to what they were previously to avoid disrupting established travel patterns. The second vessel will operate during the busiest 12-hour period of the day. Available passenger and vehicle capacity will increase throughout the day. Both vessels carry 47 vehicles each for a total of 94 vehicles. This represents a 49 per cent vehicle capacity increase over the MV Quinsam when both ships are sailing.
The new sailing schedules were developed in consultation with the community and the Gabriola Island Ferry Advisory Committee through a public engagement process carried out in March and April of 2021. Community feedback indicated the importance of the morning sailing times to support commuters and school children leaving Gabriola, and the schedule reflects this input with a new 7:05 am departure from Gabriola. The community also asked for easier loading and unloading of foot passengers. A separate foot passenger walkway has been constructed at the Nanaimo Harbour terminal to support this.
Island Class ferries are battery equipped ships designed for future full electric operation. The ships are fitted with hybrid technology that bridges the gap until shore charging infrastructure and funding becomes available in B.C. From the exterior details to the engines, the design of the new vessels reduces underwater radiated noise, lowers emissions and improves customer service.
The introduction of this new service on the Gabriola Island route allows BC Ferries to deploy the MV Quinsam to the Crofton – Salt Spring Island (Vesuvius Bay) route starting on Wednesday, April 13. The MV Quinsam will replace the MV Quinitsa, resulting in a capacity increase of approximately 100 passengers and 19 vehicles per sailing on this route. That’s an increase of an additional passenger capacity of up to 2600 more passengers a day if needed and 494 vehicles over the course of the day. The MV Quinsam will sail on the regular posted schedule.
BC Ferries is pleased to implement service improvements on both of these routes. For information and schedule details, visit To see the Island Class, click here.

Nanaimo Harbour – Gabriola Island Route

Like anything new and different, the Island Class ships will take a little getting used to. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
We’ll Be Loading Vessels Faster
With sailings roughly every 35 minutes, the pace of service is really picking up! This will mean less wait time, and more sailing options for you. It also means we need to load and go, so that we’re making way for the next ferry. There may be times when there are a small number of empty car spaces onboard as we prioritize staying on time.
You have new options for your morning and afternoon commutes
Two ships means more frequent sailings. You have new options for your morning commute at 7:05 am, 8:10 am, and 9:20 am. For your commute home, you can add 4:00 pm and 5:05 pm to your list of options. More frequent sailing options are offered from 7:05 am until 5:40 pm each day. See the new schedule at
The Ramps = Priority Off-Loading Whenever Possible
Our experienced deck officers may direct you to park on the gallery deck ramps. While the ramp may appear narrow, the officers are experts and you can trust that your vehicle will fit. Following their directions will keep everything running smoothly. As a bonus, those parked on the gallery deck will be off-loaded before main deck traffic whenever possible.
The Island Class are Built to Handle Rough Weather
Island Class vessels made the 10,700 nautical mile transoceanic journey under their own power from Romania to British Columbia. They operate under similar parameters as our Spirit and Coastal Class vessels that serve the major routes and have proven that they have more than sufficient power and maneuverability for the weather and current conditions on this route.
We’re all in this together!
Everyone is learning and getting used to a new ship, new schedules, and a slightly different travel experience. It will take some time for us all to find our rhythm and routine. Please be patient and kind to our crew and your fellow passengers as we navigate this learning curve together.

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Media Contact:
BC Ferries, Media Relations
Victoria: (250) 978-1267

Customer Contact:
Victoria: (250) 410-1465
Toll-free: 1-888-BCFERRY (1-888-223-3779)

Note to newsrooms: For urgent media inquiries off-hours, call our off-hours line at (250) 516-7211.
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