About this ferry
The Salish Heron provides ferry service between Vancouver (Tsawwassen) and the Southern Gulf Islands.
As part of our ongoing commitment to safety, operational guidelines call for regular and frequent safety drills for all crew members on every ferry.
Over 1,000 drills will be conducted this year to ensure the highest safety standards for our ferries and crews.
In the event of an emergency, always follow the instructions of ferry’s personnel.
Important: in the case of an emergency, elevators are not available and vehicle access may be prohibited.
The following signals are used to crew members to an emergency:
Continuous ringing of the alarm bell.
- Person overboard
Three long soundings of the whistle and general alarm bell. Keep outer decks clear where rescue operations are underway.
- Boat/Raft stations
Seven (or more) short soundings, followed by one long sounding of the ferry’s general alarm and/or whistle.
Signals will be followed by an announcement explaining the nature of the emergency. If you hear a signal, don’t panic. Our crew will take immediate charge of the situation and clearly explain exactly what to do.
If the ferry needs to be evacuated, inflatable slides, similar to those used for passenger aircraft, can be deployed by crew members from Deck 4.
Using the same basic principles as playground slides, and looking much like them, the inflatable slides are easy for all passengers to use by sliding quickly down to a life raft.
- There are eight rafts, capable of carrying 100 passengers each
- In total, the life rafts can accommodate more people than the maximum the ferry can carry
Should there ever be a need to evacuate the ferry, crew members will direct you to an evacuation area.
This ferry carries two six-person rescue boats on Deck 5 to assist with emergencies, for towing life rafts, and to help passengers to safety.
Life jackets are stowed in clearly marked lockers inside on Deck 4.
Three sizes of life jackets are available:
- One for infants less than 33 pounds (15 kg)
- One for children up to 90 pounds (41 kg)
- One for adults
In the unlikely event of an emergency, crew members will instruct you on the proper use of your life jacket.
Fire extinguishers are located in all interior passenger areas, plus:
- Manual pull stations throughout the ferry
- Manual deluge system on the vehicle decks
- Hi-Fog system in the Engine Room and all interior crew and passenger spaces
- Wet chemical fire extinguishing system for the Galley deep fat fryer
- Dry chemical fire extinguishing system for the LNG Bunker Station
Fire suppression in both machinery and passenger spaces employs a state-of-the-art Hi-Fog water mist system that produces a thick fog of tiny water droplets to smother a fire.
This ferry meets all Canadian stability requirements including the TP 10943 (SOLAS ’90 (Safety of Life at Sea)) damage stability standards for two compartment damage.
The hull is subdivided by 10 watertight bulkheads into twenty compartments, including a dedicated LNG tank space. Nine water doors are fitted. Watertight integrity is monitored continuously from the bridge. All watertight opening and hatches are inspected, tested and serviced annually.
Monitoring for safety
This ferry has 62 video cameras installed at various onboard locations, which allows the bridge crew to monitor all areas of the ferry and remotely activate safety systems quickly. The crew also maintains regular inspection rounds of the ferry during the sailing.
Get tips for travelling with pets
Enjoy a light meal at the Coastal Cafe
Find the perfect gift on board at Passages
Back to our ferries
The information on this page applies to the Salish Heron only. Locations and complement of safety equipment on other ferries will vary.
Important: Ferries are periodically modified. BC Ferries does not accept any responsibility or liability for any errors in the information provided.
- Built 2020
- Overall length (m) 107.0
- Maximum displacement (t)
- Car capacity 138
- Passenger & crew capacity 600
- Maximum speed (knots) 15.5
- Horsepower 5952
To ensure a safe and comfortable journey for all passengers, BC Ferries provides a variety of accessibility options, including discounted passenger fares, assistance getting on and off the ferry, and wheelchairs to borrow for boarding.
The Salish Heron has accessible washrooms on Deck 4, an induction loop hearing system and two elevators on board.
During extreme weather, passenger elevators may be unavailable due to safety regulations.
If you use a wheelchair, let the agent at the ticket booth know when you arrive, and we will do our best to arrange for you to park as close as possible to an elevator.
Assistance in an emergency
If you would require assistance in the event of an emergency, inform the ticket agent at the terminal and a crew member on the ferry.
Learn more about BC Ferries accessibility.