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Spirit of British Columbia
About this ferry
The Spirit of British Columbia provides regular ferry service between Vancouver (Tsawwassen) and Victoria (Swartz Bay).
This ferry was converted in 2018 to also use liquefied natural gas, reducing air emissions.
Note: Due to COVID-19, some amenities are currently closed. Learn more about our onboard amenities and check which ones are available.
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, four double-track inflatable slides, similar to those used for passenger aircraft, can be deployed by crew members from Deck 5.
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 28 life rafts, capable of carrying 100 passengers each, including the four platform rafts
- 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 four rescue boats on the forward end of Deck 6 to assist with towing life rafts, emergency response, and to help passengers to safety.
Life jackets are stowed in marked lockers on Deck 5 in the forward lounge, and Deck 6 in the back and middle lounges.
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 and exterior passenger deck areas, plus:
- Manual deluge systems on the vehicle deck
- A manual CO2 smothering system in the Engine Room and generator space
- The machinery spaces are also fitted with a local water mist system over main machinery and generator space
- The manual pull alarm stations are installed in passenger areas, in vehicle areas and in the Engine Room
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 eleven 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 video cameras installed, allowing the bridge and engineering crew to continuously 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.
View schedule for route between Vancouver (Tsawwassen) and Victoria (Swartz Bay)
Get tips for travelling with pets
See what's on offer at our all inclusive Pacific Buffet
Grab a freshly brewed coffee at Arbutus Coffee Bar
Relax in our quiet Seawest lounge
Find the perfect gift on board at Passages
Back to our ferries
The information on this page applies to the Spirit of British Columbia 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 1993
- Overall length (m) 167.0
- Maximum displacement (t) 11642.0
- Car capacity 358
- Passenger & crew capacity 2100
- Maximum speed (knots) 20.6
- Horsepower 21448
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 Spirit of British Columbia has accessible washrooms on Decks 5 and 6, and three 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.