Spirit of Vancouver Island

About this ferry

The Spirit of Vancouver Island provides regular ferry service between Vancouver (Tsawwassen) and Victoria (Swartz Bay).

This ferry was converted in 2018 to use liquefied natural gas, reducing air emissions.



Spirit of Vancouver Island profile

Onboard amenities
Also available on this ferry
Accessible washrooms
Kids play area
Pet area
Work stations
Coastal Café

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.


Emergency signals

The following signals are used to crew members to an emergency:

  • Fire
    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, there are three marine evacuation chute stations on each side of Deck 6.

The inflatable chutes are easy for passengers to use to slide down to a life raft. For passengers unable to use the chutes, there are supplementary life rafts fitted under the rescue boat cranes.

  • There are 28 life rafts, capable of carrying 100 passengers each, including the four platform rafts
  • There are four life rafts, capable of carrying 25 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.


Rescue boats

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

Life jackets are stowed in marked lockers, outside on Deck 6, and at the front of Lounge A.

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 suppression

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 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. 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.

Links & more

View schedule for route between Vancouver (Tsawwassen) and Victoria (Swartz Bay)

Get tips for travelling with pets

Grab a freshly brewed coffee at Arbutus Coffee Bar

Enjoy a light meal or a quick snack

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 Vancouver Island 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.

Build statistics
  • Built 1994
  • Overall length (m) 167.0
  • Maximum displacement (t) 11681.0
  • Car capacity 358
  • Passenger & crew capacity 2100
  • Maximum speed (knots) 19.5
  • Horsepower 21394

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 Vancouver Island 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.

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