After a tribute to the Powell River Queen on Tuesday, the two vessels replacing it will deliver more frequent service and additional capacity on round trip service between Campbell River – Quadra Island beginning Wednesday, Jan. 18.
A farewell event for the Powell River Queen at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday in Quathiaski Cove will recognize the contribution the ship has made to crew, residents, and visitors during its 58 years of service. Employees, past and present, as well as the community will have the opportunity to say their goodbyes both on board the vessel as well as at Quathiaski Cove Terminal.
On board the vessel as it completes its last day of service, special announcements will be made recognizing the ship’s history and contribution to fleet.
The Powell River Queen will be sailing on its regular schedule for the day, with the final sailings noted below.
• Depart Quathiaski Cove at 5:50 p.m.
• Depart Campbell River at 6:15 p.m.
Following the last trips, the vessel will be tied up at Buckley Bay ahead of a final move. The vessel is currently up for sale.
The Island Nagalis will then relieve the Powell River Queen and complete the remaining sailings for the evening.
Beginning January 18, 2023, the Island Nagalis and the Island K’ulut’a will begin serving the route and provide two-ship service.
With up to 11 more round trips per day, wait times will be reduced and congestion on local roads will be mitigated, BC Ferries says in a press release.
Island Nagalis and Island K’ulut’a both carry 47 vehicles each for a total of 94 vehicles. This increases capacity at peak times by nearly 40 per cent compared to the current 59-vehicle ferry, Powell River Queen. One of the new vessels will provide 18 hours of service while the second vessel will operate during the busiest 12-hour period of the day.
The Island Class vessels are a series of hybrid-electric ships designed for future full electric operation. The ships are fitted with hybrid technology that bridges the gap until shore charging infrastructure and funding become available. From the exterior details to the engines, the design of the new vessels reduces underwater radiated noise, lowers emissions and improves customer service.
WHAT’S CHANGING WITH THE ISLAND CLASS VESSELS
Campbell River – Quadra Island Route
Like anything new and different, the Island Class ships will take a little getting used to. Here are a few things BC Ferries says customers should keep in mind:
With sailings roughly every 30 minutes, the pace of service is really picking up. This will mean less wait time, and more sailing options for travellers. It also means BC Ferries will load and go and vehicles will be sorted during loading as needed. There may be times when there are a small number of empty car spaces onboard as the crew prioritizes staying on time.
Special note for Cortes Island customers: Cortes Island customers will no longer use a courtesy lane when travelling from Campbell River to Quadra Island as they have in the past. The new two-ship service will provide easy and frequent connections for those travelling through to the island. In addition, courtesy lanes can no longer be assigned due to the change in staging and sorting requirements at terminals.
Customers have new options for the morning and afternoon commutes
Two ships means more frequent service and new options for your commute to and from home. Service will grow to up to 29 round trips per day, delivering more service at peak times and more capacity overall. There will be seven sailings between 6:15 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. for the morning commute to Campbell River. For the commute home, there will be seven sailings between 3:30 p.m. and 6:15 p.m. to Quadra Island. See the new schedule at bcferries.com.
The Ramps = priority off-loading whenever possible
Experienced deck officers may direct customers to park on the gallery deck ramps. While the ramp may appear narrow, the officers are experts and drivers can trust that the vehicle will fit, BC Ferries says. 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 the 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.
Improving the customer experience
Two-ship service was introduced on the Nanaimo Harbour – Gabriola Island route last spring. Two months later, BC Ferries said on-time performance improved by 36 per cent while the number of sailings that left cars behind during peak travel times was cut in half – 10.6 per cent from 20.3 per cent.