The Howe Sound Queen, running from Crofton to Vesuvius on Salt Spring Island, will soon be going into retirement. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Howe Sound Queen sailing toward retirement

Vessel now up for auction ends regular runs between Crofton and Vesuvius at the beginning of June

The Howe Sound Queen is nearing the end of its BC Ferries life, but it’s not dead yet.

The vessel that has been running between Crofton and Vesuvius on Salt Spring Island since 1992 is being taken out of service at the beginning of June, but will remain on the auction block through GovDeals and available to the highest bidder until the end of April, according to Deborah Marshall, BC Ferries executive director, public affairs.

“It’s been in the works for a while,” said Marshall of the Howe Sound Queen’s ferry service retirement.

“You do get to a certain point in time in a vessel’s lifetime, it’s the prudent thing to do. If there’s another use for it, we think that’s great.”

It’s still in good operating condition; thus, the auction.

“It is an older vessel,” added Marshall. “There might be other platforms it can be used for.

“We would reach out to companies that have expressed any interest in our used vessels.”

The Howe Sound Queen was built in Quebec in 1966 and purchased by BC Ferries in 1971. It initially operated between Horseshoe Bay and Bowen Island.

Nicknamed ‘The Hound Dog’, the vessel eventually replaced the Vesuvius Queen on its current run.

Replacing the Howe Sound Queen on the route will be the MV Quinitsa that was on the Denman Island-Buckley Bay route before being replaced by a cable ferry and kept by BC Ferries as a relief vessel.

The Quinitsa is about 13 years younger – built in 1977 – compared to the Howe Sound Queen, but has a slightly smaller capacity of 44 vehicles versus 52.

However, Marshall noted it can accommodate more commercial vehicles due to a different deck configuration.

“Another advantage that’s going to be coming up, we’ve got a new schedule coming up,” she pointed out. “We will go to a new schedule May 1.”

That means slightly more sailings and the less likelihood of vehicles being left behind with the slight difference in capacity.

The Howe Sound Queen has been such a fixture on the route for so long it’s going to be like losing an old friend for some people.

“We do have a lot of commuters and frequent users and they do get attached to the vessel – same for the crew,” conceded Marshall.

In the meantime, the Howe Sound Queen awaits its fate – wherever that might be.

“The pool of potential buyers is limited,” reasoned Marshall.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Donated sculpture in Sidney’s Beacon Park a testament to perseverance

Victoria artist Armando Barbon picked up sculpting 22 years ago

Greater Victoria businesses come together to help Island kids

Langford Lowe’s raises funds for youth mental health all month

Sidney builds community resilience through neighbourhood gatherings

Meet Your Street needs residents to create gatherings, safe interactions

Langford racing enthusiast back in driver’s seat of life after surviving aggressive cancer

70-year-old David Smith finishes mid-pack in Canada 200 race at Western Speedway

3 new deaths due to COVID-19 in B.C., 139 new cases

B.C. confirms 40 ‘historic cases,’ as well

Ferry riders say lower fares are what’s most needed to improve service

Provincial government announces findings of public engagement process

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

The court’s second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington

Comox Valley protesters send message over old-growth logging

Event in downtown Courtenay was part of wider event on Friday

Application deadline for fish harvester benefits program extended

Those financially impacted by the pandemic have until Oct. 5 to apply

Emaciated grizzly found dead on central B.C. coast as low salmon count sparks concern

Grizzly was found on Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw territory in Smith Inlet, 60K north of Port Hardy

VIDEO: B.C. to launch mouth-rinse COVID-19 test for kids

Test involves swishing and gargling saline in mouth and no deep-nasal swab

Young Canadians have curtailed vaping during pandemic, survey finds

The survey funded by Heart & Stroke also found the decrease in vaping frequency is most notable in British Columbia and Ontario

B.C. teachers file Labour Relations Board application over COVID-19 classroom concerns

The application comes as B.C.’s second week of the new school year comes to a close

Most Read