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.

Just Posted

B.C. mom, kids on bike turned away from Tim Hortons drive-thru

Car-free for years, Charity Millar ‘felt gross’ being denied service

Saanich mom on a bike turned away in Tim Hortons drive-thru

Car-free for years, Charity Millar ‘felt gross’ being denied service

Saanich residents asked for input on Tripp Station Youth Park

Staff are considering a bike park, parkour course, zipline and more

Body found in Central Saanich waste recycling facility deemed non-suspicious

Coroners Service investigating circumstances of death

West Shore RCMP spend four hours searching for roving hikers

RCMP say stay put once you’ve called for help and listen to instructions

POLL: Do you plan on making any purchases on Black Friday?

We’ve all seen the images. Shoppers rioting outside of a store in… Continue reading

B.C. to advocate for frustrated, confused, unhappy cellphone users, says premier

Maple Ridge New Democrat Bob D’Eith to advocate for more affordable and transparent cellphone options

B.C. man who killed Belgian tourist near Boston Bar gets life in prison, no parole until 2042

Sean McKenzie pleaded guilty to second-degree murder of 28-year-old Amelie Christelle Sakkalis

‘Very disrespectful’: B.C. first responder irked by motorists recording collisions on cellphones

Central Cariboo Search and Rescue deputy chief challenges motorists to break the habit

Daily cannabis linked to reduction in opioid use: B.C. researchers

Researchers looked at a group of 1,152 people in Vancouver who reported substance use and chronic pain

Port Alberni rallies for mill workers

Fundraisers helping ease the sting of five months without work

Island student lobbies school board for dress code consistency

Jaylene Kuo contacted school trustees after seeing dress guidelines at brother’s school

Most Read