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

VIDEO: Terry Fox Run returns to Port Hardy for the first time since 2016

All told, Port Hardy’s Terry Fox Run raised $2,200.30 with more still coming in.

2019 FEDERAL ELECTION: Meet the candidates for the North Island-Powell River riding

In an effort to inform the North Island-Powell River riding constituents, we… Continue reading

Port Hardy celebrates Pride Day at Sacred Wolf Friendship Centre

In the evening, FISH TACO: A Seaside Drag performance was held at the Quarterdeck Pub.

Federal election: Meet the North Island candidates

We begin this series on the federal election by asking about their motivation for running.

Port McNeill Lions Club on the verge of shutting down, needs members

Stewart and Hinton hope volunteers will step forward to help them through this difficult time.

VIDEO: Liberals make child care pledge, Greens unveil platform on Day 6 of campaign

Green party leader Elizabeth May unveils her party’s platform in Toronto

Sikh millworker lodges human rights complaint against Interfor, again

Mander Sohal, fired from Delta’s Acorn Mill, alleges discrimination based on religion and disability

UVic students killed in Bamfield bus crash were from Winnipeg, Iowa City

Authorities said the two victims were a man and a woman, both aged 18

Safety concerns resurface after fatal bus crash on Vancouver Island

Huu-ay-aht First Nations wants a safe route between Bamfield and Port Alberni

National weather forecasters predict average fall, cold winter

The Weather Network says precipitation will about average in most parts of Canada

Two dead, two in critical condition in highway crash near Campbell River

Highway 19 reopened Sunday night after it was closed in both directions

VIDEO: Vancouver Island mayor details emergency response after fatal bus crash

Sharie Minions says she is ‘appalled’ by condition of road where bus crashed

Scheer makes quick campaign stop in Comox

Conservative leader highlights tax promises early in campaign

Conservatives promise tax cut that they say will address Liberal increases

Scheer says the cut would apply to the lowest income bracket

Most Read