Clipper passenger service from Victoria to Vancouver postponed

Clipper Navigation Ltd.'s planned ferry service between downtown Victoria and downtown Vancouver has been postponed to spring 2017.

Clipper Navigation Ltd.’s planned ferry service between downtown Victoria and downtown Vancouver has been postponed to spring 2017.

According to Merideth Tall, CEO and chair of Clipper, the company has pushed back the start date by a year because it hasn’t found the right vessel.

“We’ve been looking at this service for several years. We know that the key is going to be the right vessel in these waters,” Tall said. “We know that this piece of water between Victoria and Vancouver is even more challenging. We’ve been selecting the right vessel and we aren’t going to compromise or risk repeating any mistakes from the past that have been made on that route.”

A similar service was launched between Vancouver and Victoria in 1994 by Royal Sealink Express, however it was eventually halted due to low ridership and seasickness among passengers.

Clipper has identified what they believe to be the optimal vessel to prevent passengers from getting sick — one that is a minimum length of 44 metres — but would not go into details about it.

“We will have a vessel in place in 2017,” Tall added. “I feel comfortable with our date of spring 2017.”

When it’s up and running, the roughly three-hour catamaran service will include a number of on-board amenities.

Earlier this year, the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority and Riverside Marine B.C., a family business with operations around the Sydney, Australia area, reached an offer to lease the Steamship Terminal in an effort to offer a similar service between Vancouver and Victoria as well.

The high-speed jet catamaran will have a capacity of up to 300 passengers, with daily sailings departing Vancouver in the morning and Victoria in the afternoon. It is expected to begin preliminary sailings this summer, with full operations beginning in the 2017 tourism season.

 

kendra.wong@vicnews.com