Official No: 0345965
Place Built: North Vancouver, BC
Builder: Vancouver Shipyards Ltd.
Year Built: 1972
Vehicles: 26
Passengers: 195
Crew: 5
Overall Length: 47.46 m
Length: 45.06 m
Breadth: 12.68 m
Gross Tons: 352.58
Service Speed: 9 knots
Horsepower: 600

The Klitsa is one of BC Ferries many minor vessels and is sometimes classed as a K-class vessel. This makes her a sister ship to the Kahloke , Kwuna , and the John Atlantic Burr although there are some differences between them. The Klitsa is also considered an almost identical sister ship to the two Albion ferries, the Kulleet and Klatawa . Built as the Denman Queen in 1972, the ferry can hold 26 cars and 195 passengers. Today she operates on the Chemainus - Thetis Island - Kuper Island triangle route during the summer season. When not on that route, she can sometimes be found on the Albion ferry route, replacing one of the regular ferries that cross the Fraser River between Maple Ridge and Fort Langley.


When on the Chemainus - Thetis - Kuper route, the Klitsa is based on Thetis Island and makes several round trips between the town and islands every day. The round trip takes about 1 hour, provided the ferry stops at all 3 terminals. The ferry has very little onboard; just one lounge and washrooms. In the winter months, the Klista is replaced by the slightly larger Kahloke on the Chemainus run.

The bridge on the Klitsa is located mid-ship on one side of the vessel. The ferry has two engines and two propellers (one at each end). The ferry can travel in either direction at service speed. She is equipped with a number life rafts in case of evacuation and a single rescue boat located above the passenger lounge area.

When not in regular service on the Chemainus triangle run, the Klitsa is sometimes called in to act as a replacement vessel on the Fraser River crossing between Maple Ridge and Fort Langley (operated under contract to Translink). The two regular ferries on the Albion run are the Kulleet and Klatawa , both sister ships to the Klitsa .


The Klitsa was built in 1972 as the Denman Queen for the British Columbia Ministry of Transportation and Highways. As her original name suggests, the Klitsa was placed on the Buckley Bay - Denman Island route in 1973. The same year, the Denman Queen was renamed the Klitsa . In 1978, the ferry was replaced on the run by the Kahloke . The routes the Klitsa has been used on is largely unrecorded although it is likely she has operated on most of the sheltered minor routes on the south coast under both the Ministry of Transportation and Highways and BC Ferries.

In 1985 the Klitsa , along with all of the Ministry of Transportation and Highways coastal assets, were transferred to BC Ferries. With BC Ferries, the ferry has mainly been operated on the Chemainus - Thetis Island - Kuper Island triangle route, which was established by the Ministry.

A protest on Kuper Island delayed the Klitsa for two hours on July 29th, 1994. Residents of the Island were angry that the ferry was repeatedly full by the time it made its stop at Kuper Island before heading to Chemainus. That day, only one car made it onto the first three sailings departing Kuper Island because the ferry was already almost full from Thetis Island traffic. By the time the third sailing of the day came along, there were reportedly 25 cars and 100 passengers still waiting to get to Chemainus. To protest the poor service, those waiting for the ferry occupied the ramp delaying the ferry by 2 hours.

The rudder on a sailboat broke in heavy seas during a strong wind storm that lashed the south coast on April 22, 2004. Stranded in the waters off Chemainus, the Coast Guard alerted the crew on the Klitsa who launched their rescue boat and towed the sailboat into the calm waters of the harbour.

Less than two weeks later, the Klitsa was again called to help boaters in the area. On May 4, 2004, two elderly men fell into the water when their small boat capsized off of Ladysmith. A man from shore rowed out to help them and rescue boats from the Klitsa and the local Coast Guard auxiliary pulled them from the ocean.

Another protest delayed the Klitsa on November 1, 2004, this time in Chemainus. Members of the Penelakut First Nations who live on Kuper Island held up the ferry to protest the latest ferry fare hikes (4.4%) and fuel surcharges. The 700 residents of Kuper Island (entirely a Native Reserve) are overwhelmingly unemployed and in poverty, hardly able to afford higher ferry prices.

The Klitsa came to the rescue of her two sister ships on the Albion ferry run on March 3, 2005. Amazingly, both the Klatawa and Kulleet experienced engine trouble on the same morning. The Klitsa was called in to help out on the busy commuter run and the route was able to resume that evening.

Origin of Name

Klitsa - A mountain near Sproat Lake (Near Port Alberni) is named Klitsa. Apparently the word means "chalk white," giving new meaning to " White Ships . Blue Seas. What Our Most Beautiful Places Have In Common" (a popular BC Ferries slogan). (Clapp, 78).

For Further Reading

Clapp, Frank. Ministry of Transportation and Highways: Inland and Coastal Ferries. Victoria: Province of British Columbia, 1981. Also 1978 and 1991 editions.

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