Queen of Oak Bay
Except for her earliest days of operation, the Queen of Oak Bay has been the main ferry on Route 2 (Horseshoe Bay to Departure Bay) since the early 1980s. Based out of Horseshoe Bay, the ferry makes 4 round trips per day between the two terminals. The Oak Bay is grouped as a C-class ferry, a nearly identical sister to the Queen of Surrey and sharing the same hull design as the Queen of Cowichan, Queen of Coquitlam, and Queen of Alberni. On board the Queen of Oak Bay passengers can enjoy a full variety of amenities including a cafeteria, snack bar, gift shop, video arcade, and children's room. In addition to the passenger deck there is a full open outside deck with covered solariums near each end. All decks are accessible by elevator. The ferry is a double ender with two main car decks; the lower car deck also includes gallery decks on each side for additional underheight capacity.
Official No: 0396065
Place Built: Victoria
Builder: Yarrows Ltd.
Year Built: 1981
Vehicle Capacity: 362
Passenger Capacity: 1,466
Overall Length: 139.29 m
Breadth: 27.58 m
Gross Tons: 6,968.91
Service Speed: 22 knots
Launched in the spring of 1981, the Queen of Oak Bay was the last of the C-class ferries to be built. The cost of construction was approximately $23.8 million. After a brief period operating on Route 1 between Tsawwassen and Swartz Bay (Victoria), the Queen of Oak Bay was moved to Route 2 (Horseshoe Bay - Nanaimo) and remains there to this day. In June of 2005, the Oak Bay came out of an extensive $35 million mid-life refit. In preparation for an additional 20 years of service the ferry underwent major steel replacement and received engine and navigational upgrades, a new evacuation system, and totally refurbished passenger accommodations. Less than 2 weeks after returning to service, the Queen of Oak Bay had her most notable accident. On June 30, 2005, the Queen of Oak Bay lost power as she entered Horseshoe Bay and smashed into Sewell's Marina destroying or damaging several small pleasure boats and part of the marina (approximately $3 million in damage). Although the ferry grounded she sustained very little damage herself; no one was injured. The accident was apparently caused by a missing cotter pin that eventually caused a link to fail between the engine governor and fuel control. The full Transportation Safety Board report on the incident can be found on their website: Report Number M05W0111.
1981 - Spring - Launched from Yarrows shipyard in Victoria.
1996 - May 17 - A kayaker is rescued just outside of Nanaimo by some crewmembers from the passing Queen of Oak Bay.
2001 - October 23 - Two people were rescued by the crew of the Queen of Oak Bay in Georgia Strait just off of Bowen Island.
2004-2005 - Beginning in December 2004, the Queen of Oak Bay underwent a major $35 million mid-life refit at Vancouver Drydock. It was completed in May 2005.
2005 - June 30 - The Queen of Oak Bay dramatically smashed into Sewell's Marina just meters from the Horseshoe Bay ferry terminal as she lost power approaching her berth.
Origin of Name
Queen of Oak Bay - Named after the small municipality of Oak Bay located immediately west of the city of Victoria. It is a relatively well off neighbourhood known for its large old buildings and expansive estates and gardens. It is named for the Garry Oak trees that predominate in the area. ("Oak Bay" - Encyclopedia of British Columbia)
For Further Reading
Bannerman, Gary and Patricia. The Ships of British Columbia. Surrey: Hancock House Publishers, 1985.