Queen of Surrey
The Queen of Surrey is the main boat to the Sunshine Coast. She is one of the larger ferries in the fleet and is often fully loaded on weekends and in the summer for her beautiful 40 minute trip across Howe Sound. The Surrey is a C-class vessel and almost identical to her sister ship, the Queen of Oak Bay; the other three C-class ships are the Queen of Cowichan, Queen of Coquitlam, and Queen of Alberni. The C-class ships are double enders with two main car decks; the lower car deck also includes gallery decks on each side for additional underheight capacity. Like some of her sister ships, the Queen of Surrey also has a ramp leading from one of the gallery decks to the upper car deck for use in case the ferry has to use a single level ramp as is sometimes the case when the double ramp at Langdale is out of commission. On board, the Queen of Surrey boasts almost all the amenities of the other large vessels in the fleet; she has a cafeteria, snack bar, gift shop, arcade, and kids play area. The ship is fully accessible with elevator access to all decks.
Official No: 0396048
Place Built: Vancouver
Builder: Burrard Dry Dock
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
Although listed as "built" in 1981, the Queen of Surrey was actually launched in August of 1980 from Burrard Drydock in North Vancouver. The $30 million ship was delivered to BC Ferries early the next year. For the most part, the Surrey's early years were on the Horseshoe Bay to Nanaimo route; and since the mid 1990's she has been the principle ferry on Route 3 between Horseshoe Bay and Langdale (Gibsons). In late June, 2006, the Queen of Surrey returned from a $40 million mid-life upgrade intended to extend her service life for at least another 20 years. In addition to mechanical and structural replacements and upgrades, the ferry received a new evacuation system and an upgraded and remodelled passenger area. Over the years, BC Ferries has tried to replace her with one of her slightly smaller sister ships but have yielded to pressure from Sunshine Coasters who feel a special attachment to their ferry.
Queen of Surrey Fire
The most dramatic incident involving the Queen of Surrey occurred on May 17, 2003 when a major fire broke out in the engine room. About 10 minutes into the 9:20 departure from Horseshoe Bay, a leak in a pressure gauge connection sprayed diesel oil onto the turbocharger and exhaust of engine no. 2 resulting in an intense fire that forced the engineers to shut down the engines and generators and evacuate the engine control room via an emergency escape hatch. to the main vehicle deck. About 10 minutes after the fire had started, the engine room's emergency C02 fire suppression system was activated and successfully put out the flames. The sprinkler system on the main car deck was also activated to prevent fires there.
With total loss of prower and trailing billowing black smoke, the ferry drifted toward an island near Horseshoe Bay. The nearby Bowen Island ferry, the Queen of Capilano, quickly responded to the stricken ferry and crew members were able to attach a line and tow the larger ferry to safety. The ferry was eventually towed to Langdale where passengers were able to disembark almost 4 hours late.
Although there was little visible damage on the outside, the engine room was another story. Engine No. 2 had to be overhauled and numerous pipes and wires had to be replaced. The fire also damaged the Queen of Surrey's main car deck; the steel deck above the fire buckled under the intense heat. There were no serious injuries; as a precaution 3 people were taken to hospital for smoke inhalation. Damage to vehicles, too, was minimal; only two trucks suffered minor damage from the sprinkler system. The estimated cost of damage was around $2 million, not to mention the disruption caused to the following Victoria Day long weekend and early summer schedules; the ferry was not back in service until mid-July.
The full Transportation Safety Board report on the incident can be found on their website: Report Number M03W0073.
The Queen of Surrey is actually not the first BC Ferry to carry such a name. The infamous Queen of the North held the name Queen of Surrey until 1980 when she was renamed.
On May 12, 2007, only hours after the Queen of Surrey fire, there was a serious truck fire on board the Joseph and Clara Smallwood, one of the main ferries to Newfoundland. Fortunately, no one was seriously injured in either incident.
1980 - August - Launched from Burrard Drydock in North Vancouver.
1994 - October - Two hundred thousand dollars of damage was caused when the Queen of Surrey slammed into the dock at Horseshoe Bay.
2001 - May 1 - The Queen of Surrey crew rescued a swamped kayaker off Bowen Island on its 12:30 trip from Langdale to Horseshoe Bay.
2003 - May 12 - A major engine room fire caused significant damage and put the ferry out of service for over 2 months.
2005-06 - The Queen of Surrey underwent a $40 million midlife refit.
Origin of Name
Queen of Surrey - Surrey, a suburb of Vancouver, is the second largest city in British Columbia by population, and first by land area. Surrey has access to water on two sides; to the north, Surrey is bounded by the Fraser River, an area home to a number of port facilities belonging to the Fraser River Port Authority. To the south, the city meets Boundary Bay, an area with little industrial or commercial development apart from the small separate municipality of White Rock. Surrey's name originates from a city of the same name in England. It got the name because like the Surrey in Great Britain, it too is across the river from a town named "Westminster". ("Surrey" - Encyclopedia of British Columbia)
For Further Reading
Bannerman, Gary and Patricia. The Ships of British Columbia. Surrey: Hancock House Publishers, 1985.