Official No: 801691
Place Built: Vancouver, BC
Builder: Vancouver Shipyards Ltd.
Year Built: 1982
Vehicles: 70
Passengers: 400
Crew: 6
Length: 86.85 m
Breadth: 21.24 m
Gross Tons: 1,458.59
Service Speed: 12 knots
Horsepower: 2,080


On a normal day, the Quinsam makes 16 round trips between Nanaimo harbour and Descanso Bay on Gabriola Island. The trip across Nanaimo Harbour and the entrance to Northumberland Channel takes about 20 minutes and provides a nice view of the city and busy harbour. The Quinsam is quite plain by ferry standards. Her list of amenities is short, including washrooms, a couple small seating areas, and vending machines. Most people remain in their vehicles for the entire voyage but there are often many walk-on passengers making a day trip to the Gulf Island or coming to work in Nanaimo.


Following her completion in 1982, the British Columbia's Ministry of Transportation and Highways operated the Quinsam on the busy Nanaimo Harbour to Gabriola Island run, replacing the 50-car Quinitsa . The Ministry's coastal fleet was transferred to BC Ferries in October 1985. However, the ferry's situation has not changed and she remains on the route she has served on for over 25 years.


1982 - Began service between Nanaimo and Gabriola Island for the province's Ministry of Transportation and Highways.
2005 - July 31 - The Quinsam helped two men whose sailboat had overturned near Gabriola Island. Crew members in the ferry's rescue boat pulled the men from the water and towed the sailboat to shore.
2005 - August 25 - Two more boaters were rescued from the water near Duke Point by crew members of the Quinitsa ferry.
2007 - January 10 - Only hours after passing her annual Transport Safety Board (TSB) inspection, the Quinsam pulled away from the dock at Nanaimo Harbour terminal while loading causing a pickup truck to topple into the water. Fortunately, the sole occupant of the truck was able to leap clear of the vehicle before it fell. BC Ferries blamed the incident on human error while the TSB suggested that the right-angle drives on the ferry were the same type that had malfunctioned before on other ferries.

Origin of Name

Quinsam - Named after the Quinsam River located west of Campbell River on Vancouver Island. The name comes from a Native word meaning "resting place" (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.

About This Site - Contact: - Last updated on February 15, 2008

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