Route 4

Swartz Bay (Victoria) to Fulford Harbour (Salt Spring Is.)

Voyage Distance: 10.2 km
Voyage Time: 35 minutes
Skeena Queen
Sailing Frequency: 8-9 round trips per day


The Swartz Bay to Salt Spring Island route is the main route accessing the largest and most populated of the Gulf Islands. Leaving Swartz Bay, the route usually takes travellers through the narrow passage between Piers Island and Knapp Island, then across Satellite Channel and down the full length of Fulford Harbour. Passengers get nice views of the Gulf Islands and the mountains of Vancouver Island and the Mainland on a good day.

Route 4 can be quite busy on weekends and all through the summer. A number of Salt Spring residents work in Victoria (and in the opposite direction, Victoria area companies sometimes work on Salt Spring) so morning and afternoon sailings on weekdays can be busy with commuters and work vehicles. The Skeena Queen is the main vessel on the route, but if she happens to be out of service she is replaced by smaller and slightly slower vessels. The current conditions of this route can be viewed through the BC Ferries website.

Since this route has the most capacity and departure times to Salt Spring Island, BC Ferries encourages travellers from the Mainland to travel to there (and the other Gulf Islands) via Swartz Bay with a "through fare" ticket. This system routes passengers and drivers onto Route 1 (Tsawwassen - Swartz Bay) and then Route 4 (Swartz Bay - Salt Spring Island) for the same price as travelling Route 9 (Tsawwassen - Salt Spring Island).


The first car ferry to serve the Gulf Islands, Canadian Pacific's Motor Princess arrived on the coast in 1923. Regular Gulf Islands ferry service began in 1930 when the Gulf Island Ferry Company was created. In September of 1961, BC Ferries took over the Gulf Island Ferry Company and became responsible for ferry service to the Gulf Islands.

About This Site - Contact: John Hammersmark

Copyright -