Boating enthusiasts looking for a new way to cruise the B.C. coast in style this summer might want to check out some vintage vessels recently put up for sale.
The provincially owned BC Ferries Corporation is selling four of its oldest boats, as part of its ambitious fleet replacement program. The company intends to retire the four by the fall.
There have already been two offers for the Queen of Tsawwassen, one of BC Ferries' original vessels, and numerous inquiries about the other three up for grabs — the Queen of Esquimalt, Queen of Saanich and Queen of Vancouver.
The iconic vessels have serviced millions of passengers travelling the mainland and the islands of the West Coast for the past 45 to 48 years.
The Queen of Tsawwassen was built in 1963, measures 130 metres long and 23.9 metres wide, and can carry 1308 passengers and the equivalent of over two kilometres worth of vehicles lined up end to end, all while cruising at 19 knots.
"These four ships have served British Columbians and visitors well, however, with the arrival of new vessels better suited to current customer expectations and business needs, the time has come for these vessels to be used elsewhere," said David L. Hahn, BC Ferries' president, in a written statement released Wednesday morning.
As for the sale prices of the vessels, the ferry corporation would only say that market demand will dictate the price.
The sale comes after the first of three new super-sized ferries built in Germany recently arrived on the coast. The Coastal Renaissance is due to start service in the spring, with the other two sister ships expected to follow later this fall.