The SeaBus is a passenger-only ferry (water taxi) service connecting downtown Vancouver and the City of North Vancouver. The SeaBus is owned and operated by the Coast Mountain Bus Company and is an important part of TransLink's integrated public transportation system.


The ferries operate between approximately 6:00 a.m. and 1:00 a.m. daily. During the daytime from Monday to Saturday both ferries operate, with the two ferries departing simultaneously from opposite termini and passing each other halfway. The 1.75 nautical mile crossing takes 10-12 minutes in each direction with a cruising speed of 11.5 knots, with a 3-5 minute turnaround and, therefore, operates on a 15 minute turn-around schedule. [ [ Coast Mountain Bus Company] ] At these times, over 50 crossings are made a day. During the evenings and on Sundays, service is reduced to a 30 minute schedule with only one ferry operating.

The SeaBus is capable of operating on a 12 minute turnaround (or even 10 minutes with simultaneous loading and unloading). However, at the higher speeds, the wake created disturbs other users of the Burrard Inlet. During overloads they do sometimes operate at the higher speeds.

The turnstiles on the entrance into the SeaBus waiting area are used only for counting the number of passengers boarding the SeaBus. When the maximum number is reached the turnstiles will "lock" and no more passengers will be allowed on that SeaBus.

Traditionally, like all public transit in Vancouver, the Seabus offers free rides on New Year's Eve to discourage drinking and driving. See also: TransLink Fares (Vancouver).

Constables from the South Coast British Columbia Transportation Authority Police Service conduct random fare inspections, and failure to pay the correct fare can result in a $173 fine. Transit Security also conduct random fare inspections. They also arrest persons committing criminal offences on TransLink property which include: SeaBus, Buses, SkyTrain, and West Coast Express trains.


The SeaBus stops on the Vancouver side at Waterfront Station, near the Vancouver Convention Centre and cruise ship terminal at Canada Place. At Waterfront Station, there are connections to the SkyTrain and West Coast Express. In North Vancouver, the SeaBus stops at the purpose-built Lonsdale Quay, which in addition to serving many commuters has become an important tourist destination, with a hotel, public market, and bus loop.

Construction and Operations

The ferries are catamaran ferries constructed out of aluminium, which was quite rare at the time of construction. The ferries are double ended so that they can travel in either direction without turning around. There are four diesel engines in each hull, one for each propeller. The propulsion system uses a marine version of the same diesel engine used to power many of the diesel buses on the transit system. The ferries can operate with only three propellers if required.

With the radar, the ferries are able to operate in even the densest fog.

The original emergency procedure involved using the other SeaBus to evacuate passengers from the distressed SeaBus. Although the viability of this had been demonstrated, Transport Canada became concerned about this approach during times that the other SeaBus may not be available and has recently mandated the addition of life rafts.

As there are no spare ferries, all refits and upgrades have been done during a long weekend when the half hour service can be maintained with one boat. Changing an engine and minor refits can be done during the out of service time overnight. Despite running for nearly three decades, the two ships are rarely taken out of service for maintenance, boasting a 99.92% service reliability [ [ SeaBus facts] ] , a record unparalleled in North America.

The ferries operate with four crew on board (Captain and First Mate on the bridge and two attendants on the passenger level) and engineers who stay ashore most of the time, but do regular checks of the engines and are available to come aboard at any time.


* MV "Burrard Otter" (1976 - Vancouver) - seats 400
* MV "Burrard Beaver" (1976 - Victoria) - seats 400

Translink has budgeted the building of a third SeaBus by 2008 as part of its 10 year plan. A call for design proposals was issued in May 2006 [Deadlink|url=|date=January 2008] , with the vessel to enter service by fall of 2008. Following this, the two original vessels will be overhauled and refitted, extending their service life for an additional twenty years.


The first regular service between the City of North Vancouver and Vancouver began in 1900 with the craft "North Vancouver". Three years later, the North Vancouver Ferry and Power Company was created, took over, and built a new craft called "St. George". These two ferries were later renamed "North Vancouver Ferry No. 1" and "North Vancouver Ferry No. 2". The City of North Vancouver took over the service in 1908 to provide a more reliable ferry connection with Downtown Vancouver. Soon after, another craft, "North Vancouver Ferry No. 3" was built. In 1936, the "No. 2" was retired and used as a logging camp on the west coast of Vancouver Island until it was destroyed by fire.

In 1938, the Lions' Gate Bridge was completed and took away much business from the ferries, however, there was an increased demand with the onset of World War II because of the shipbuilding boom in North Vancouver. This growth in business spurred the creation of a new ferry, the "North Vancouver Ferry No. 5", in 1941. The "Crosline" was also leased from Washington to meet demands. According to Capt. James Barr, 1943 was the busiest year that North Vancouver Ferries had, ferrying over 7 million passengers across the Burrard Inlet.

The North Vancouver No. 5 was built in Coal Harbour by Boeing Shipyards in 1931. She ran faithfully with her Union Diesel until 1958 when a bridge put her out of service.

The ferries were in major decline by the 1950s. In 1948 the "No. 3" was taken off of regular service and was sold in 1953. The cost of operating the ferries was too high and in 1958 and the last sailing took place on August 30 by the "No. 4" ferry. The "No. 4" was later sold to be used in Prince Rupert and the "No. 5" was converted into the Seven Seas Restaurant at the foot of Lonsdale in North Vancouver. It remained there until 2002 when the City of North Vancouver and the federal courts had it demolished after a long standing dispute who would be responsible if it sank and concern that the hull was in danger of imminent collapse. In dry dock it proved to be quite sound, but at that point the decision had already been made to scrap it and a piece of heritage was lost.

The current ferries began operating the same route in 1977. The SeaBus system was built with money originally slated for a proposed (and quashed) freeway crossing across Burrard Inlet.


* [ History of Metropolitan Vancouver]
* [ MV Burrard Otter facts]
* [ MV Burrard Beaver facts]

Crossings navbox
structure = Crossings
place = Burrard Inlet
bridge = SeaBus
bridge signs =
upstream text = West
upstream = Lions' Gate Bridge
upstream signs =
downstream text = East
downstream = Ironworkers Memorial Second Narrows Crossing
downstream signs =

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • SeaBus — Eine SeaBus Fähre unterwegs in Richtung Vancouver Anleges …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Coast Mountain Bus Company — Parent TransLink Founded April 1, 1999 Headquarters 13401 108th Avenue Surrey, British Columbia Service area Metro Vancouver …   Wikipedia

  • Waterfront Station (Vancouver) — Infobox Vancouver SkyTrain station name = Waterfront Station caption = Waterfront Station first opened = 1977 line = Expo Line, Millennium Line, Canada Line connections = West Coast Express SeaBus 4 Powell 7 Nanaimo Station 8 Fraser 44 UBC 50… …   Wikipedia

  • Istanbul —   City   Top: Topkapı Palace – Hagia Sophia – Blue Mosque Center: Beyoğlu; …   Wikipedia

  • Whitecaps Waterfront Stadium — The Whitecaps Waterfront Stadium is a proposed open air soccer facility in Vancouver, British Columbia that would be privately funded and developed by the Vancouver Whitecaps FC. The proposed location is north of Gastown on the central waterfront …   Wikipedia

  • SkyTrain (Vancouver) — ] [cite web|url= skytrain tunnel.htm|publisher=Vancouver History|title=The SkyTrain Tunnel|accessdate = 2007 06 12] who inaugurated the system at Waterfront Station. The SkyTrain was conceived as a legacy… …   Wikipedia

  • TransLink (Vancouver) — Infobox Government agency agency name = South Coast British Columbia Transportation Authority abbreviation = SCBCTA logo width = 220px logo caption = formed = January 1, 2008 preceding1 = Greater Vancouver Transportation Authority (1999 2007)… …   Wikipedia

  • Yokohama Chinatown — s Goodwill Gate Yokohama …   Wikipedia

  • The Port Service — Infobox Water transit name = Seabass / Yokohama Cruising image caption = Seabass at Port Side Park. locale = Yokohama, Kanagawa, Japan waterway = Port of Yokohama transit type = Seabus, excursion cruise ship lines = 1 water bus line, 3 excursion… …   Wikipedia

  • North Vancouver, British Columbia (city) — This article is about the City of North Vancouver. For the adjacent District of North Vancouver, see North Vancouver, British Columbia (district municipality). For a discussion of the two municipalities, see North Vancouver, British Columbia.… …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.