Inland ferry makes a splash

Largest inland ferry every built in B.C. to replace old Upper Arrow Lake vessel in Nakusp

  • Aug. 4, 2013 1:00 p.m.

Travellers crossing Upper Arrow Lake are one step closer to having a new ferry, following the launch of the hull for a new vessel in Nakusp last Sunday.

The launch represents a significant milestone in the project, which is the largest inland ferry ever built in B.C.

Construction of the vessel is on time and on budget. It is scheduled to be put into service between Galena Bay and Shelter Bay in May 2014.

“This is an important milestone for the new Upper Arrow Lake ferry,” said Todd Stone, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure.

“Aside from providing safe and reliable transportation to travellers in the area, this project is providing good jobs for skilled trades people right here in British Columbia.”

With the hull now in the water, WaterBridge Steel in Nakusp will build the superstructure and install the vessel’s equipment and systems. The ferry is expected to be ready for speed and endurance trials and manoeuvring tests by February 2014. The final step will be Transport Canada certification next spring.

Aside from improved fuel efficiency and reduced emissions, the new Upper Arrow Lake ferry incorporates enhanced maintenance technology that will result in a high level of reliability. The vessel is designed to enable underwater visual inspections, eliminating the requirement to lift the vessel out of the water every five years for an inspection. The vessel’s equipment and systems will be fully serviced from the car deck or inside the vessel.

The new drive-on, drive-off ferry will replace two 40-year-old vessels and with a capacity to transport 80 vehicles and 250 passengers. The vessel will have wider lanes and improved ramp transitions for faster loading and unloading. The sailing time is 20 minutes.

“WaterBridge is proud of the fact that the new Upper Arrow Lake ferry will incorporate the most efficient, state-of-the-art engines and propulsion equipment,” said WaterBridge Steel president and CEO John Harding.

“We are, however, most proud of the abilities demonstrated by our supervisors and crews who have been drawn from across B.C. to the community of Nakusp to successfully construct the largest inland ferry ever built in B.C.”