BC Ferries route 1 Tsawwassen - Swartz Bay

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Route 1: Tsawwassen - Swartz Bay
Type of Route Major
Terminals Tsawwassen
Swartz Bay
Vessels based out of Tsawwassen Spirit of British Columbia
Queen of New Westminster*
Vessels based out Swartz Bay Spirit of Vancouver Island
Coastal Celebration**
** (Secondary vessel used year round on certain days in off season and daily in peak season, back up & relief for Spirit Class)
Sailing takes 95 minutes
First and last sailing for all vessels 6 am (Summer season daily except Sunday)
7 am (Year round)
8 am (Summer Sundays from both terminals, daily Winter break, off - season from Swartz Bay)
6 pm (Tsawwassen during off season)
8 pm (Monday to Thursday and Saturday)
9 pm (Year round)
10 pm (Summer season Sundays)
11:59 pm (Swartz Bay during the Summer Season Fridays)
* Both terminals except while note
** Year round are main vessels on the route

Route 1 is a ferry runs that is under contract from Province of British Columbia to BC Ferries. This is major route in BC Ferries route network.

Route details

The single bridge vessels dock bow in at Tsawwassen Terminal and stern in at Swartz Bay Terminal.

The route sails through Straight Of Georgia before entering Active Pass and after exiting the vessels sail through Salish Sea. The vessels have different routing when approaching and departing Swartz Bay Terminal because they have different aspects that are not good for certain berths at Swartz Bay.

Points of interests

  • Tsawwassen Terminal
  • Active Pass
  • Swartz Bay Terminal.

Number of sailings

  • Early fall, and Late Spring: 12 - 16 sailings depends on the day *
  • Winter: 8 sailings (Monday-Thursday, Saturday), 10 sailings (Friday, and Sunday) *
  • Winter break and Spring break 8 - 16 sailings **
  • Summer: 16 sailings (Saturday thru Thursday) 18 sailings (Friday)
  • * More sailings may occur on select days
  • **Most sailings occur daily except December 25, and January 1

How to determine the vessel for the sailing?

The Spirit Class are odd number hours from both terminal. Queen of New Westminster and Coastal Celebration is even numbers hours from the terminals.


This route was original started by BC Ferries with two vessels, Tsawwassen and Sidney in 1960. This route grew fast that two addition vessels where ordered for delivery in 1962 and another two vessels where order delivery 1963 with four service on route. The vessels on route where Victoria Class. In order to keep up with capacity the vessels where length between 1969 to 1972 and between 1981 and 1982 these vessels had addition car deck expand capacity to on the route. Queen of Alberni which could carry 144 was added to route between 1976 to 1985 as truck ferry as fifth boat. Queen of Alberni vessel had major incident on route in active pass. In 1993 Spirit of British Columbia which allowed the Queen of Esquimalt freed up and in 1994 Spirit of Vancouver Island which allowed the Queen of Victoria to be freed up. The vessels servicing the route between 1994 to 2009 where both the Spirit Class, Queen of Vancouver and Queen of Saanich. In 2008 Queen of Saanich was retired, in 2009 Queen of Vancouver was retired which resulted in one new ferry, Coastal Celebration, the upgraded Queen of New Westminster taking over the route. As 2009 to present day, excluding off peak season between 2013 and 2019, including winter break, the route is still serviced by both Spirit Class vessels, Coastal Celebration and Queen of New Westminster. As cost cutting BC Ferries in off peak months, excluding Winter break, Coastal Renaissance would take over role of main vessel out of Tsawwassen between 2013 and 2018, while Coastal Celebration would take over role main vessels out Swartz Bay between 2013 and 2019 while Spirit of Vancouver Island would be secondary vessel on Fridays and Sundays.

Future of route

A single new major vessel replace the Queen of New Westminster on the route.