BC Ferries route 5 Swartz Bay - Southern Gulf Islands

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Route 5: Swartz Bay - Southern Gulf Islands
Route 5a: Swartz Bay - Southern Gulf Islands

Type of Route Minor
Terminals Swartz Bay
Otter Bay
Village Bay
Lyall Harbour
Sturdies Bay
Long Habrour Fridays only
Vessel based out of Swartz Bay on route 5 Queen of Cumberland
Refit replacement Salish Raven or Salish Eagle
Vessel based out of Swartz Bay on route 5a Mayne Queen
Refit replacement Queen of Cumberland
Sailing takes Varies
First and last sailing from Swartz Bay Can very based on day and season check the schedule
First and last sailing from Southern Gulf Island Can very based on day and season check the schedule

Route 5 is a ferry runs that is under contract and receives subsidy from Province of British Columbia to BC Ferries. This is minor route in BC Ferries route network.

Route details

The vessels depart and arrive through the channel between Pier Island, Knapp Island and Portland Island to Salish. The vessels service Otter Bay Pender Islands, Village Bay Mayne Island, Lyall Harbour Saturna Island, Sturdies Bay Galiano Island. Some sailing on these routes require transfer at certain Islands to reach the island that you where going too.

BC Ferries has through fare program that allows customers to reach the Southern Gulf Island to or from Tsawwassen via Tsawwassen - Swartz Bay which only requires one fare paid for both routes.

Points of Interest

  • Swartz Bay
  • Southern Gulf Island
  • Active Pass

Number of sailings

  • Varies on day and Island serviced.

How to determine the vessel for the sailing?

Varies on day.


This route started in 1923 with Canadian Pacific Motor Princess with irregular service to Southern Gulf Island. In 1930 regular service to Gulf Island with Gulf Island Ferry Company from Swartz Bay. In 1951 Motor Princess started regular service to Southern Gulf Islands which stayed as primary boat until 1965. In 1965 BC Ferries wanted a new vessel to service Swartz Bay to Southern Gulf Island which was named the Mayne Queen which was primary vessel through out the year. Pender Queen was used as secondary vessel until 1971. In 1979 all Island had roll on and roll off ramps at terminals for each island. In period of 1971 to 1992 there where many secondary vessels on route. In 1992 Queen of Cumberland was made primary vessel on route year round and Mayne Queen was made primary vessel on route 5a during the peak season between 1992 and 1997. There was secondary vessel during off peak season which was either the Tenaka from 1992 to 1994 and Tachek from 1994 to 1997. In 1997 BC Ferries decided to put Mayne Queen on route 5a year round. In 2016, the Salish Class become the temporarily vessel replacement for Queen of Cumberland which could have been moved to route 4 or replacing Mayne Queen.


In the spring of 2022 a new schedule will be lunched with introduction of Salish Class vessel taking over the role of Queen of Cumberland. Queen of Cumberland while be taking over the role on route 5a to retire the Mayne Queen.