Bowen ferry to be replaced by a fleet of kayaks

This is just the start of BC Ferries new green seas plan.

It’s time to start practicing your sweeps, draws and spin maneuvers.

In an extraordinary measure to cut greenhouse gas emissions, BC Ferries is replacing the Queen of Capilano with a fleet of 500 kayaks. The transition is to start May 1.

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While this pilot project affects just Bowen, BC Ferries hopes to roll out the program to all its minor routes in B.C.

“It’s obviously not a solution for our major runs between Vancouver Island and the mainland, but Bowen is a perfectly kayakable distance for most people,” explained a BC Ferries spokesperson Monday.

Howe Sound.
As BC Ferries will no longer need to pay for fuel, use of the kayaks will be free, though accompanied by a two-hour limit on crossings. Life jackets will be mandatory. - Bronwyn Beairsto/Bowen Island Undercurrent

Kayaking the 5 km distance, a roughly hour-and-a-half paddle, will be an unwelcome change for many commuters but BC Ferries noted at some point the environment has to come before convenience.

“We realize this’ll be a big adjustment for many islanders but we need drastic carbon solutions,” said the ferries spokesperson. “Boweners have been asking for an electric ferry for some time now. We’re doing them one better.”

BC Ferries sent out a call for kayak instructors Monday. The organization will fund a series of 10 kayak lessons for each islander over the age of 12 and under the age of 75. Young children can either go in tandem kayaks with their parents or parents can get passes for the water taxi service that will run every three hours for those unable to kayak the crossing.

While there will still be one car service ferry in each direction every day, it will be reserved for supply runs for local businesses.

The Queen of Capilano will be drydocked but kept ready for emergencies or for seas too rough for kayaks.

BC Ferries’ announcement came in the wake of TransLink announcing that it is replacing half of its bus fleet with bicycles built for 20.

Of course none of this is true. Happy April Fools!


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