Kootenay Lake Ferry Service Improvements - New Vessel

A new electric-ready vessel to replace the aging MV Balfour will begin service in 2023.

B.C. company Western Pacific Marine Ltd. (WPM) has been awarded the contract to design and build the new vessel. Assembly of the new vessel begin in summer 2021, at WPM’s site in Nelson.

Artist's rendering of the new Kootenay Lake ferry

Artist's rendering of the new vessel

Right-sized for Kootenay Lake

The new 55-car vessel will be simple, robust, and economical, ideally suited for to meet the demands of the winter off-peak season and help significantly decrease sailing waits during the summer peak season.

Since demand for ferry service on Kootenay Lake varies widely over the year, the larger MV Osprey 2000, with a capacity of 80 vehicles, isn’t needed during winter months when demand is lower. The new vessel would provide reliable and more efficient service during the winter off-peak season. The MV Osprey 2000 would continue to be most efficient during spring and fall ‘shoulder seasons’, and both vessels would operate during the busiest summer peak season.

An electric-ready ferry

In line with the Province’s aim to electrify 100% of its inland ferry fleet by 2040, the new vessel will be built with all the systems, equipment, and components for electric propulsion alongside diesel engines. By 2030, once shore power is in place and the technology has been tested for reliable daily use, a full conversion will be made from diesel to electric propulsion.

What to expect onboard

The new vessel will include a passenger lounge, a snack counter, accessible washrooms, and viewing areas – all the same features available on the MV Osprey 2000.