Route Services

  • BC Ferries operates a scheduled ferry service between Nanaimo (Departure Bay Ferry Terminal) and Horseshoe Bay in West Vancouver.
  • Departure Bay is located 4 km north of downtown Nanaimo on Vancouver Island.
  • Horseshoe Bay is located 25 km northwest of downtown Vancouver on the BC mainland.
  • Vehicles and Passengers
  • Distance: 30 nautical miles
  • Sailing Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
  • Sailings: 8 daily round trip sailings between Nanaimo and Horseshoe Bay
  • Reservations are available for this route, but some of the sailings may not be reservable.
  • Ticket sales at Departure Bay will end 5 minutes before the scheduled sailing time for vehicles and 10 minutes before for walk-on passengers. At Horseshoe Bay only, ticket sales for vehicles and walk-on passengers will end 10 minutes before the scheduled sailing time.

A scheduled ferry service connecting Vancouver with Vancouver Island also operates between Tsawwassen, south of Vancouver, and Swartz Bay, north of Victoria. To reduce travelling time, travellers visiting points in Central and North Vancouver Island from Vancouver should cross from the mainland to one of the two Nanaimo terminals (Departure Bay and Duke Point) in preference to arriving on Vancouver Island at the Swartz Bay Terminal.

Community Information

Map of British Columbia Ferry RoutesClick on the map to view a large scale map of the Pacific Northwest Ferry Routes, or view BC Ferries’ map of Ferry Routes in BC (PDF format). Make vehicle reservations and check current ferry schedules, ferry fares, capacity conditions at major ferry terminals, and the departure and arrival status of current sailings directly on the BC Ferries website.

BC Ferries Schedule for this Route

Island Hopping
Travelling between the Southern Gulf Islands and Northern Gulf Islands can be accomplished in small hops. Each of these islands is a world unto itself, each with its own history, culture and colourful characters – each island deserves at least a day or two for exploring.