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SeaBus boosts service with three vessels for the Games

SeaBus boosts service with three vessels for the Games

A SeaBus seen through the window of the newest SeaBus.
A SeaBus seen through the window of the newest SeaBus.

On Monday, SeaBus started its extended hours for the Olympics!

(For visitors who may not know, SeaBus is our ferry service between downtown Vancouver and North Vancouver — yes, our public transit system involves boats!)

The biggest change for the service is 10-minute service using three SeaBuses, every day from 10 a.m. to half-past midnight. It’s a big change because for 33 years, SeaBus has only offered 15-minute service with its two existing vessels. Last year, however, a new SeaBus was built (the Burrard Pacific Breeze!) and is now joining in to boost service for the Olympic period.

I went down to see how everyone was doing with the new timing, and Chris, a supervisor of service delivery, said everyone was adjusting just fine, even though it’s the first time SeaBus has ever changed its scheduled sailings during its lifetime. (Can you believe it?)

And here’s a few more photos and tidbits from behind-the-scenes at SeaBus.

The Burrard Pacific Breeze in the maintenance dock in North Vancouver, waiting to start service at 10 a.m..
The Burrard Pacific Breeze in the maintenance dock in North Vancouver, waiting to start service at 10 a.m..

With all three SeaBuses in action, the SeaBus can now carry more passengers overall during the Games—although each SeaBus is limited to only 399 riders per boat, in accordance with Transport Canada rules. (Taking 400 passengers or more would mean the boats would be reclassified by Transport Canada, and major safety modifications would need to be made to each vessel.)

And passengers are counted using the turnstiles, if you’re curious!

A SeaBus engine in the workshop.
A SeaBus engine in the workshop.

We went around the SeaBus offices, and Chris pointed out the work of the engineers, who help keep SeaBus going by constantly keeping the engines working and more. “It’s like a car that you take out every day, except you do it for thirty years,” said Chris.

Coors Light ads in the north SeaBus terminal at Lonsdale Quay.
Coors Light ads in the north SeaBus terminal at Lonsdale Quay.

In the north SeaBus terminal, you can see that Coors Light has wrapped the station in their ads. It kind of matches the sunlight coming in this photo.

I asked if they had noticed anything different with SeaBus since the Olympics had started. Chris said that since the Canada Line opened, many more people with luggage have shown up on SeaBus, and more tourists are of course coming.

For the Games, it will be especially busy owing to those headed south to the Olympic celebrations in downtown Vancouver, and those headed north to Lonsdale Quay, connecting with the Olympic bus network to get to Cypress Mountain.

In the wheelhouse of the SeaBus!
In the wheelhouse of the SeaBus!

The newest SeaBus, the Burrard Pacific Breeze, joined the two older SeaBuses in service at 10 a.m. I went up to the wheelhouse for the first journey—that’s the room where the captain and first mate sail the ship. (Four staff can be found on every SeaBus—in addition to the captain and first mate, two marine attendants are down below with the passengers.)

Interestingly enough, the SeaBuses take a diagonal route between the two terminals, to minimize the wake, the waves that they create behind them. The wake can have a rocking effect on nearby vessels, and so care is taken to keep the SeaBus’s wake low.

The tiny wake of the new SeaBus.
The tiny wake of the new SeaBus.

However, the Burrard Pacific Breeze was designed to minimize its wake, so it can sail at faster speeds without creating big waves! Look at the small trail left behind!

The (fake) owl at the north SeaBus terminal at Lonsdale Quay.
The (fake) owl at the north SeaBus terminal at Lonsdale Quay.

Here’s a few assorted photos to finish of this post. There’s a fake owl installed at the north SeaBus terminal to keep away the pigeons! Apparently it works very well.

A model of the Burrard Pacific Breeze!
A model of the Burrard Pacific Breeze!

I spotted this model of the Burrard Pacific Breeze in the SeaBus administration offices! Victoria Shipyards had it made for SeaBus.

Olympic rings in Burrard Inlet.
Olympic rings in Burrard Inlet.

We also spotted Olympic rings in Burrard Inlet, which apparently light up at night.

OK, that’s it for now – I’ll catch up with SeaBus again during the Games, to see how things are going!