Travel advisory: Multiple advisories in effect. Check before you travel.View ×
- All Routes Status - View details
- Cancelled Sailings - Northern Adventure - Prince Rupert - Skidegate - April 24-29, 2022 - View details
- Temporary Langdale Terminal Berth Closure for Maintenance April 25 - 28, 2022 - View details
- Alternate Service - Northern Sea Wolf Refit - April 4 - May 18, 2022 - View details
- Service Adjustments - Horseshoe Bay - Departure Bay, Horseshoe Bay - Langdale & Earls Cove to Saltery Bay - January 28 - June 22 2022 - View details
- Parkade Closure - Horseshoe Bay Terminal - View details
About this ferry
The Quinsam provides regular ferry service between Nanaimo Harbour and Gabriola Island (Descanso Bay).
As part of our ongoing commitment to safety, operational guidelines call for regular and frequent safety drills for all crew members on every ferry.
Over 1,000 drills will be conducted this year to ensure the highest safety standards for our ferries and crews.
In the event of an emergency, always follow the instructions of ferry’s personnel.
Important: in the case of an emergency, vehicle access may be prohibited.
The following signals are used to crew members to an emergency:
Continuous ringing of the alarm bell.
- Person overboard
Three long soundings of the whistle and general alarm bell. Keep outer decks clear where rescue operations are underway.
- Boat/Raft stations
Seven (or more) short soundings, followed by one long sounding of the ferry’s general alarm and/or whistle.
Signals will be followed by an announcement explaining the nature of the emergency. If you hear a signal, don’t panic. Our crew will take immediate charge of the situation and clearly explain exactly what to do.
If the ferry needs to be evacuated, inflatable slides, similar to those used for passenger aircraft, can be deployed by crew members from the main car deck.
Using the same basic principles as playground slides, and looking much like them, the inflatable slides are easy for all passengers to use by sliding quickly down to a life raft.
- There are four life rafts, two capable of carrying 150 passengers each, and two capable of carrying 75 passengers each
- In total, the life rafts can accommodate more people than the maximum the ferry can carry
Should there ever be a need to evacuate the ferry, crew members will direct you to an evacuation area.
This ferry carries one six-person rescue boat on Deck 3 to assist with emergencies, for towing life rafts, and to help passengers to safety.
Life jackets are stowed in clearly marked lockers on Deck 2, in the lounges adjacent to the evacuation stations.
Three sizes of life jackets are available:
- One for infants less than 33 pounds (15 kg)
- One for children up to 90 pounds (41 kg)
- One for adults
In the unlikely event of an emergency, crew members will instruct you on the proper use of your life jacket.
Fire extinguishers are located in all interior passenger areas, plus:
- Manual pull stations throughout the ferry
- Fire monitors
- CO2 flood systems in machinery spaces and generator spaces
This ferry meets all Canadian stability requirements including the TP 10943 (SOLAS ’90 (Safety of Life at Sea)) damage stability standards for two compartment damage.
The hull is subdivided into eleven watertight compartments. Watertight integrity is monitored continuously from the bridge. All watertight opening and hatches are inspected, tested and serviced annually.
Monitoring for safety
This ferry has video cameras installed, allowing the bridge and engineering crew to continuously monitor all areas of the ferry and remotely activate safety systems quickly. The crew also maintains regular inspection rounds of the ferry during the sailing.
View schedule for the route between Nanaimo Harbour and Gabriola Island (Descanso Bay)
Back to our ferries
The information on this page applies to the Quinsam only. Locations and complement of safety equipment on other ferries will vary.
Important: Ferries are periodically modified. BC Ferries does not accept any responsibility or liability for any errors in the information provided.
- Built 1982
- Overall length (m) 89.84
- Maximum displacement (t) 1431.0
- Car capacity 63
- Passenger & crew capacity 400
- Maximum speed (knots) 10.0
- Horsepower 2601
To ensure a safe and comfortable journey for all passengers, BC Ferries provides a variety of accessibility options, including discounted passenger fares, assistance getting on and off the ferry, and wheelchairs to borrow for boarding.
The Quinsam has accessible car deck lounges and washrooms on board.
If you use a wheelchair, let the agent at the ticket booth know when you arrive, and we will do our best to arrange for you to park as close as possible to the accessible washrooms.
Assistance in an emergency
If you would require assistance in the event of an emergency, inform the ticket agent at the terminal and a crew member on the ferry.
Learn more about BC Ferries accessibility.