B.C.'s 1st saltwater cable ferry celebrates one year of service

B.C.'s first saltwater cable ferry celebrated one year on the water this month, but its first year was not entirely a smooth sailing. 

The Baynes Sound Connector runs from Buckley Bay to Denman Island. It was introduced last winter as an eco-friendly and cost-effective addition to the BC Ferries fleet.

With a crossing of nearly 1,900 metres, it's the longest cable ferry in the world. 

"The Baynes Sound Connector has certainly met and exceeded our expectations," Capt. Jamie Marshall, BC Ferries' vice-president of fleet operations, said in a press release.

According to BC Ferries, the 50-car ferry made more than 10,200 sailings and carried nearly a quarter of a million vehicles in its first year.

The Crown corporation says the new ferry also used 50 per cent less fuel than its predecessor, the Quinitsa —  cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 480 tonnes of carbon dioxide.

Last August, the crew took less than 12 minutes to rescue a swimmer in distress.

It wasn't the only time the ferry geared up to help. According to BC Ferries, the Baynes Sound Connector made 54 extra sailings to aid the British Columbia Ambulance Service.

While BC Ferries says the ferry is on time 97.6 per cent of the time, that's not to say it's always been smooth sailing. Hydraulic failure stranded the cable ferry twice this spring. 

Residents were initially concerned the ferry would impact local marine traffic — no other boats are allowed to pass in front or behind the ferry during the entire 10 minutes it takes the it takes to make the crossing. Red lights at both terminals signal to boaters when they need to stop.