The Inland Ferry Osprey 2000

by Rick Howie and John MacFarlane 2018

Osprey 2000

The Osprey 2000 (Photo from the Rick Howie collection.)

In 2000 she was built as a passenger car ferry built at Nelson BC by Kootenay Ferry Builders. 76.50m x 23.40m x 5.03m steel hulled 1780gt 584rt She was powered by 4–954kw diesel engines. She was launched on July 1, 2000 and went into ferry service on August 26 of the same year. The Osprey 2000 normally operates the main service, and carries a maximum of 80 vehicles and 250 passengers. She replaced the Anscombe which operated for 50 years and ultimately sank in the lake closer to the community of Kaslo.

The Osprey 2000 is operated by Western Pacific Marine Ltd. that operates a number of ferries in British Columbia. Its parent company is Harbour Cruises Ltd. (formerly Harbour Ferries Ltd.) The company presently manages the Barnston Island/Port Kells Ferry and Kootenay Lake Ferry for the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure. They also manage the Lasqueti/French Creek and Port McNeil/Alert Bay ferries for the B.C. Ferry Corporation.


The location of the ferry.

Balfour Ferry Dock

The Ferry Dock at Balfour BC. (Photo from the Rick Howie collection.)

The route operates on Kootenay Lake between Balfour BC, on the west side of the lake, and Kootenay Bay BC, on the east side. The route is claimed to be the longest free scenic ferry in the world. Two vessels are used in this service, the Osprey 2000 and the Balfour. The passage is 8km which takes approximately 35 minutes to travel one way and the scenery is magnificent.

Businesses at both terminals provide food and souvenirs as well as other services for tourists travelling the route. Some of the services are well–renowned attractions that cause the locals to make the ferry ride just to visit the businesses. There are some interesting anecdotes from the ferry’s short history. On August 12, 2012, a lady jumped from the ship mid–lake but was successfully rescued by an alert crew using on–board zodiacs to complete the rescue. Her motive for jumping was never determined. On April 14, 2017, there was a "catastrophic failure" of one of the 4 propulsion units while the Osprey 2000 was in operation. Some 4–500 litres of gear oil was spilled into Kootenay Lake near the Balfour ferry dock. Clean–up was apparently successful as no damage to aquatic wildlife was noted. Co–author Rick Howie (a Registered Professional Biologist) was at the terminal in October of 2017 and did not detect any residual presence of oil.

The website of the International Selkirk Loop states:

"Kootenay Lake is the delimiter between the Mountain and Pacific time zones. While crossing from one zone to another would usually mean having to change your watch, when daylight savings time is in effect you don’t need to, as the east shore of Kootenay Lake to Creston doesn’t ever change it’s time – it’s on Mountain Standard Time year–round. Mountain Standard Time is the same as Pacific Daylight Time."

To quote from this article please cite:

Howie, Rick and John MacFarlane (2018) The Inland Ferry Osprey 2000. 2018.

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