LONGEST - Free ferry ride in the world - Kootenay Lake, British Columbia
Posted by: wildwoodke
N 49° 40.505 W 116° 52.365
11U E 509180 N 5502513
Quick Description: The Kootenay Lake Ferry between Kootenay Bay and Balfour is the longest free ferry ride in the world.
Location: British Columbia, Canada
Date Posted: 7/10/2007 11:52:14 AM
Waymark Code: WM1V26
The Kootenay Lake Ferry is the longest free ferry in North America. The lake crossing is serviced by two ferries:
M.V. OSPREY 2000 CAPACITY: 80 Vehicles – 250 passengers
M.V. BALFOUR CAPACITY: 28 Vehicles – 150 passengers (SUMMER ONLY)
Kootenay Lake Ferry
ROUTE: Across Kootenay Lake, 35 kilometres east of Nelson on Highway 3A, between Balfour (west side) and Kootenay Bay (east side), 70 kilometres from Creston on Highway 3A.
The M.V. Osprey 2000 sails from Balfour, 6:30 a.m. – 9:40 p.m. and from Kootenay Bay, 7:10 a.m. – 10:20 p.m.
SUMMER: (June 14 to September 5, 2007)
In addition to the above M.V. Osprey 2000 schedule, the seasonal vessel M.V. Balfour provides daily extra service on the route from Balfour 10:40 a.m. to 5:20 p.m., and from Kootenay Bay 11:30 a.m. to 6:10 p.m.
There are two vessels, the Osprey 2000, which is a large capacity ferry built locally in Nelson in, yes, you guessed it, 2000, and the smaller MV Balfour, which is added to the schedule during the high traffic season and when the Osprey 2000 is out of service for maintenance. Both vessels can easily accommodate RV's and vehicles of all sizes. If you have propane you will be required to close the valves on your tanks for the duration of the crossing, unless of course it is the primary fuel for your vehicle.
They ferry you between Kootenay Bay and Balfour and take approximately 35 minutes to make the crossing, though when you add boarding and departure time you can add another 10-15 minutes on top of that. The Osprey 2000 has a snack bar where you can get a snack, coffee and hot meal. There is no food service available on the MV Balfour.
Be aware that if you arrive just before the ferry is scheduled to leave you may not get on if the traffic is heavy, and during peak periods in the summer you may have a wait of a sailing or more. When traffic is heavy the ferries ignore the schedule and unload, reload and depart as quickly as they can in order to keep your wait as short as possible. Not to worry if you should have to wait awhile, as both Kootenay Bay and Balfour are beautiful spots with sandy beaches, restaurants and rest stops. Take the opportunity to stretch your legs, catch a bite to eat and mingle with the locals and other travellers.