Did You Know . . .
The Black Ball Line, a subsidiary of Black Ball Ferry line, pioneered the revolutionary development of “next day” delivery virtually everywhere in the world?
Black Ball Ferry Line provides the only daily, year-round vehicle and passenger ferry service
between downtown Victoria, British Columbia and downtown Port Angeles, gateway to the
Olympic Peninsula and Washington State.
The international company is headquartered in Victoria, employing more than 90 people during
the peak season at its two terminals.
The 90-minute (22.59 nautical mile / 42km) journey is handled by the company’s vessel, the M.V. Coho, named after the magnificent silver salmon found in the waters of British Columbia and
In 2009, Black Ball Ferry Line will celebrate its 50th anniversary of service as a vital tourism and
transportation link between Vancouver Island and the United States. Every year the company
transports approximately 400,000 passengers (accounting for 60 per cent of the total ferry
visitors to Victoria’s Inner Harbour).
The ferry line’s beginnings date back to 1959, when the company’s founders R.J. and Lois
Acheson contracted Philip F. Spaulding & Associates of Seattle to design M.V. Coho. Her keel
was laid January 12, 1959, at the Puget Sound Bridge & Dry dock in Seattle. She made her first
commercial sailing to Victoria on December 29, 1959.
Initially, the M.V. Coho not only serviced the Port Angeles to Victoria vehicle and passenger
route, but also carried freight trucks between Seattle, Port Angeles, Port Townsend and Victoria
for Black Ball Freight Service. That service ended in 1973.
Since operations began in 1959, the M.V. Coho has transported more than 21 million passengers
and five million vehicles.
The Black Ball Ferry Line is proud to say that it has never cancelled a crossing in its 50 years of
operation. The reason behind this enviable record is the commitment of every member of fleet to
delivering reliable, enjoyable service.
last updated: November 19, 2008