MILL BAY – BRENTWOOD BAY FERRY
As of August 24, masks are required to be worn at all times at terminals and on board vessels.
Driving ‘up-island’ on the Malahat is one of the most scenic drives on the island. I would certainly recommend driving north from Victoria up the Malahat to whatever destination you have planned … but if you want something different on the way back, you might try taking the Mill Bay Ferry which runs from the community of Mill Bay (just before the southern section of the Malahat) across Saanich Inlet to the community of Brentwood Bay and then down to Victoria from there. The ferry is small and only carries a maximum of 19 vehicles, so plan your trip and get to the dock early. Reservations are not available on this route.
In fact, the Brentwood Bay-Mill Bay ferry is described as the ‘Island’s Most Beautiful Shortcut’ and holds the distinction of being the oldest ferry link on BC’s coast.
History of The Malahat Drive
‘The Malahat’ is the term commonly applied to the Malahat Drive, a 25 km (15.5 mi) portion of the Trans Canada Highway #1 running along the west side of Saanich Inlet and to the region surrounding it. The road was first cut as a cattle trail in 1861, and was then upgraded to wagon road standards in 1884. It became a paved road in 1911. Its name comes from the Malahat First Nation, whose ancestors used the caves for spiritual enhancement.The Malahat Drive climbs to a summit of 356 m (1,156 ft), and the mountain is considered one of the most sacred sites on southern Vancouver Island.
THE MILL BAY FERRY
MV Klitsa is the vessel used on the Brentwood Bay to Mill Bay route and can carry 19* vehicles (approximately) and 150 passengers and crew, and its maximum speed is 9 knots (17 km/h). The MV Klitsa does not have very many amenities, but she does have restrooms for passengers but they are not accessible to handicapped persons.
*Automobile Equivalent (AEQ) is used to determine vessel capacity based on a standard vehicle measure of 6.1 x 2.6 meters, roughly equal to a full size family vehicle.
Click this link for the Mill Bay Ferry Schedule
Due to COVID-19, this schedule may change. PLEASE MONITOR SERVICE NOTICES.
Click the link for the Mill Bay Ferry Fares
Hot Tip: You can also buy discounted tickets for this ferry route at Thrifty Food’s in Saanichton, Sidney and Mill Bay and also at the Shell gas station in Mill Bay. Savings are 40% off the regular ticket fare at the ferry.
Where can I pre purchase ferry tickets in Brentwood bay
I don’t believe you can pre-book on this ferry. It’s a small ferry and operates on a first-come/first-serve basis. It runs about (more or less) every hour. You can check the schedule here: http://www.bcferries.com/schedules/mainland/bbmb-current.php
You can pre-purchase discounted ferry tickets at Thrifty’s grocery stores in Sydney (for Brentwood ferry) and Mill Bay for that ferry, and use credit cards. It should be noted that you can’t use credit cards to purchase when you’re actually on the ferry. It’s advisable to have cash.
Thanks! Good info!
Thanks so much for this info on where to buy the prepaid paper ticket for Brentwood bay because I was surprised that the BC Ferry web side dose not say where you can buy the cheaper paper ticket…
Just came across your comment section. Tickets to the ferry can also be purchased at a discount from Thrifty’s in Saanichton and the Shell station. Handy for the locals living close to Brentwood Bay. If you are a BC resident and a senior and go Mon-Thursday, you ride free, you just pay for your car.
Thanks David … I have just up-dated the post to reflect that. I knew about it but had forgotten so I really appreciate the reminder! Cheers! linda
Question? Is there way of finding out how full the Mill Bay ferry is at any time? Can we find out full the Mill Bay ferry is?
Hi Ruth, As far as I know there is no way of finding out about the amount of space left on the Mill Bay Ferry at any given time. If anyone out there knows differently, I’d love to know!
Does anyone know if you can use your prepaid ferry cards for this route….
Hi, Nope … not on the Mill Bay ferry.
how much is a book of tickets for the Brentwood bay ferry crossing to Millbay at the thrify store
Hi Sherlyn, Please contact Thrifty’s directly for the most up-to-date price. I would hate to give you the wrong amount as things can change without my knowledge.
Hello is there places to.leave car and walknon mill bay ferry ?
As of right now I believe there is not a spot to park. As far as I know the ferry terminal and lands surrounding it are on First Nations reserve land with only access to the ferry. I am planning on driving out there in the near future and surveying the situation first hand tho, so will have a better answer soon – and will add it to the post.
The ferry does not have a capacity of 16 cars, its 21, even tho BCFS says 19 AQS.
Hi Alanna, I got this info from the BC Ferry website. How have you come by this information? I have ammended the listing to say 16 cars (approximately) as of course a lot depends on the size of vehicles loaded. If you can give me a link to more up-to-date info, please do!
Go to BC ferry website, under fleet, bottom left of the main page, click on Klitsa, she is rated for 19 AEQ, I take it often, ( pre covid ) on average able to get 20-22 cars, if there is no Van’s or trucks.
Thanks Mike, I have up-dated the information!
Go to the bc ferry website under fleet, the klista has a car carrying capacity of 19 AQE but can fit 20ish cars.
Is there vehicle parking on the Brentwood Bay side?
Hi, There is very limited street parking but I don’t know if there’s limits on how long you can park. Of course once you get to the other side you’ll need a ride somewhere as there’s nothing ‘walking-close’ by.
Any idea how busy the ferry is from Brentwood Bay to Mill bay on Sundays? Most likely would be taking the last one at 5:55pm.
I’m sorry but I have no idea about that. I imagine that it varies a lot as it can depend on weather (not as many sightseers in questionable weather!) among other things. You might try contacting BC Ferries … but not sure they’d have an answer for you either.
Sorry I couldn’t be more help!
Hi! I just noticed that you can choose a webcam to see various terminal loading ares (an idea of how busy they are) Go to
BCferries…your chosen route… ‘Service notices’ and see ‘Webcam’…
Looks like that’s only for major terminals, not Mill Bay or Brentwood Bay unfortunately.
Great for the big terminals though!
Is a 3 ton moving truck allowed on the ferry from Brentwood to Mill Bay?
Seniors are free Monday thru Thursday, does this mean that we still pay for the car?
Hi Judee, I believe that is correct. But to make absolutely sure please contact BC Ferries directly.
Can you use an experience card on the Mill Bay Ferry? Thanks
Hi, I believe the answer is ‘no’ … but better to call BC Ferries to get the difinitive answer. Cheers!
Can you catch the island Link bus at Mill Bsy to go to Nanaimo? Thanks in advance
Yes, it appears so. Here is a link to their site: https://www.islandlinkbus.com/