Transport Canada has assessed the safety of both types of vertical chute Marine Evacuation Systems used by BC Ferries and has confirmed that both systems are safe for use by all passengers, including infants (babies-in-arms). Extensive testing of BC Ferries’ chute systems was conducted following possible concerns raised by the Union about the suitability of the systems for infants, elderly and severely disabled passengers. On October 6, 2003, RFD Beaufort conducted tests in Northern Ireland in the presence of Transport Canada representatives
on the Marin Ark chute system to demonstrate the system’s ability to safely evacuate children under five years and the severely disabled. The Marin Ark chute system is installed on the Queen of Coquitlam. In addition to the RFD chute tests, similar tests of the DBC chute system were witnessed by Transport Canada representatives on October 2, 2003 in Richmond, B.C. The DBC chute system is installed on the Spirits of British Columbia and Vancouver Island, and the Queens of Capilano, Cumberland and Burnaby. In order to expedite the evacuation of all passengers in emergency situations, alternate means of evacuation for severely disabled passengers confined to wheelchairs will supplement the chute systems.