There are two types of ferry using the harbour. The larger ones serve the vehicle and passenger market on international routes to Seattle, Port Angeles directly south of Victoria, and various ports in the U.S. San Juan Islands. It is this activity, more than any other that make Victoria a port of entry and necessitates the presence of Canada Border Security Agency as well as their US counterparts working in the harbour.
Although not connected in any way with the other ferries, there are Victoria Harbour ferries which carry up to 12 passengers and which can be seen moving local residents among various points on the harbour’s edge and conducting tours of the harbour for visitors. There are more than 12 of these vessels, whose schedules call for them to be moving on the water almost continuously in daylight hours.
Floatplanes operated by three companies connect Victoria with both Vancouver Harbour and the Fraser River near Vancouver International Airport. For those who can afford it, the flight from harbour to harbour takes some 35 minutes, compared to at least three hours by road and ferry. For this reason, there is a steady flow of passengers both ways, mostly government or business persons.
In the winter season, some 60 to 70 arrivals or departures occur daily and this figure approaches 100 in the summer season. Such is the activity rate of the floatplanes that despite its small size, a portion of the harbour is designated as a water airport, and a mandatory traffic separation scheme is in effect to keep surface craft out of the way.
A passenger helicopter service operating from leased land at Ogden Point shares the airspace, providing some 14 flights daily to Vancouver Harbour, and Vancouver Airport.
Canadian Coast Guard helicopters operate from their base facility located just inside the harbour entrance.