Named after the fastest ships under sail, Clipper Navigation Inc. was founded in 1986. The company operates the popular Victoria Clipper high-speed passenger-only ferry service between downtown Victoria’s Inner Harbour and downtown Seattle. Each of the Clippers in the fleet of three high-speed catamarans typically completes a one-way trip in less than three hours. The most recent member of the fleet, Clipper IV, is one of the fastest passenger vessels in the western hemisphere.
As Clipper Navigation grew it launched Clipper Vacations to provide its passengers with hotel and tour packages, not just in Victoria and Seattle, but in Vancouver, Friday Harbor, Portland, Oregon, Whistler, British Columbia, the Canadian Rockies, Kelowna, and the many spas and fishing resorts on Vancouver Island. The Clipper fleet also serves Friday Harbour in the San Juan Islands.
From 1997 through 1999 Clipper Navigation operated the Princess Marguerite III, a car ferry between Seattle and Victoria. She was named after Victoria’s favourite steamship, Princess Marguerite II. Operation was discontinued due to the extremely high costs associated with the six hour trip between ports. Currently, there is no car service between Seattle and Victoria. The primary choice for passengers with cars destined for Washington state is either the MV Coho ferry out the Inner Harbour or the Washington State Ferry from Anacortes, Washington to Sidney, British Columbia, about 30 minutes from Victoria. Clipper Vacations can book passengers who wish to take the Coho in conjunction with a hotel stay.
Between 2005 and 2006, Clipper Navigation operated the Mosquito Fleet out of Everett, Washington. This boat was the primary whale watching service in Friday Harbor. Its operation was ceased at the end of 2006, however. Gray and orca whale watching is still available with the Victoria Clipper out of Seattle.