BC Ferries + Port of Vancouver, Whales in our Waters Tutorial

“Through the Whales in our Waters tutorial, Julie perfectly captured the importance of collaboration in our collective efforts to better understand and mitigate the impacts of marine shipping on endangered whales in our region.  She and her team creatively adapted our content into engaging, interactive animations that really brought the information to life and resulted in a fantastic user experience.  Julie is highly organized and provided a very professional, warm and personalized approach.  We wouldn’t hesitate to work with her again.”  

Orla Robinson, ECHO Program Manager, Vancouver Fraser Port Authority

The Clients

BC Ferries

BC Ferries is one of the largest ferry operators in the world, providing service on 25 routes to 47 terminals with a fleet of 35 vessels.  BC Ferries is an essential transportation link that connects coastal communities and facilitates the movement of people, goods and services.

Vancouver Fraser Port Authority (Port of Vancouver)

Located on the southwest coast of British Columbia, the Port of Vancouver extends from Roberts Bank and the Fraser River up to and including Burrard Inlet. The Vancouver Fraser Port Authority is the federal agency responsible for the stewardship of the lands and waters that make up the Port of Vancouver, Canada’s largest port, and has a mandate to enable Canada’s trade through the Port of Vancouver, while protecting the environment and considering local communities. The Vancouver Fraser Port Authority-led Enhancing Cetacean Habitat and Observation (ECHO) Program brings together the marine transportation industry, Indigenous individuals, conservation and environmental groups, scientists and technical experts, and government agencies to better understand how to reduce the cumulative effects of marine shipping on at-risk whales throughout the southern coast of British Columbia. 

The Learning Need: BC Ferries approached Knowledge Solutions with a unique learning need to educate mariners to protect the waters in which they work.  With the decline in the population of the Southern Resident Killer Whale, BC Ferries saw a need to educate mariners on identifying, reporting and tactics to employ when in the presence of cetacean species (whales, dolphins and porpoises) that frequent the waters they transit.  The Vancouver Fraser Port Authority and Ocean Wise also identified with this need and became key partners in this initiative.

The Solution

The “Whales in our Waters” Tutorial was developed with the objective of educating mariners on the important role they play in helping to reduce impacts to at-risk whales in Pacific Northwest coastal waters.  The free online tutorial takes approximately 90 minutes to complete and offers five learning modules which include local whale species, tips for identifying their unique characteristics, as well as how to safely navigate your vessel in their presence.  The tutorial is available for BC Ferries employees through the SEA LMS and also publicly available on the Echo Program Learn site at https://echolearn.portvancouver.com/.

The project team included a diverse and knowledgeable group of stakeholders and partners.  Knowledge Solutions was responsible for the project management and acted as lead instructional design and development of the tutorial.  We partnered with Emily Walker and Pathwise Solutions for the visual design and technical build using Articulate Software.  The tutorial is a rich multimedia experience, leveraging educational photos, illustrations, multimedia, and simulations. 

In the news…

The course is now in use at BC Ferries, the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority as well as Washington State Ferries.  More information can be found in this news article: