WaterBridge Fabrication Inc. (formerly known as WaterBridge Steel Inc.) is owned and operated by John Harding. Since 1976, John has been in the business of designing, building, and operating car, truck, and passenger ferries that serve British Columbia's interior lakes. The WaterBridge Fabrication team specializes in building vessels in remote sites, under difficult environmental conditions, and with limited access to industrial infrastructure. John has over 25 years of ship building experience building numerous vessels for industry and government with his current company, WaterBridge Fabrication Inc, and his previous company, Finlay Navigation.
The WaterBridge Fabrication construction team has some of the most talented steel fabricators and marine building experts in the province. Lead by John Harding personally, each project meets or exceeds its customer's expectations in all aspects. No project is too big or too small for this team of professionals. Our facilities are lakeside in beautiful Nakusp, BC.
In June of 2012, WaterBridge Fabrication Inc. (then WaterBridge Steel Inc.) was awarded a contract by the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure to design and build an 80-car commercial ferry to run on the Shelter Bay to Galena Bay route on Arrow Lake in the Central Kootenays. The ferry replaced two existing smaller vessels that reached the end of their life-cycles.
The new vessel, the MV Columbia, is 320 feet long, 64 feet wide, and weighs approximately 2.5 million pounds (1100 Metric Tons).
The MV Columbia was designed and built over a period of approximately 24 months on the shores of Upper Arrow Lake in the picturesque village of Nakusp, BC. It was formally delivered to the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure and went into service on June 26, 2014.
WaterBridge Fabrication Inc has one sister company, WaterBridge Equipment Inc, that operates the MV Francois Forester on Francois Lake, BC, on behalf of the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure. Click here to learn more about WaterBridge Equipment Inc and the Francois Lake Ferry.
John has assembled a leadership team that consists of a Business Development and Project Manager, a Fleet Mechanical Manager, a Human Resources Business Partner, and Master Captain Certified Marine Managers. This seasoned and dedicated team help guide the business daily and have tremendous pride in what they do.
In November of 2023, John Harding sold WaterBridge Ferries Inc, which operates the MV Columbia and three cable ferries in the Central Kootenays, to Marinus Goossen. Click here to learn more about WaterBridge Ferries Inc and the vessels it operates on the Arrow Lakes.
Finlay Navigation commenced operations in 1968 as a marine towing business operating tugs and barges on the man-made Williston Lake in north central British Columbia. It was a progressive, well-equipped, and profitable marine company. Following the purchase of the company by John Harding in 1976, the business grew steadily to include the design, construction, and operation of car and truck ferries serving customers on several interior lakes. John owned and operated Finlay Navigation from 1976 to 2000.
With the sale of Finlay Navigation Ltd in 2000, John Harding directed his talents toward solving the transportation problems identified by the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure at Francois Lake. The increasing logging volumes resulting from the mountain pine beetle infestation in the area were leading to delays and congestion on the government's existing ferry, the "Omineca Princess". John's solution was to build a larger ferry which would be designed, built, and operated by WaterBridge Equipment Inc. This suggestion led to the privatized service, and the construction of a new ferry, the "MV Francois Forester". WaterBridge Equipment Inc operated the Omineca Princess while the MV Francois Forester was being constructed.