Ferries' spokeswoman Debra Marshall said it's believed the Queen of Nanaimo did not run aground when the incident occurred at about 10:45 a.m. on Saturday, but that divers would conduct an assessment to confirm that information.
However, Marshall said that as the ferry carrying 22 crew members and two passengers was backing out, it struck a private float, which sustained some damage.
"What the captain and crew did was they followed our emergency procedures and they deployed both the anchors, and that was to keep the ship from being set on to shore," she said.
Tug boats will pull the vessel back to Long Harbour, its home terminal, on Salt Spring Island.
Marshall said about 200 passengers typically board the mid-sized ferry on Saturday mornings at this time of year but most customers didn't take the trip because the Tsawwassen leg of the journey was cancelled due to the weather.
The Queen of Nanaimo sails between Tsawwassen and the Gulf Islands.
Weather conditions also contributed to two sailing cancellations of the Queen of New Westminster, from Tsawwassen and Nanaimo, on Saturday afternoon.
The 12:45 p.m. sailing of the Coastal Inspiration from the Duke Point terminal in Nanaimo was delayed until 2 p.m.