VANCOUVER - Dozens of people aboard a whale watching boat in the Georgia Strait off Vancouver needed to be rescued Tuesday.

Zoe Ward with Wild Whales Vancouver says 33 passengers were on board their vessel when the engine malfunctioned, setting off a call for help.

Lt. Tony Wright from the Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre says it received a mayday call from the vessel Jing Yu at about 11:45 a.m.

Wright says the centre's hovercraft and another ship were dispatched, but a BC Ferries vessel and Royal Canadian Navy patrol craft were first on the scene.

He says the Jing Yu's operators managed to put an engine fire out and the hovercraft transferred the passengers back to shore.

No one was hurt, and Wright says Wild Whales Vancouver is sending out another boat to tow the damaged vessel back to Vancouver.

Ward says those onboard will be getting a refund.