VICTORIA -- A Vancouver Island couple got engaged aboard a BC Ferries vessel shortly before Christmas after enduring years of distance apart between Vancouver Island and the mainland.

The couple, Ashly Gait and Jaydon Boughen, would joke that there were "sharks between them" as they boarded ferries back and forth for nearly two years.

The love story began in 2017 when the British Columbians met by chance when they were on separate trips to Iceland. 

"She was gorgeous," Boughen told CTV News. "I'm not as good-looking, as you can tell."

"But, we sort of just had some harmless flirtation by text and FaceTime for a month before we decided to meet in person again."

Gait was living in Duncan at the time, while Boughen was working in Chilliwack. "We saw each other and it was kind of awkward," joked Boughen. "It was the first time seeing each other in 30 days."

But, the couple said that their relationship was meant to be and that sparks started flying right away, making the weekly trips bearable.

"We could tell right away that we were kind of bound to match and we could tell right away that we had the same type of drive personally and professionally," said Boughen. "It was just a match made in heaven." 

After spending months upon months alternating ferry trips to and from the island, Boughen thought it would be fitting to pop the question aboard a vessel that facilitated their many reunions. 

In December, after Boughen had moved to Vancouver Island, he marched straight to the BC Ferries office on Yates Street and asked for a customer service staff member who may be able to help him with his clandestine proposal plan. 

The request apparently raised a few eyebrows before someone from the office met with him about his request. "She [the staff member] was unbelievably excited about the whole process," Boughen said.

Soon, arrangements were made for Boughen and Gait to take a private tour of a BC Ferries bridge during a sailing on Dec. 21. To keep things under wraps, Boughen told Gait that he had won a tour of the ferry through a competition at work.

"I was actually very nervous and kept the ring in a bag in my pocket because I thought I would lose it," he said.

Once the couple was on the ferry's bridge and had taken a look around, Boughen popped the million-dollar question, and a nearly speechless Gait gave a resounding yes. 

The experience was captured on camera by BC Ferries crew members, who Boughen said were excited and supportive throughout the whole process.

"The chief steward on the boat, all of the crew, they were all so awesome," he said. "They shook our hands and gave us advice and wisdom and all the information we ever wanted on the boat."

After making countless trips to and from the mainland to visit one another, Boughen says that BC Ferries perhaps has gained an unfair reputation from some passengers. 

"There's lots of bad attention for BC Ferries, but what I kind of see is that lots of people have similar stories," he said. After speaking with other ferry-goers on his frequent trips, he says that many people have said BC Ferries has been accommodating of emergencies or unique situations. 

Exactly one month after the proposal was made, Boughen says he never expected the story to gain so much traction. But, he thanks the community for their support. "Overwhelmingly, everyone has been welcoming and supportive," he said.

The couple, now living together on Vancouver Island, is planning to tie the knot in August 2020.