News, views, opinions and reviews from Van Isle Marina, one of the largest full service marinas in British Columbia.

Easy and Delicious Make-Ahead Boating Meals

Most of us have an arsenal of easy and delicious meals to make in our kitchens at home. But what about on the boat? Here are a few make-ahead meals to bring out on the boat for a quick dinner with limited supplies! Cooking while at sea is part of the adventure. Prepare for your voyage as if you were camping in the woods: space is limited, as are fuel and refrigeration, so planning ahead is critical. In a galley kitchen, you will be lucky to get two burners on the stove, let alone an oven or a microwave. A tiny sink will give you barely enough room to wash a cup–large pots and pans will act as washbasins by themselves–so plan your menus accordingly. Here are a few recipes that, whether you are on a fishing boat or a yacht, will ensure that your crew gets a tasty, nourishing meal without a lot of prep or cleanup time.

Chipotle Style Chicken Burrito Bowls

  • Make the chicken and rice ahead of time – it tastes better cold!
  • Purchase pre-shredded cheese and canned or jarred salsa for topping.
  • Feel free to add or subtract any ingredients you want – this bowl is good no matter what is in it.

Crunchy Thai Quinoa 

  • Make the quinoa (or chow mein noodles if you prefer) ahead to time so they are cooled and ready.
  • I use soy Peanut Butter but this recipe would be just as delicious with the real thing.
  • Purchase bagged broccoli slaw with carrot to save some time.
  • Add chicken for some added protein
  • Serve cold or at room temperature

BLT Balsamic, Chicken, Avocado & Feta Salad

  • Fry bacon, cook chicken and make salad dressing ahead of time.
  • Grad a baguette or your favorite bread for sopping up the delicious dressing.

Chicken Marbella

  • This meal freezes incredibly well, make it ahead of time and throw it in the oven when you’re ready.
  • Serve with rice, pasta or by itself.
  • Prunes and capers might seem like an odd combination, when cooked together with chicken they create a delectable sweet and sour, savory flavor.

Best Ever Quinoa Chili

  • You simply cannot go wrong with chili, add ground turkey or take out the quinoa, whatever you prefer!
  • This recipe is much better made in advance so the flavours can really mix.
  • Add avocado, sour cream or cheese on top.
  • Serve with bread or on it’s own.

Food (and beverages!) are arguably the most important part of packing for a boat trip, whether you will be gone for a day or a month. Whether you head out on a day trip or are out for a week, there are a number of easy recipes that can be prepped at home and simply assembled when you are ready for them at sea. What are some of your favorite recipes to bring out on the boat?

Five Features: NEW Van Isle Marina Website

In celebration of the release of our fresh new website, we have put together a list of features that perhaps you didn’t know you could do on the Van Isle Marina website:

  1. Wondering how to get to Van Isle Marina? From the location tab, you are able to simply enter your starting address, hit ‘Get Directions’, and it will automatically figure out the best route.
  2. Curious about other businesses in the area? Under the Marina Services tab, there is a Local Business Directory, with everything from Taxis to Golf Courses.
  3. Check out your boat with our marina webcams. Under the Media tab, choose Web Cams. All the images are updated each minute and show various angles of the marina.
  4. Find out the local weather. Scroll to the bottom of any page to see a real time forecast for Sidney, BC.
  5. Interested in which boats the Van Isle Marina Yacht Sales team has listed? Click the Yacht Sales tab and browse our Pre-Owned, Riviera, Back Cove, Belize and Boathouse listings.

We hope you enjoy using our new site! Facebook, tweet or comment below with any features you think we should add!

Top Ten Tips for Boating and Marina Etiquette

Boating, as a recreational sport, has been around for over 300 years. During this time many customs and traditions have been developed; traditions that, over generations, have become the unwritten rules of the road. Just like being on land, we need to be good neighbours; help others when they need it, tidy up after ourselves and be respectful of the people and environment around us.

  1. Watch Your Wake: You’re responsible for making sure that your wake isn’t causing harm to your fellow boaters. Not only can big wakes in small, crowded places be dangerous, it’s a definite way to anger your neighbours. Be sure to respect the wake rules to keep marine life and everyone else on the water safe and sound.
  2. Lend a hand: While there is almost always a Van Isle Marina employee nearby to help, you should be prepared to help your fellow boaters. This unwritten boating law will say a lot about what kind of boater you are and will be really helpful to those in need of an extra hand.
  3. Respect your neighbours: If you have blasting music and lots of loud friends on board, be courteous to others on the water and leave plenty of space.
  4. Always stop to help, if you see someone in trouble.
  5. Keep it tidy: No matter if you’re at the marina or anchorage, be sure to clean up your space and pick up all of your trash, dock lines, and equipment. Your neighbours and local animals will appreciate a clean, hazard-free space.
  6. Move along: Whether you’re on a fuel dock or boating ramp, be efficient. Delegate tasks and be prepared so that you can get out of the way of others and out on the water. Our Fuel Dock staff are there to help you get on and off the dock in safe, timely manner.
  7. Turn off your Radar: Ensure if it’s not being used that you turn all your radar equipment off. Radar waves can be harmful to anyone who is exposed to them.
  8. Select your anchorage carefully: giving yourselves and your new neighbours ample room. Remember winds change, anchors line tangle and hulls and dinghy’s can easily bang into each other.
  9. If you use the head, use your head: ensure that it goes into your holding tank, not overboard.
  10. Be thoughtful at night; don’t run your generator around the clock, paddle rather than motor to shore and back and be conscious of your activity and noise levels.

Whether underway, anchoring, mooring, docking at a marina or cruising with friends, as in most aspects of life, respect and courtesy go a long way! Being part of the boating community means knowing and following good etiquette. When you know the common expectations that have developed over centuries of boating, it will help make your experience a positive one for everyone on board.

Riviera 445 SUV Arriving April 1 to Van Isle Marina

Coming April 1 to the Yacht Sales Dock at Van Isle Marina in Sidney, BC…

“Discover the Adventurous Spirit” of the Riviera 445 SUV with IPS

Twin Volvo IPS 600

Two Stateroom, Two Head Layout

Cockpit Joystick Control

Teak Cockpit Floor

High Gloss Cherry Interior

Two 15″ Garmin Navigation Displays

Single Level Entertaining

Sidney Family Day Weekend – A Lego Brick Festival

Van Isle Marina is a proud sponsor of the Sidney Family Days ‐ a LEGO Brick Festival happening February 11th, 12th and 13th, 2017 from 10 am to 4 pm. For the fifth consecutive year, downtown Sidney businesses are gearing up for another Family Day weekend of LEGO based events.

Sidney restaurants and businesses will be open to welcome families. The theme this year is AGRICULTURE and back once again is Robin Sather, Canada’s only certified LEGO professional. This year Robin will build an amazing 6-foot tractor.

Saturday the fun will start with the launch of the LEGO brick scavenger hunt throughout downtown Sidney. Maps will be available at the Sidney Museum and participating merchants for avid hunters to start their quest. The Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea will have underwater LEGO and VicLUG will have an intricate display of LEGO creations at the Sidney Pier Hotel all weekend. The Star Cinema will be showing the LEGO Move 2 during the weekend as well!

On Sunday, Feb 12 & Monday, Feb 13, The Mary Winspear Centre hosts professional LEGO builder Robin Sather who will be constructing a 6 foot LEGO tractor. Don’t forget to do your part and help build a large LEGO mosaic sponsored by Peninsula Co-op. The Mary Winspear Centre will also have LEGO play areas for all ages, and a community open house where families can learn about the activities available to family and youth in the Sidney area. Panorama Recreation will be hosting a Kids Zone including face painting, LEGO bowling, mural colouring and an appearance by Slider the Penguin! New this year McTavish Academy of Art will be hosting a children’s art workshop.

So take the children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews of all ages out to explore Sidney in search of exciting LEGO displays, and enter your completed treasure map at the Sidney Museum for a chance to win a wonderful prize. Watch for draw boxes and door prize opportunities for fabulous LEGO prizes all weekend.

Click here to visit the official Sidney Family Day Weekend Facebook page for more information!

Seattle Boat Show Attempts to Set Two Guinness World Records

The Seattle Boat Show (Jan. 27 – Feb. 4) is attempting to set TWO Guinness World Records during the show this year. One for the most origami fish on display in a single location and one for the largest knot tying lesson, and anyone can participate.

From stand up paddle boards to super yachts and everything in between the Seattle Boat Show features 1,000 recreational watercraft and more than 400 exhibitors. There are more than three acres of the latest innovations and accessories, technology and boating gear on display indoors, plus 100 world-class yachts in their natural habitat on South Lake Union. There are two locations –indoors at Century Link Field Event Center and on the water at South Lake Union. A free shuttle runs between both locations. There are more than 200 free seminars during the nine days of the show and advanced training classes for a fee through Boat Show University. For a complete list of exhibitors, seminars, travel package and ticket prices, please visit Purchase tickets online and receive $3 weekend parking compliments of BECU.

Guinness World Record for the Largest Display of Origami Fish

The goal to set the record is 1,500 fish. Since it won’t be as easy as shooting fish in a barrel, the show has partnered with Bellevue Children’s Academy and its sister school, Willows Preparatory School. The students have been putting their origami skills to the test and folding fish to get the challenge started. Their creations will be on display when the show opens.

See the fish created by students at Bellevue Children’s Academy and Willows Preparatory School, and check on the progress towards the goal of 1,500 fish. Or, while at the show pick up some origami paper and make origami fish onsite.

An origami instructor will be giving instruction for all ages and skill levels on the following days:
• Saturday, Jan. 28: 10:30 am-4:00 pm
• Sunday, Jan. 29: 10:30 am-4:00 pm
• Saturday, Feb. 4: 10:30 am-4:00 pm

The results will be announced at 10 am on Saturday, Feb. 4.

Guinness World Record Attempt for Largest Knot Tying Lesson

Knot just for seasoned boaters, landlubbers too can participate in the second Guinness World Record attempt. Participants will learn three knots from Lisa Vizzini, a certified sailing instructor and co-owner of Port Townsend Rigging. Rope is provided and the first 500 participants will receive free admission to the show and a free Seattle Boat Show hat. Details and directions for admission can be found at:



Van Isle Marina is Dog Friendly

van-isle-marina-is-dog-friendly-blog-graphicIf you enjoy boating, there’s no reason not to take your best friend with you.  After all, dogs love going places with their owners! Van Isle Marina is dog friendly and our staff enjoy handing out treats to your pooch, so stop by the Office and the Fuel Dock.  We also have a few dog toys for sale at the Fuel Dock.

As we know, dogs need their time on land!  Tsehum Harbour Park is only a few minutes’ walk from the marina, located on Resthaven Drive.  It is not a completely fenced area but a great large open field with lots of room for your dog to run around.  Worth checking out! van-isle-marina-dog-walk-map

If you are looking for a quick pit stop, check out the perfect green space located behind the Yacht Park.  Here is a map that shows access to the dog area from the top of D dock. Don’t forget your poop bags!  Poop bag shortage?  No worries we have poop bags located at the top of D Dock.

Van Isle Marina Staff Summer 2016 Highlights


The sun is setting on Summer 2016 and as a team we are reflecting on some of our favourite moments.

Dana Leyda: Moorage & Fuel Dock Manager

Dana couldn’t decide between her two favorite moments from this summer. The first was her birthday weekend cruising the West Coast aboard her and her husband Mike’s 34 Riviera, Contender. The weather forecast was looking bleak but through a birthday miracle, the sun came out and it turned into one for the books! Another memory that stood out was the outstanding prawning she did in the San Juan Islands with family and friends. san-juan-prawnswest-coast-cruising

Cameron Williams: Yacht Sales

Cameron spoke fondly of a night spent over in Otter Bay Marina on Pender Island with his family. Located on the west side of North Pender Island east of the ferry terminal, Otter Bay provides a bistro and groceries, heated pool, scooter and kayak rentals, boat launch and local arts and gifts.

Greg Dickinson: Vice President

Greg’s favorite moment from this summer was a week long trip on the boat at Hornby Island with his wife and 3 year old son. They spent the days in Tribune Bay which is nicknamed “Little Hawaii”. The white sandy beaches of Tribune Bay stretch endlessly out to meet an aquamarine sea. Boasting close to 1 km of fine white sand beach, the south-facing Tribune Bay is easily one of the most spectacular on the east side of Vancouver Island. Here, shallow waters meet near tropical temperatures during the summer and the bay is considered to be one of the warmest salt water swimming areas in BC. tribune-bay

Tom Campbell: Yacht Sales

Tom spent an unforgettable weekend at Newcastle Island, off of Nanaimo, on the boat with his family. This was the highlight of his summer adventures. Visitors to Newcastle Island can choose from an extensive network of walking/hiking trails that lead to various historic points around the island. Indian middens offer mute evidence of at least two Salish First Nations villages, which were deserted before the discovery of coal in this area in 1849. Subsequent decades saw the island’s fortunes rise and fall as it went through various incarnations while supporting a fish-salting operation, a sandstone quarry and a shipyard.

Cara Triconi: Human Resources & Business Development Manager

Cara and her family were blown away by the fireworks display at Butchart Gardens this summer. All ten summer Saturday nights throughout the summer feature a jaw-dropping, dazzling Firework show with both aerial and ground displays choreographed to music. Their Firework shows began in 1977 and continue to be one of The Gardens’ most popular draws.


Places to Visit in the Southern Gulf Islands Before Summer’s End

Gulf Islands to VisitBritish Columbia’s beautiful Gulf Islands are the most visited region on the BC coast. Made up of over a dozen large islands, the Southern Gulf Islands are interspersed with a multitude of islets too numerous to count. Every island has its’ own unique flavour. Visitors to the Islands are always struck by their natural beauty: quiet roads where you will meet more deer or otter than motorists, vast stretches of uninterrupted shoreline with quaint lighthouses; stands of Arbutus, Douglas Fir and Garry Oak; beaches and vast ocean parks. And you don’t have to take our word for it, National Geographic Traveler named the Gulf Islands one of the world’s best coastal destination.

Salt Spring Island: Salt Spring Island is the largest of the Southern Gulf Islands and the one with the most varied facilities. At Salt Spring’s hub is the bustling village of Ganges with supermarkets, stores, galleries, banks, and a wide selection of restaurants and pubs with evening entertainment. Ganges is also famous for its gigantic Saturday farmers’ market – a cornucopia of food, fabric, arts and music spilling across the downtown park.

Gabriola Island: The most northern of the Gulf Islands, Gabriola’s sheltered west side is a popular anchorage and an option other than Nanaimo’s lively waterfront. Make sure to check out the Malaspina Galleries, which are beautiful wave-like sandstone formations that were created by millennia of water erosion. Silva Bay Resort and Pages Resort offer berths and every type of comfort. Explore land and sea with dive charters, fishing charters, kayak rentals or golf in seaside splendor at Gabriola Golf and Country Club.

Galiano Island: This island is home to several natural parks and recreation areas, and is ideal for active adventurers. Dionisio Point Provincial Park is a popular place to swim, hike and explore tide pools. Enjoy fine West Coast cuisine at Galiano Oceanfront Inn and Spa or French homestyle dining at Le Berengerie. Montague Harbour offers a snug anchorage and incredible sunsets.

Pender Island: Bring your hiking boots to this island; visitors can enjoy a challenging shore-to-sky hiking experience up to the summit of Mount Norman and be rewarded by  panoramic views of the islands. Bring a kayak to Princess Margaret (Portland Island) and paddle the  tranquil coves. Stop for lunch at Arbutus Point or Princess Bay, then make your way to close-by Russell Island.

Mayne Island: From the sea, this gem looks uninhabited, except for the sea lions. Sheltered coves and warm water beaches break its abrupt coastline. Swimmers will appreciate the warm waters of Campbell and Piggott bays, and hikers will enjoy the short but steep trek up to the viewpoint at Mount Parke and the trail to Campbell Point, overlooking Georgeson Island. You will also discover a vibrant farming community at the Mayne Island Saturday Farmer’s Market.

Thetis Island: Although small and with only 350 residents, Thetis Island has two excellent destination marinas, one with a pub and another with fresh foods and baked items. Its unique shoreline is perfect for kayaking and circumnavigation in a day is possible. The island has several hikes and a circular road system that is ideal for biking. Pilkey Point on the northeast tip of Thetis is a popular place to picnic and swim on a summer evening, while watching the sunset.

Simple Tips for Docking Your Boat Like a Pro

Pulling into a marina without knowing exactly how to maneuver your boat is one of life’s least pleasant experiences. Guests of Van Isle Marina are able to simply give a call to our Front Desk or Fuel Dock to request some assistance but not every marina functions this way! By using these tips, everyone from a rookie to an old salt, can learn to dock like a pro.

  1. Mind the wind: If it’s blowing from the pier, approach at a steep angle, using reverse gear and prop torque to swing the stern toward the dock. If it’s blowing toward the dock, plan to come “alongside” a boat width or more away, allowing the wind to push you all the way home.
  2. Go slowly: This one goes without saying. The so-called cardinal rule of docking a boat is “Never approach the pier any faster than you’re willing to hit it”. Just in case, always approach solid objects slowing enough that if your docking job turns into a ramming, the results won’t be tragic.
  3. Reduce the sail area: Particularly on a small boat, this can have a dramatic effect on how easy or how hard it is to dock. A Bimini top or an enclosure can act like a sail on a powerboat, and throw you off.
  4. Never kill the engines until all the lines are secure: Many people who don’t know how to dock a boat well make the mistake of shutting down as soon as the boat is in the slip, but you never know if a crew member is going to drop his or her line(s), or when a piling will slip out of reach.
  5. Always look before you leap: Even if you have backed into your slip 100 times before. The biggest issue here is mooring lines. If any lines of yours or a neighboring slip fell into the water, current could stretch it out across your path. Tangle a mooring line in your propeller, and that docking job will go south in a hurry.
  6. Learn the pivot point: An outboard or stern drive will steer from the stern, while many inboards will steer from a point forward of the transom. Learn your boat’s pivot point to determine your turning ability in tight quarters.
  7. Don’t be afraid to try again: This is especially important for sailboats, single-screw inboards, and other boats with a limited ability to maneuver. If the approach doesn’t seem to be going well don’t worry about having to circle back for another try.
  8. Always turn the wheel before applying power: Not during – or after- that way, you won’t get a blast of forward or reverse before the blast of the port or starboard kicks in.
  9. Short bursts instead of steady power: This allows you to maneuver the boat without building up a lot of momentum, which can quickly get out of control.

Practice makes perfect: Much like when you practiced driving a car in an empty parking lot, nothing makes you more confident than repetitive practice!