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Pros and cons of chartering your yacht

Chartering Your Yacht

Understanding the Pros and Cons of Chartering Your Yacht

 

Picture this scenario – you have just returned home from your very first outing on your brand new luxury motor yacht. While on holiday, you enjoyed a two-week, fun-filled vacation cruise down to California.

Returning home feeling refreshed and rejuvenated, you look forward to the next chance you have to take out your yacht again, only to realize that the next opportunity you have to escape is still weeks or months away.

In the meantime, your yacht goes unused and un-enjoyed, when in fact it could be making you money while being well-maintained as part of a chartered fleet.

If this sounds appealing to you, read on to learn more about yacht chartering and to see if entering your yacht into a chartered yacht fleet could be a possibility for you.

What Does It Mean to Charter Your Yacht?

Chartering your yacht, or enrolling in a yacht charter income program, refers to private boat owners making their yachts available to others to rent out while they are not using them. This is typically done through a yacht charter company.

Companies typically ask their chartered boat owners to make the boat available for a minimum of ten weeks a year. Owners can reserve or block off time in advance for their own use, and earn about 60% of the income generated by the charter company.

Boat Owner Responsibilitieschartering your boat costs - moorage

When chartering your yacht, you as a boat owner are responsible for:

  • Paying for moorage and insurance
  • Paying for all routine and required maintenance costs
  • Ensuring your boat is moored at the home of the charter company, as needed
  • Providing all required safety equipment in good working order as mandated by Transport Canada
  • Providing dinnerware, stemware, and cooking utensils for the galley

Charter Company Responsibilities

When your vessel is in a charter company’s hands, they are responsible for:

  • Paying for promoting and selling time on your boat
  • Providing fresh linens and bedding
  • Screening all new clients and showing them around
  • Inspecting, cleaning, fuelling, and restocking the boat once returned

Yacht Criteria

Not all yachts are eligible for chartering. Before considering if chartering your yacht is right for you, consider the following criteria. If you have yet to purchase your yacht and are planning to rely on chartering to offset yacht ownership costs, check with the chartering company first to see what types of vessels they are accepting.

The majority of yacht charter businesses are looking for vessels that:

  • Are a well-known, highly sought after make or model
  • Are no more than five years old (with exceptions!)
  • Are in immaculate condition
  • Are equipped with a reliable engine or solid sails
  • Are equipped with a motorized dinghy or tender
  • Have a well-equipped galley
  • Are in the 40 to 54-foot length range
  • Have 3 double cabins and more than one head (bathroom)
  • Vessels that are slightly smaller or larger than the 40 to 54-foot range may still be accepted, depending on their condition, amenities, and make and model.
  • Yachts that can sleep more than one couple, for example, a 33’ or 34’ boat that has a double bed and toilet ensuite, with another single or double bunk, are also sometimes accepted, based on need.

So, if your yacht, or the yacht you’re thinking of buying, meets the criteria above, it’s time to consider the pros and cons of chartering.

Pros of Chartering Your Yacht

Offsets the Costs of Owning a Boat

While chartering your yacht won’t be a huge income generator, a successful chartering season will likely bring in enough to cover dockage, routine maintenance, and insurance fees. This works out to be a 30 to 70% reduction in operating expenses, which can make a significant difference.  If you’ve been on the fence about buying a luxury motor yacht due to your budget, there are two main things you can do to mitigate the cost of boat ownership:

  • Find an older boat or yacht to renovate; or
  • Charter your motor yacht through a reputable yacht charterer.

Chartering is considerably less work than renovating an old boat, and comes with added perks such as:

Gentle Use is a Good Thing 

Boats benefit from getting a little bit of exercise out on the water. Although it sounds counterintuitive, a yacht that doesn’t get used much tends to have more issues than one that is used routinely. The reason is because fuel lingering in tanks isn’t good, and the boat doesn’t get much air circulation when it’s sealed up in storage. On the other hand, when you have your yacht in a charter program, it typically means nothing will seize up or mold out on you.

Regular Cleaning and Maintenance Routinechartering your yacht requires maintenance

Having your yacht in a charter fleet is a great way to ensure it will get professionally maintained, as they typically have a stricter maintenance schedule. These regular servicing appointments will serve you well into the future after your yacht “ages out” of the fleet. As for cleanliness, the charter company staff will ensure your yacht is cleaned and made up for the next guests after every charter.

Marketing Your Boat 

Having your yacht out in a charter will give your boat a higher profile within the yachting community. This will help with re-sale, as the more people who become familiar with your boat and get to experience it, the better. We have found that a lot of prospective buyers of motor yachts are looking to buy because they have had a good experience using a chartered yacht previously.

Sharing is Caring

Sharing the beauty of your yacht with others can be a bit of an ego boost for proud yacht owners, providing a psychological benefit on top of the financial benefit. If you’ve gone to great lengths to customize your yacht, you’ll certainly appreciate everyone’s rave reviews on your style and taste. The effect is similar to homeowners who rent their homes on AirBnB.

Tax Advantages 

If you work closely with an accountant, you might be able to write off some expenses as business expenses associated with chartering, or otherwise receive tax benefits.

Cons of Chartering Your Yacht

Strangers on Your Yacht

While the charter company screens guests, you’ll still end up having strangers on board your boat. This certainly doesn’t appeal to all yacht owners. If you don’t think you’d be able to handle strangers occupying your home on the water, chartering might not work out for you.

Not Being Able to Stow Your Own Stuff 

When lending your yacht to a chartered fleet, you’ll be required to remove the majority of your personal belongings, including clothing, towels, toiletries, and groceries. This means having to pack these things back onto the boat each time you want to use it.

Insurance Fees May Go Up 

You’ll likely need to increase the amount of insurance you have on your boat, depending on how often you’ll be chartering your boat for. The price increase could be modest, but it could be substantial, so just be aware.

Increased Usage 

With increased usage comes a small amount of wear and tear. Some wear and tear can be a good thing (see point above about keeping the boat exercised), while some wear and tear isn’t beneficial. For example, chartering puts more hours on the engine, and if your yacht has carpets, these will likely need some TLC after a few seasons of chartering. Fortunately, revenues generated by your charter experience will likely far outweigh the cost of said wear and tear.

To Charter, or Not to Charter?

The pros and cons of chartering your yacht can be complex, as they will be unique to your situation, location, and style of boat you own. After weighing the pros and cons, only you can say for certain whether or not chartering your yacht makes sense for you and your situation. If you’re on the fence, don’t hesitate to interview several charter companies to find the right fit.

 

If you have any questions about chartering your yacht, or about yacht ownership in general, we’d love to hear from you – simply contact us with any questions you might have.

We can also help you find the perfect boat that would also be suitable for chartering. See what boats we have for sale at our sales dock right now. At Van Isle Marina, our brokers are here to help you navigate the world of luxury yachting.

best nature spots on vancouver island

Best Nature Spots on Vancouver Island

Top Nature Destinations from South to North Vancouver Island

A haven for natural wonders, Vancouver Island has so many incredible places to experience. Depending on whether you’re looking for a day trip or a multi-day exploration, a coastal or an inland excursion, we’ve created a list of nature spots that you might not hear about every day. Teeming with wildlife, these tend to be quieter since they’re just a bit more off the beaten path.  Whether you hike, bike, meander, spelunk, dive, or paddle, there’s something here for everyone, from ancient rainforest to magnificent sandy beaches.

Mystic Beach, Vancouver Island, BC

Mystic Beach

An hour and a half from Victoria, Mystic Beach is one of the most scenic beaches along the Strait of Juan de Fuca. At the end of a short 2 km rainforest trail with a suspension bridge, Mystic is home to sandstone cliffs topped by cedar and fir trees. A waterfall from the cliffs makes its way into every traveller’s photo and a rope swing dares visitors to swing into the ocean below. Time your visit with the low tide so you can walk under the waterfall and explore the galleries and tidepools.

Avatar Grove, Vancouver Island, BCAvatar Grove

Visit Avatar Grove along the Gordon River, and you’ll leave feeling humbled. Walk amongst the giants in this stand of protected cedars and firs. Just 20 minutes from the small community of Port Renfrew, Avatar Grove is a 50-hectare area of old-growth forest. It’s home to newly famous trees such as Canada’s Gnarliest Tree and Big Lonely Doug—the last giant left standing among a former clear cut. The upper and lower hikes are easy loops that take about 15-20 minutes along moss-covered trails, board walks and stairs, but most visitors meander much longer than that, awed by what they find. If you have a 4×4 vehicle, you can explore further up the road to find old Lonely Doug and a stunning view of the Gordon River Canyon.

Castle GroveCastle Grove, Vancouver Island, BC

Home to the Upper and Lower Wahlbran Falls along the Upper Wahlbran River, this stand of ancient Red Cedars is south of Lake Cowichan and Honeymoon Bay. Largely undiscovered by tourists, Castle Grove is a true back-to-nature paradise where hikers can enjoy a half-day hike (3-4 hours for the full loop) complete with Emerald Pools for swimming and exploring. Camp along the Lower Falls or backpack along a 13 km trail to Anderson Lake.

Chemainus River Estuary, Vancouver Island Aerial Photography, British Columbia, Canada.Chemainus River Estuary

Estuaries are a hotbed of natural activity where the lines between the land, river and ocean blend. From explosions of wildflowers in the spring to warm wading pools in the summer, there’s so much to see at the Chemainus River Estuary. Easily accessible from Chemainus Rd, it’s just a short walk along a network of trails leading to grassy marshes and coastal views. Owned by Ducks Unlimited, the 200-hectare estuary is a hidden treasure and home to a wide variety of raptors, shore birds, waterfowl, mammals and fish.

The Dark Side Trail (the Grotto)Dark Side Trail, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

A short 1 km hike following the south side of the Nanaimo River in Cassidy, there is so much to see in a small space. The Dark Side isn’t so much as a hike as it is an exploration, with multiple bridges, ladders to climb, boulders to crawl over and caves to explore. It’s a favourite spot for local climbers as well, with clips already installed in a few spots along the rock faces. Bring a lunch to enjoy while you take in the riverside views. Check out more great Central Island hiking spots.

Moorecroft Regional Park, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, CanadaMoorecroft Regional Park

Located in Nanoose Bay, Moorecroft is the former site of a summer/year-round camp. Picnic in the meadow, search for owls along the groomed trails lined with craggy old Garry Oaks, explore tide pools and swim or paddle in the calm waters of the bay. You can often see sealions and seals off the shoreline while taking in panoramic views of the Coastal Mountains. It’s easy to while away an entire day at Moorecroft Regional Park and there’s always something new to discover in this oceanfront park.

China BowlsChina Bowls, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Located on Perseverance Creek (also known as Perseverance Potholes) in Cumberland, the China Bowls is a small but dramatic landscape with plenty to explore. Accessed by a well-groomed 4 km loop, the “bowls” are made of carved rock formations of all shapes and sizes. With caramel coloured swirls and a smooth surface, this is a great example of the power of nature changing the landscape over thousands/millions of years.

San Josef Bay, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, CanadaSan Josef Bay

San Josef Bay, affectionately known as San Jo Bay by North Islanders, this vast sandy beach is located within Cape Scott Provincial Park. Easy to access via a 45-minute trail, the soft sand, sea stacks topped by ancient trees, caves and tidal pools are just waiting to be explored. The trail is the most popular hike in Cape Scott, but the beach is so quiet it feels undiscovered in comparison to the other sandy hotspots on the Island.

Looking for unique experiences on the water? Expand your horizons and cruise Vancouver Island’s coastline and lakes with a new boat. At Van Isle Marina, our certified yacht brokers can match you up with a motor or sailing yacht that’s perfect for on-board fun. Explore our wide selection of new and used yachts, contact our friendly and knowledgeable team, or come down and visit our world-class sales dock to see our top-of-the-line Pursuit boats.

Van Isle Marina's DIY Dog Bath is open

DIY Dog Bath at Van Isle Marina

Our New Fureverclean Self-Serve Dog Wash Makes it Simple to Quickly Wash,
Dry and Condition Man’s Best Friend, Right Off the Boat

At Van Isle Marina, we love dogs and we know your dogs are a huge part of the family and typically like to go boating as much as their people do. For tips on yachting with your dog, check out our previous blog post that covers everything from on-board accommodations, to staying cool and hydrated.

If you bring your dogs to see us at the office or fuel dock, we’ll likely have some treats for them and if they need to stretch their sea legs, they can go for a run at Tsehum Harbour Park, just a few minutes’ walk from the Marina.

Wash Your Dog Right at the MarinaDIY Dog Wash at Van Isle Marina

We know that dogs are a challenge to keep clean at the best of times— never mind after exciting seafaring adventures. Before you load your dog into your car to head home, he’s probably going to need a good clean. With this in mind, we now have a self serve dog washing station available at the Marina.

Open 8am to 8pm in the Summer, and 8 am to 4pm in the Winter, the Fureverclean self-service station lets you quickly and easily give your pooch the spa treatment, washing out the salt spray and sand, mud and other evidence from his on-shore excursions.

Why Do Dogs Need to Be Washed?

  • Any cuts or abrasions need to be kept clean to help prevent infection
  • Dogs have multiple layers of fur that can trap allergens, bacteria, dirt, parasites, even fungi that can cause health issues
  • A dirty dog is an itchy dog. If a dog has poor skin hygiene, he’ll be itchy, uncomfortable and unable to settle
  • A gentle, calm bath is a really good way to bond, and washing your dog can be very relaxing for both of you

Why Use a Self Serve Dog Wash?

  • No need to book an appointment at the groomer
  • Affordable (only $12 for a complete wash, flea treatment, condition and blow dry)
  • Pets are more comfortable when they’re handled by their owners, rather than a stranger or groomer
  • In less than 15 minutes, your pooch will be clean and dry
  • The wash tub has a latchable door and safety chain to keep your dog safely enclosed—no more chasing soppy wet runaways through the house
  • No dirty tubs or fur clogged drains to deal with afterwards
  • Dogs like to shake dry, which soaks everyone around them. The enclosed tub eliminates this problem
  • You can use your own products or use our all-natural products and even bring your own towels in lieu of the air-dryer

The Fureverclean Dog Grooming Bath is Easy to Use

Bathing your dog with the backyard hose (cold!) or in the family tub (disaster!) is stressful and will probably leave your dog hating baths. Self-serve dog wash stations are a growing trend in Canada and since 1 in 3 families have a dog as a pet, we knew that it would make a lot of sense to have a dog wash station available for pre or post yachting adventures.

The Fureverclean will take your dog from grubby to snuggly in 12 minutes or less, stress-free. The easy to use machine even lets you pause the timer to add extra time to lather up your dog, add extra drying time as needed, and skip portions of the cycle if you prefer not to use flea treatment or conditioner.

This Dog Bath is Safe and Gentle

The Fureverclean station uses a soft-touch wash gun with multiple spray options, temperature-controlled water and two dryer speeds for a gentle and stress-free way to clean your pet. It also uses only hypoallergenic, all-natural shampoos to protect your dog’s skin and coat.

The machine itself is a self-contained wash station that is easy for your dog to get in and out of, with a transparent door that latches to keep your pet secure and able to see out. With a non-skid, soft coated floor, your dog won’t slip or slide during his shower while the drainage and filtration systems ensure that hair and water drains out effectively.

Ideal For Any Size Breed

Each machine can wash and dry any size dog, whether you have a Daschund, a Great Dane, or any breed in between. Each machine can wash one large dog and small dogs can even be washed in pairs for extra efficiency.

Convenient Payment Options

Forgot your change? No problem. The DIY dog wash station takes credit and debit (tap or swipe) tokens, or loonies and toonies. The average short haired, medium sized dog will be completely washed and dried in less than 10 minutes, and time can easily be added on for your larger, slightly furrier friend by adding a $1 coin for each additional minute needed.

How to Use Fureverclean

  • Bring your dog into the tub and attach the catch chain to the collar
  • Choose payment option to start the washing cycle
  • Wash your dog using the wash gun and premium natural shampoo
  • Choose the next wash cycle option
  • Select the dryer option. At this point, you can add more coins to keep the dryer going if you need more time
  • Remove your dog from the tub
  • Select the disinfect cycle so the tub is clean and sanitized for the next dog

Watch the Fureverclean in Action

To get out on the water with your family and furry friend(s) this summer, take a look at our selection of new and used yachts for sale or contact our expert team of sales brokers to view our exclusive lines of Pursuit boats and Riviera Luxury Yachts. Our knowledgeable staff at Van Isle Marina are happy to help you find the best boat for your whole family.

Luxury Yachts - Superyachts - Megayachts

Introducing the Superyacht and Megayacht

Luxury Yachts and Boats for the Uber-Rich

Designed as opulent floating resorts for the super-rich, superyachts and megayachts are in a world of their own when it comes to luxury travel. These vessels exceed even the most luxurious of on-land resorts. superyachts and megayachtsTravellers who dream of a getaway at sea without the crowds of a cruise ship, stunning cabins and endless amenities really love these incredible yachts and charter them to cruise the Mediterranean and Caribbean Seas. Often lumped into the same category, superyachts and megayachts are similar in that they’re both massive vessels designed for comfort, with professional crews and luxurious outfitted limousines that take passengers to land in air-conditioned comfort. It seems that the only real difference between superyachts and megayachts is their size:

Superyachts are usually a minimum of 78 feet long, while megayachts are minimum 260 feet long. Used for the ultimate at-sea vacations as well as state of the art research vessels, superyachts and megayachts push the boundaries of boating and inspire awe in all who see them.

The Ultimate Holiday

Meant to accommodate large parties, the original use for superyachts and megayachts was for billionaires and celebrities to flaunt their wealth, with yachts designed top to bottom in their own image. Custom designed interiors include the finest materials such as marble and teak as well as features such as glass walls to take full advantage of the ocean views and even solid gold fixtures. These vessels can be spotted anchored around the world, including posh locales like the Amalfi Coast or St. Tropez.

To offset the astronomical cost of operating and owning these massive ships, they’re often chartered by millionaires for a memorable vacation and offer impressive features designed to meet the needs of any VIP guest. Offering a multitude of amenities like gyms, private spas, helipads, dance halls and even open-air cinemas, these yachts are meant for kicking back and enjoying the very best that life has to offer. Guests can also enjoy water toys like giant slides, a sea pool, wake boards, paddle boards, even jet packs and personal submarines.

Research Vessels

These yachts are also used as explorer and research vessels around the world, including icy northern seas. REV (Research Expedition Vessel) was designed as a hybrid luxury vessel and marine research ship. It supports sixty scientists and features 8 state of the art labs, manned and autonomous vehicles, an auditorium, and just about everything else researchers need to study the seas. The Norwegian vessel is also eco-friendly, able to travel the world on a single tank of fuel. Some private owners also choose to use their yachts to learn more about the seas. In addition to recreation, former Microsoft billionaire Paul Allen (d.2018) often used his yachts for ocean research to help save species and improve the ocean’s health.

The 5 Largest Privately-Owned Yachts

Feast your eyes on these marvels of engineering:

Azzam - longest privately owned superyacht

AZZAM – The longest privately-owned superyacht at 590 feet long. Belonging to Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, President of the United Arab Emirates, AZZAM took 4,000 shipbuilders and designers four years to complete. It’s one of the fastest superyachts in the water, reaching speeds of up to 32 knots.

Roman Abramovichs superyacht EclipseECLIPSE – Eclipsed by AZZAM as the largest superyacht in the world, ECLIPSE is 533 feet long and features 18 cabins and a master suite to rival any luxury home. It can accommodate up to 36 guests and 70 crew.  Owned by Russian businessman Roman Abromovich, ECLIPSE has two helicopter pads, a dance hall, two pools and several hot tubs.

Dubai - superyachtDUBAI – At 531 feet, DUBAI has endless sunbathing opportunities with seven decks and can accommodate 24 guests. Owned by Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum of Dubai, DUBAI has a platform large enough for a Blackhawk helicopter. It also includes a gymnasium, a personal submarine (with garage) and five VIP suites.

worlds largest custom superyacht - DilbarDILBAR – Often spotted along the Mediterranean coast, DILBAR is owned by Russian tycoon Alisher Usmanov. The yacht features a 25m indoor swimming pool (the largest of any yacht), teak decks, a helicopter pad, 18 guest cabins and 40 crew cabins. At 512 feet, DILBAR is the largest yacht in the world by interior space. She also has six power plants which produce 40,000 horsepower.

Sailing Yacht ASAILING YACHT A – The world’s largest privately owned sail-assisted motor yacht, SAILING YACHT A is owned by Russian billionaire Andrey Melnichenko. A truly stunning superyacht, it features three rotating carbon fiber masts, with fully automated carbon fiber blend sails. With a hybrid electric-diesel propulsion system, a futuristic aesthetic and even an underwater observation pod in the keel, it’s a truly one-of-a-kind vessel that represents the best of engineering.

Quick Facts about Superyachts and Megayachts

  • There are limited numbers of these types of yachts. There are 10,000 plus superyachts in the world with about 150 added annually, and only a handful of megayachts
  • Superyachts and megayachts have so many amenities and services on board that the crew to guest ratio can rival the finest hotels
  • Sailing yachts are much less common and make up 20% of all superyachts and megayachts
  • Superyachts and megayachts can cost anywhere from $5 million to $500 million
  • Operating costs for one of these types of yachts can be 10% or more of the retail price
  • Many owners employ teams of private guards for each port

Dreaming of your own holiday out on the water, or looking to upgrade your current yacht? At Van Isle Marina we are the exclusive dealers of Pursuit boats and Riviera Luxury Yachts. As Certified Professional BC Boat Brokers, we’re glad to assist you in finding the perfect boat to meet your vision. Whether you’re looking for a superyacht, megayacht, cruiser or sailing yacht, we have a wide selection of yachts moored at our world-class sales docks. Contact our brokerage team today to experience the newest models for yourself.

9 easy knots for boating

9 Easy Knots for Boating

9 Simple Boating & Sailing Knots You Should Know

When it comes to boating, there are many types of knots used for everything from securing line when mooring, handling heavy loads, towing and of course, adjusting your sails.

As boating experts at Van Isle Marina, we’ve narrowed it down to this list of 9 tied and true (pun intended) knots, hitches and bends. These knots will assist you with everything from anchoring to joining two different lines in a pinch. Armed with this basic knowledge, you can cast off with confidence.

Note: When in use, the end of a line is called the standing end. If hanging loose it’s known as the working end, sometimes referred to as the tail end.

The Knots

A knot is mainly used to secure a line to an object, like a piling. It is also used to form an eye, or a noose. Knots used at the end of a line can function as a stopper to keep the line from slipping away, a loop to fasten to an object, or to add weight to the line when tossing.

Bowline Knot How to tie a Bowline Knot

The bowline is the most widely used in boating. A bowline forms a fixed noose at the end of the line and can also be used to connect two lines. The bowline is a go-to because it doesn’t slip and the knot can easily be untied, no matter how tight it has become.

How to Tie a Bowline Knot

Make a loop in the line, with the working end over the standing end. The working end goes through the loop, around behind the standing end and back into the loop. To close the knot, pull tightly. To untie, turn the knot over and bend it downward to loosen it.

Video Instructions

 

how to tie figure eight knotFigure Eight Knot

The figure eight is used as a stopper knot that can easily be undone. It’s most often used to keep a line from sliding away and should never be used for bearing a load.

How to Tie a Figure Eight Knot

Pass the working end over itself to form a loop then loop under and around the standing end. Finish the knot by passing the tail of the line down through the loop.

Video Instructions

 

Heaving Line Knothow to tie heaving line knot

The heaving line knot is excellent for weighing down the end of a line, making it easier to throw the line farther and keep it under control.

How to Tie a Heaving Line Knot

Make a bight (loop) in the line and hold it so that it encloses the working end. Wrap the working end around the first two strands, then around all three to use up the line of the working end. Finish the knot by passing the working end through the loop.

Video Instructions

how to tie half hitch knotHitch

A hitch is commonly used for tying line together (bending) or tying line to an anchor or a pile. A well-tied hitch will hold tightly to whatever you need it to, and still untie quickly and easily.

Half Hitch

The half hitch is used to bear loads as well as tie line around an object. It’s also used to finish many other hitches securely.

How to Tie a Half Hitch

Form a loop around the object you want to tie on to. Pass the end around the standing end and through the loop then tighten into the completed half hitch, which is designed to take a load on the standing end.

Video Instructions

Anchor Hitchhow to tie anchor hitch knot

Used for tying anchor line to the anchor.

How to Tie an Anchor Hitch

Pass the working end twice around the post keeping the second turn slack. Pass the working end over the standing end and under the original slack turn to tie the first half hitch. Pass the line around the standing end to tie a second half hitch and finish the knot.

Video Instructions

 

how to tie a cleat hitchCleat Hitch

The cleat hitch is used to attach line to a cleat. In sailing terms, a cleat is a T-shaped piece of metal or wood to which ropes are attached.

How to Tie a Cleat Hitch

Pass the line around the bottom horn of the cleat and then around over the top. Pull the line down across the middle and then up across the top again. Twist a loop in the line and hook it on the cleat as a half hitch.

Video Instructions

Midshipman’s Hitchhow to tie midshipmans hitch knot

The midshipman’s hitch creates an adjustable loop at the end of the line. Even though the loop can be adjusted, when used in combination with a half hitch, it provides a secure hold.

How to Tie a Midshipman’s Hitch

Pass the working end around the standing end then pass it around again. Tuck it beside the first turn and pull tightly. Pass the working end around again and then tie a half hitch to complete the knot.

Video Instructions

 

Bend

how to tie sheet bend knotA bend is used to connect two lines together. In sailing terms, bend means “to join”.

Sheet Bend

A sheet bend works well for joining different sized lines.

How to Tie a Sheet Bend

Form a bight (loop) in the thicker line and hold it in one hand. Pass the thinner line through the bight and behind first the working end and then the standing end. Tuck the thinner line under itself to finish.

Video Instructions

 

Alpine Butterfly Bendhow to tie alpine butterfly bend knot

Based on interlocking overhand knots, the alpine butterfly bend is used to join similar sized lines.

How to Tie an Alpine Butterfly Bend

Join the two ends, then wind the line around your hand so the join is by your fingertips. Wind the line around your hand again, then fold the join back and up under the other lines. Push the knot off your hand and tighten. To finish the knot, release the temporary join.

Video Instructions

 

Carrick Bendhow to tie carrick bend knot

The Carrick Bend is a great solution for a load-bearing bend that can be easily untied when no longer needed.

How to Tie a Carrick Bend

With one line, form a loop with the working end under the standing end. Pass the line under the loop of the other line and then over and under. Thread the working line across the loop passing under itself. To finish, pull both standing ends to tighten the knot.

Video Instructions

 

The number of knots, bends and hitches out there is staggering. We narrowed it down to these nine sailing knots since they’re all simple to master and have many practical applications for boating. If you’d like to learn more, we recommend visiting Animated Knots for a complete list of knots used in yachting.

At Van Isle Marina, we are Western Canada’s exclusive authorized dealers for top of the line Pursuit boats and Riviera luxury yachts. If you’ve been considering upgrading your boat, browse through our wide selection of new and used yachts and boats or contact our team of expert brokers to find the perfect model for your lifestyle.

Boating Terms & Terminology

A Glossary of Yachting Lingo

 

Whether you’ve got a solid pair of sea legs or are brand new to the boating life, you probably know that yachting and boating comes with its own language.

Boating terms go back centuries and a lot of sailing vocabulary has been adopted as commonly used idioms in our everyday life. Many of us use them as second nature without even realizing their true origins. Just for fun, we’ve matched up a few of the most popular boating phrases with their everyday definition and use.

Expand your yachting vocabulary and have fun impressing your landlubber friends with your newfound knowledge. You’re about to get to know the meanings of phrases like “Anchors aweigh!”, “Move to the cathead” and “Crank the windlass.”

Need a Refresher Course on Boat Parts and Basic Lingo? Take a Look at Our Past Posts Before Casting Off

Basic Boating Lingo

Parts of a Boat

Basics of Marine Navigation

 

List of Boating Terminology 

Abreast- boats sailing side by side at the same speed and position.

Everyday Use: we often use the term “abreast” to mean stay informed or updated. “Please keep me abreast of any changes in the plan.”

Aft- towards the stern (back) of the boat.

Belay- secure a line by winding on a cleat or pin.

Bitter End – the last part of a line or chain.Boat terms and terminology - Bitter End

Everyday Use: When all other possibilities are exhausted and someone reaches the very end.
“They fought to the bitter end”

Cast Off – to remove the line from the dock or mooring. To move out.

Cathead – where the anchor is secured near the bow.

Charts – charts on the water are the same as maps on land. Charting can be done on paper or electronically using ENC (Electronic Navigational Chart).

Come Around – turn into the wind.

Boat terms and terminology - Dolphin Pilings

Everyday Use: When referring to someone potentially changing their mind or opinion. “They’ll come around, you’ll see.”

Course – steering towards your destination.

Draft – the vertical depth of a yacht below the waterline. Knowing the draft helps to navigate through shallow water.

Dolphin – A group of pilings bound together by cables.

Fathom – a fathom is a unit of measurement for 6 feet or 1.8288 metres. A fathom is typically the length of rope that a grown man or woman can extend with outstretched arms. Before modern technology, depth was measured by counting fathoms and lowering the line into the sea.

Everyday Use: When trying to figure something out, you are trying to get to the bottom of it. “I can’t fathom why she would do something like that.”

Gunwale – the top edge on the side of a boat.

Boat terms and terminology - Heeling Sailboat

Heeling – When you’re heeling, your sails are filled and your boat is leaning over, being pushed by the wind. To reach top speed, you want to be heeling.

Iron Wind – a nickname for the engine of the yacht.

Jibe – a jibe is a more complex way of changing direction that requires moving the stern into and through the wind and moving the mainsail to the other side of the boat. After a jibe, the wind direction will have changed from one side of the boat to the other. Whether you choose to tack or jibe entirely depends on the situation, what’s around you and the direction of the wind.

Everyday Use: To complement or match with something.
“Your story doesn’t jibe with his story.”

Chicken Jibe – tacking more than 180° to avoid a jibe is sometimes called a chicken jibe.

Kedge – A small anchor used to change the direction or pivot point. Can also be used as an additional anchor in bad weather.

Lazy Jack – A bag attached to the boom for the mainsail to fall into.

Lines – on a yacht or any type of boat, ropes become known as lines.

Mainstay – the main line that is used to support a mast.

Everyday Use: An essential part of something.
“A good quality engine is the mainstay of a yacht.”

Payout – to add slack to the line.

Reefing – reining in the sails during periods of strong wind.

Tack – tack is used as both a verb and a noun.

Verb: to change direction by turning the bow through the wind.

Noun: the course you are on, relative to the location of the wind. You are either on a starboard tack or a port tack, depending on which side the wind is blowing.

Three Sheets to the Wind – sailing with all of your sails (sheets) unsecured.

Everyday Use: Used to describe someone who is thoroughly drunk.
“I heard Bob was three sheets to the wind last night.”

True Wind – Wind as measured on land, as opposed to how wind appears on a moving yacht (known as apparent wind).

Weigh – Raise the anchor.

Boat terms and terminology - Windlass

Everyday Use: Getting something underway.
Contrary to popular belief, the phrase is “anchors aweigh”, rather than “anchors away”
 

Windlass – the winch used to raise the anchor

To round out your boating knowledge, you might also want to read up on old boating superstitions. Learn about good and bad luck omens that tie into the history of yachting and never be pressed for an icebreaker again.

Ready to start up the engine of a beautiful yacht? Whether you’re brand new to yachting or have years of experience at the helm, we offer a wide variety of new and pre-loved boats. Our experienced brokers are happy to help you choose the perfect yacht for your lifestyle. Come visit us in Sidney, BC near Swartz Bay Ferry Terminal!

preparing for long boat trips

Prepping for Long Boat Trips

Tips & Tricks for Setting Sail for Weeks or Months at a Time

 

In times like these, when the world is encouraging you to stay safe, there is no reason staying safe cannot mean setting sail and living on your boat for awhile. After all, we see an extended boating trip as the perfect answer to self-isolation and physical distancing.

longer yacht trips - enjoying the lifestyle

So, whether you have been thinking about taking a longer boating trip for awhile now, or the idea has just come to you, here’s how to prepare for extended trips on your boat or yacht. We will cover things like:

  • planning your route,
  • getting the boat ready,
  • provisioning and packing supplies, and
  • making sure your home on land is looked after

Below are the most common types of preparations involved when planning for your extended boating trip.

 

Planning Your Route

The best part of planning a boating trip happens right at the start, with the planning of the trip itself. This includes coming up with a loose itinerary, picking the majority of the stops you would like to make, highlighting any new spots you would like to visit, and noting any friends or family who you want to meet up with along the way, either on water or on land.

The specifics of your trip will depend on a few things, such as:long yacht trip - leaving canada

  • If you’ll be crossing international waters, you’ll need passports for everyone on board, as well as an updated insurance policy that covers you in the countries you are planning on visiting.
  • If you’ll be travelling with your family or travelling with pets, you’ll have extra considerations to make for each situation.
  • If the weather or climate is unpredictable where you’re headed, you’ll need clothing and possibly extra equipment for the unexpected.
  • If you’ll be docking up at a marina for overnight stays rather than anchoring offshore, you’ll need to budget for this.
  • If you’ll be packing most of your own groceries, follow our guide to stocking the best foods for your yacht.

While planning your route, it can be handy to consult those who have been there before you, and those boaters are happy to share their experiences. Meet other boaters at your local marina and through yachting and cruising groups and forums on social media. Follow your favourite boating websites, and pick up physical copies of boating magazines, cruising guides, and annotated charts. You should stay on the lookout for localized information on:

  • Top-rated routes, tracks, and safe passages
  • Notable depth and shoaling challenges
  • Placements of navigational markers
  • Tides and currents
  • Locations and opening times of locks and gates
  • Nearby marinas and potential anchorages

Always have a Plan B when planning your itinerary (the B stands for Backup). Unpredictable weather or issues with the boat might mean you have to change course from time to time. Talk to any experienced boater and they will all tell you the same thing: don’t travel on a set schedule. Pressing ahead through dicey weather conditions just to get somewhere “on time” is just not worth the risk, so don’t be rigid with your scheduling.

Lastly, remember to download the latest charts and update any related software that relates to the regions you will be cruising to before leaving the dock.

 

Prepping the Boat

Once you have a vague idea of where you’ll be going and for how long, it’s time to turn your attention to your boat. Depending on the age of your vessel, how often it gets out, and how it is stored, a mechanical or maintenance check might provide peace of mind.

Prepping the boat typically means inspecting the entire vessel for any potential mechanical problems or safety issues, as well as topping up your tanks. More specifically, preparing your boat involves:

  • Topping up all fluid levels
  • Checking all hoses and lines for leaks or crackslong boat trips - sailing around the world
  • Inspecting your hull for cracks or other damage
  • Checking all navigational equipment
  • Making sure your VHF radio is in good working order
  • Fuelling up the boat
  • Fuelling up and inspecting the tender for any issues
  • Filling up the water tanks
  • Cleaning the strainers
  • Checking the AC filter
  • Checking your generator and battery power
  • Ensuring your spare parts are on board
  • Ensuring you have both your travel and dock lines

Also check up on your required safety equipment, such as life jackets, to make sure they’re all accounted for and in good working order. Things like fire extinguishers and flares expire, for example, and first aid kits have been known to get depleted from time to time, so it’s important to check these things before any length of boating trip.

You might also consider cruising with additional safety equipment like a life raft, a satellite phone, and an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon. Transport Canada has more information on preparing your boat for long boating trips in its Safe Boating Guide.

 

Provisioning and Packing

The next category of long boat trip planning has to do with packing all the right supplies. This involves a certain amount of provisioning and creative packing solutions.

prepping for long boat trips - stocking your galley

Packing just the right amount of food, clothing, and entertainment options takes a bit of trial and error. There is a bit of an art to packing just enough, packing only what you’ll use, and packing only what you have room for.

You’ll pick up tips and tricks along the way, but for now the three biggest tips we have for you are to:

  • Pack everything in soft-sided luggage rather than hard-cased luggage, as soft luggage is much easier to store in tight spaces.
  • Get rid of as much packaging as you can before setting sail, especially if you’re packing new toys for the kids, new tubes of toothpaste, and flat packs of pops and juice – leave the cardboard behind!
  • Check on your provisions from last season, and toss anything that might be past its due date.

If you’re stocking your boat for the first time, check out our guide to stocking your galley with the best foods, cleaning supplies, and more. Also check out our list of important items to bring on your boat, which should assist greatly during this step.

 

Securing the Homefront

Just like any standard vacation, an extended period away from your home on land requires some preparation. Be sure to make these arrangements ahead of time:

  • Arrange from a neighbour or family member to regularly check on your house, water your plants, and collect your mail.
  • Book any necessary medical appointments to fill prescriptions and see your dentist.
  • Clean up the yard and stow away anything that could tempt a thief.
  • Winterize your home if you’re planning a winter get-away.

 

Once you have these items checked off your to-do list, all there is left to do is hope for the best weather possible as you set sail for your big adventure.

For more boating tips from Van Isle Marina, be sure to check out the rest of our blog.

Easy and Delicious Crab Cake Recipes

Easy and Delicious Crab Cake Recipes

A Short History of the Crab Cake

 

First called crab patties or crab croquettes in the 19th century, crab cakes were another take on minced meat patties. Thanks to a plentiful supply, some North American pubs actually gave fresh crab away to patrons, prior to the Second World War. The crab cake was created out of necessity as a cheap hearty meal. Original recipes called for a mixture of bread crumbs or cornmeal, seasonings, eggs, and crab meat.

No longer a budget selection, unless you catch your own, crab is a premium menu choice, and crab cakes are commonly served in high end seafood restaurants. However, making your own crab cakes is surprisingly simple.

 

Basic Crab Cakes- A Simple and Adaptable Dish

The beauty of crab cakes is that the base recipe for this popular dish remains pretty much the same as all those years ago, making it a fun dish to experiment with.

You can just as easily create a rich, indulgent cake or a lighter dish, depending on what toppings you choose. Tartar sauce or a bearnaise sauce creates a rich, indulgent meal, while crab cakes topped with freshly chopped fruit salsa or microgreens makes a much lighter dish.

Crab cakes are also great any time of day. Have you ever tried Eggs Benedict atop a crisp, succulent crab cake? Replace the english muffin with a crispy, tender cake of fresh Dungeness or Red Rock crab, and you’ve just taken two classic dishes to a whole new level.

While crab cakes are best without too many fillers, they do well with small scallops, shrimp or even minced fish, if you’re a little short on fresh crab.

We scoured the web for a tried and true crab cakes recipe, so you can make them anytime, anywhere – no pub or restaurant required. Try making the easy recipe below, and play around with a variety of seasonings, sauces, sides, and toppings.

 

Best Crab Cake Recipe

Classic Crab CakesBest Crab Cakes Recipe

Serve these with aioli, fresh greens, fruit salsa, tartar sauce, and more.

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley, or tarragon
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp Tabasco sauce
  • 440 g fresh crab meat, chopped
  • 3/4 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges

Instructions

Preheat oven to 400 F

  • Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl, whisk 1/3 cup of mayonnaise with egg, parsley, Dijon and Tabasco.
  • Gently stir in crab just until combined. Scoop out 1 heaping tbsp crab mixture, roll in panko, and form into 1-in.-thick cake. Repeat with rest of mixture.
  • Place cakes on baking sheet 1/2 in. apart. Lightly spray or brush tops with oil.
  • Bake in centre of preheated oven for 10 to 12 min. Turn cakes over and continue baking until light golden, about 5 more min.
  • Let stand on baking sheet for 5 min before removing to a large platter.
  • To make the aioli, whisk together the remaining mayonnaise, lemon juice, and smoked paprika. Serve with lemon wedges alongside the crab cakes.

Get the full crab cake recipe from Chatelaine Magazine

 

Crab Cakes: Pairings and Toppings

Try pairing crab cakes with a white wine, like a pinot gris, the “white wine king of British Columbia.” This helpful guide from BC Wine Trends will help narrow down your selections if you’re looking for a new favourite. There’s also an excellent white sangria recipe which would bring a fresh tropical vibe to crab cakes topped with fruit salsa.

 

Tropical Salsa Recipe
IngredientsTropical Salsa on top of Crab Cakes

  • 1⁄2 cup (125 mL) finely diced papaya
  • 1⁄3 cup (75 mL) finely diced ripe star fruit
  • 2 tsp (10 mL) seeded and diced jalapeño pepper
  • 1⁄2 tsp (2 mL) grated lime rind
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) lime juice
  • Combine all ingredients in a bowl and spoon over top

Get the full recipe from LCBO.com

 

Tartar Sauce Recipe
Ingredients

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup chopped dill pickles
  • 1 teaspoon capers, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons chopped shallots
  • 2 tablespoons chopped scallions
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 6 drops Tabasco sauce, or more to taste
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Mix all ingredients together in a bowl and you’re done!
  • For best flavour, chill before serving.

Get the full recipe from Simply Taste

 

Tips for the Best Ever Crab Cakes

  • Pan fry for a crispy outer crust. Melt 1tbsp of butter or oil on medium heat, and add cakes just when the butter sizzles. Cook until golden brown (about 2-3 minutes).
  • Add a sprinkle of mustard powder. Rather than adding heat, this brings out the flavour of the crab even more.
  • Chill in the fridge for about an hour to let the crab cakes set.
  • Crab Cakes can be made ahead of time and frozen. Just shape the patties, freeze on a lined baking tray, and transfer frozen cakes to a freezer bag or container.

Still have leftover crab? Lucky you! Take a look at some other great fresh crab recipes.

 

Before you go crabbing or fishing, be sure to check the Department of Fisheries and Oceans for any updated information on closures, or restrictions. To learn more about what BC’s coastal waters have to offer, take a look at our guide on BC shellfish.

 

Tired of crabbing on shore with a net and hip waders? Van Isle Marina in Sidney, BC has an extensive supply of new and pre-owned boats for sale – from motorboats to superyachts – to take you from low tide to the high seas. Take a look at our current selection of boats for sale or contact us to speak to our friendly and knowledgeable staff.

yacht renovations - how to

Renovating an Older Yacht

Thinking About Renovating a Yacht as a Hobby Project?
Here’s What to Expect

 

There are many different scenarios that might see you one day staring down a decades-old boat on land from bow to stern, wondering, “Where do I even start?” Perhaps you’ve recently bought a pre-owned boat and are looking to make it your own. Or maybe your existing boat needs a few repairs and modern enhancements. It might even be that you have just inherited a boat that’s been in storage for so long and needs a little work before she is seaworthy again.

Whatever the case may be, restoring an older yacht can be a fun, rewarding endeavour. Just keep the following steps in mind to know what to expect when it comes to restoring an older boat or tackling your upcoming yacht restoration project.

renovating yachts - tools required

Step 1. Take an Inventory of Your Tools and Workspace

Before you begin, take a look at your tools and workspace. Do you have what it takes to pull this off (an electric buffer, demolition tools, etc.)? Do your friends and family have tools to lend you? If not, having to acquire these tools will factor into your restoration budget.

Step 2. Wash the Entire Vesselrenovating yacht - clean the boat

Thoroughly clean your boat from top to bottom, and from stem to stern to get a sense of what exactly you are working with. This includes removing all the water, leaves, and other organic matter from the boat.

Pro Tip: If you’ve purchased your pre-owned boat from a broker, this step has likely been done already.

Step 3. Take a Visual Inspection of What Needs Fixing and Replacing

Start identifying everything that is visually broken, damaged, or otherwise falling apart, and make a list! This could include things like:

  • Crazed and cracked fibreglass
  • Torn, ripped, or mouldy upholstery
  • Rotting or decaying wood components
  • A shabby-looking cabin or galley
  • A dull, chalky looking hull
  • Peeling no-slip paint on the deck
  • A cracked or foggy windshield
  • Rusty components

Depending on time and budget, you might have to pick and choose what DIY projects you realistically want to take on. For example, if your hull has just lost its shine but is in otherwise good condition, you are likely able to buff it back to life yourself. However, if your upholstery needs work too, this is a more challenging DIY project and a professional re-upholstery company will be worth every penny.

Step 4. Inspect the Vessel’s Mechanical, Electrical, and Plumbing Components

Examine the mechanical components of the boat and continue adding to your list of repairs. Check all the electrical components, including all the vessel’s lights, electrical outlets, heating and cooling systems, appliances, sinks, toilets, and shower. Ensure you’ve removed any old fuel from the fuel tank and any lingering oil from the engine and gear case. Replace any old belts and hoses on the engine.

Pro Tip: A marine technician can complete this step for you and provide a more comprehensive report on the vessel’s power systems. In many cases this is done prior to the purchase of a used boat, giving you a better idea of what the project will entail.

Step 5. Pay Special Attention to the Hull

Another area to pay special attention to is not just the cosmetics of the hull, but the through-hull fittings. Make sure they are rust-free and are still properly sealed. While you’re in the area, check the conditions of the seacocks and the cleats. If any appear to be rusted, broken, or missing altogether, these items are all relatively cheap to replace.

Step 6. Make a Wishlist of Features, Amenities, and Upgrades

If time and budget are on your side, make another list of all the add-ons you’d love to have on this boat. Keep things in scope by first thinking ahead to your intended uses for the boat. If this boat will mainly be used for fishing excursions, brainstorm all the fishing amenities you’d like to see such as rod holders, rod storage, and a livewell.

If you’ll be living in the boat part-time on the water, consider upgrading or adding to the appliances in the galley. You can also look at things like adding a laundry closet, carving out more storage space if you’re doing a deep reno, and adding newer navigational equipment.

Not sure what add-ons are even possible? Check out the floor plans of today’s modern luxury motor yachts on the market that are within the same size as what you’re working with, and you’ll get a sense of all the potential layouts, amenities, and modern touches you might want to add to this boat. Think about things like USB phone chargers, LED TVs, and sound systems that will make owning a boat that much more enjoyable.renovating yachts - strip the paint and varnish

Step 7. Get Started on the Project

With your lists in hand, it’s time to get started with your restoration project! At this point you can re-evaluate the items you want to tackle yourself, or start to call in the experts. A lot of help can be found on YouTube, on boating forums, and by talking to other boat owners who have already been where you are. Look at boating magazines and different boats for sale on the internet for visual inspiration of what’s possible.

Finding the Right Boat to Restore

Finding a boat to restore is similar to buying a boat you plan on enjoying right away. You need to consider things like what you plan to use the boat for, where you plan on storing the boat when it’s not in use, and what size and age of boat your budget will realistically afford you. All of these things are considerations for any boat purchase.

For a restoration project, storage considerations and budget should be looked at a lot more closely, as does your skill level. Be realistic about how long the boat project will take you, and where your skill level is at if the restoration is going to be a true DIY. If you think 3 months, and it ends up being 3 years due to life’s circumstances interfering with things, then that’s a lot of additional storage time you have to consider if you’re paying to store the vessel somewhere. And depending on the make and model, there could be too much depreciation if you’re planning to resell.

If budget, time, and skill level are factors, start small. The smaller the boat, the quicker the retrofit in most cases. And, if you’re just starting out, definitely avoid boats with no salvageable equipment. If the boat is just a shell, replacing gear, seating, and fibreglass components is going to far exceed the end value of the boat. Also avoid boats with major structural defects. The repair job on these types of boats is likely to be beyond cosmetic and require more equipment than the average DIYer has at home in the garage.

Likewise, if you’re looking to fix the boat up to eventually resell it, check the market before settling on something. A boating expert or yacht broker will be able to help you sort out the resale value of the boat you’re looking at restoring. It might not be worth the time or money if there is no resale or no sentimental value at the end of the day.

Just like when you’re looking at renovating a house, you already have a sense of where your comforts lie and what your limitations are. Depending on the nature of your restoration project, things might be more complicated than what we have provided above, but we hope this post has inspired you to get started on your next project. However it turns out, you’ll likely feel proud of the outcome and enjoy life on a boat you’ve customized just to your liking.

Opting to restore an older yacht can be the perfect option for someone who has the time and wants to own their first boat but is limited by budget. If you’re searching for a boat to restore, let our brokers help you find what you’re looking for. While most of the boats we have for sale at our sales dock are newer, we do come across the perfect project boat from time to time, or can help you locate one from elsewhere.

At Van Isle Marina, our brokers are ready to help you navigate the purchase of your next boat or yacht. Learn more about our sales process, or contact us with any questions you might have. We look forward to helping you end up in the boat of your dreams!

Family Boating Activities

Family Boating Activities

How to Keep Everyone Entertained on the Yacht

On today’s modern luxury yachts, there is no shortage of fun things to do with the family. We know you know the typical activities that keep everyone occupied, like swimming, fishing, floaties, and mealtimes. But what about the rest of the time? Especially if you’re planning on a longer boating trip?

To accompany our article on Boating with Family, here are some great entertainment suggestions to add to your list of family boating activity ideas. These suggestions work just as well for day trips as they do for longer journeys, and they are perfect for creating memories for years to come.

family boating activities - Water Skiing

Water Toys

If your kids are old enough and your boat is big enough to store the equipment needed, try out things like water skiing, wakeboarding, knee boarding, and tubing. Some of this equipment is available for rent, so you can try each watersport without fully committing to one. Snorkeling is also something suitable for all ages and can be a fun learning opportunity.

Kayaks and Stand-up Paddleboards

Kayaks and stand-up paddleboards are also available to rent from various seaside communities if you don’t already have your own. This can be a great way to get some exercise, challenge yourself in new ways, and navigate tighter channels while your boat is docked or anchored for awhile.

family boating activities - raft up with others

Raft-up with Others

If you’re comfortable enough and you spot another boater with youngsters on board, why not get to know your fellow travellers by inviting them to raft up with you? This entails tethering both boats together, either for a playdate, happy hour, or both. If things go well, you can always arrange to raft up again in the future. And if there are more than your two boats, why not raft up to multiple boats to form a full flotilla?

Head to the Beach

If everyone’s in the mood to get off the boat for awhile, head to shore to spend a few hours at the beach to enjoy a picnic, build sandcastles, fly a kite, explore the tide pools, go crabbing, collect seashells, play some badminton, or throw a ball around. Depending on where you end up, there might even be some great hiking trails nearby.

Visit Marinasfamily boating activities - Visiting Van Isle Marina

Visiting various marinas is also a fun way to get to know other boaters and learn more about your local area. If possible, pick a marina to visit that has a restaurant and an outdoor play area for the kids. The restaurant visit is often enough to land you free dock time at the marina, and the kids will love having a new playground to check out. Of course this is also a great opportunity to walk the docks and see a bunch of different boats.

Golfing

Yes, you read correctly! When you’ve tried just about every other activity while out at sea, why not plan for some good old-fashioned golf on the next boating trip? You could bring your own putting green and keep it as traditional as possible, or practice your long drive by rigging something out in the water. Simply toss out a floating inner tube and practice whacking biodegradable golf balls towards your target and voila! Golf at sea.

History Lessons

Depending on your location, you might stumble across some waterfront locations with heritage status. Around the Pacific Northwest, there are several fishing towns and historical landmarks to check out, some of which that have an aquarium or museum nearby. Here’s your chance to turn your boating trip into a teaching moment – possibly for more than just your kids!

Scavenger Hunt

Hand out lists of nautical objects you’re likely to see during your trip to everyone on board and offer up a prize to the first person who spots all the items. Some ideas for your list include kayaks, sailboats, seabirds, tugboats, BC Ferries, a person fishing, floating driftwood, whales, sea lions, a houseboat – you get the idea!

Treasure Hunt

Depending on the ages of those on board and the size of your vessel, you can create a small treasure hunt that takes place on your boat. It’s a little bit like the childhood game, Find the Object, only the object might be something of value that the winner gets to keep. Or, if you’ll be heading to the shore, you can even try geocaching, which has been rightly coined as the world’s largest treasure hunt.

family boating activities - Pirate Party

Plan a Pirate Day

With a little bit of planning ahead, you can plan a pirate party for the kids. This would tie in nicely with the treasure hunt idea already mentioned. It would also be a great theme for a child’s birthday party. All you’ll need is a pirate’s flag to raise, costumes and accessories, and a little knowledge of speaking “pirate-ese”.

family boating activities - Fireworks

Find Some Fireworks

Throughout the summertime around the Pacific Northwest, there are a few major events that kick off or conclude with a grand display of fireworks. Viewing these types of light shows from your boat is truly a remarkable, memorable experience.

Shoot Some Hoops

Find a portable basketball hoop for your cockpit, or one that you can temporarily hook or suction onto the side of your boat temporarily to see who can score the most baskets from the water.

Install a Slidefamily boating activities - waterslide

An inflatable slide provides some easy onboard entertainment for guests of all ages, providing there is easy access for everyone to re-enter the boat after each slide. Young children will require constant adult supervision and lifejackets.

family boating activities - water trampoline

Water Trampoline

Not your average floatie, a water trampoline will turn you into the coolest boat owner around. Completely inflatable and portable, water trampolines are available in a wide variety of sizes and styles and take just 20 minutes to set up. Young children will require constant adult supervision and lifejackets.

Deck Dance Party

Get everyone dancing on your deck, including the little ones, who tend to be the best dancers on board! Teach youngsters the old classics from your hey day, and then have them show you the trending dance moves of their generation.

Build a Fort

If you have enough equipment, have the kids build a little fort on the deck using oars, floaties, lifejackets, towels, and more. They’ll stay occupied and afterwards they will have a little shelter from the elements.

Camp on the Deck

On a particularly hot, clear summer night, why not plan to sleep under the stars on your deck instead of in the cabin? Or at least encourage the kids to do so. They can sleep in the fortress they made earlier that day, or perhaps under the Bimini top if there’s room. Encourage kids to bring snacks, flashlights, and books and games with them.

Rainy Day Entertainment

When night falls, or when it’s rainy, get cozy in your cabin with nautical-themed colouring books, story books, and crafts. Discover Boating has some great boat-themed colouring pages to get your started. Also plan ahead for pirate and mermaid-themed movies, smartphone apps, card games, and board games.

Remote Control Boatfamily boating activities - remote control boat

For the younger ones aboard your boat, you can’t go wrong by bringing a small remote-control boat for them to play with. This can be great if they are too cold or too tired to be in the water swimming. Even the grown-ups on board can have a lot of fun with this one.

Day to Day Operations

Lastly, try to involve children in all boating activities, including tying knots, preparing meals in the galley, steering the boat, and tidying up the cockpit. While you want to do whatever you can to make this boating vacation fun for your children, it’s important to involve your children in the day to day operations on the boat so they get the true experience. You’ll find out quickly what sorts of things interest them, whether that’s learning how to read tide charts, or knowing the ins and outs of the VHF radio.

 

Boating with your family can build fantastic memories for everyone involved. Don’t forget to take pictures and videos along the way! And for more boating tips from Van Isle Marina, be sure to check out the rest of our blog, including an overview of boating with pets – because they’re family too!