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Best Diving Locations Near Vancouver Island

Best Diving Locations Near Vancouver Island

Vancouver Island – One of the Best Cold Water Diving Destinations in the World

Spend enough time above the waters around Vancouver Island and it will only be a matter of time until you get curious and want to get a closer look and what’s below the surface. When this happens, and you go for your first scuba diving experience in the Pacific Northwest, you’ll quickly come to realize the region is filled with all sorts of underwater scenery – from reefs, walls, shipwrecks, and plenty of marine life.

Here is our list of some of the best diving locations off the coast of Vancouver Island. Don’t forget your dry suits and headlamps – waters around here are cold and dark, but worth it!

Let’s dive in!

Artificial Reefs around Vancouver Island

Xihuw Boeing 737

Not actually a shipwreck, but a “plane wreck”, the intentionally stripped and sunken Xihuw Boeing 737 can be found in Stuart Channel near Chemainus on Vancouver Island’s central east coast. It’s been down there since 2006 and still very much recognizable.

G.B Church Freighter

artificial reefs around vancouver island

The G.B. Church is a 175-foot freighter that was sunk in August 1991. She can be found near Princess Margaret Marine Park/Portland Island north of Sidney on Vancouver Island. She’s actually not too far from us here at Van Isle Marina.

HMCS Saskatchewan

The HMCS Saskatchewan is a 366-foot World War ll naval vessel turned artificial reef and sunk near Nanaimo in 1997. The top of the mast is about 45 feet below the surface and the bulk of the vessel is between 80 and 100 feet.

HMCS Cape Breton

The HMCS Cape Breton is another World War II naval vessel sunk purposefully near Nanaimo. This 401-foot vessel was sunk in 2001, settling almost perfectly upright at about the same depth as the Saskatchewan. Find both of these HMCS vessels off the coast of Snake Island.

RivTow Lion

Before it was turned into an artificial reef, the Rivtow Lion was a 147-foot rescue tug built in 1940. She became an artificial reef off the coast of New Castle Island near Nanaimo in 2005. Because of the RivTow Lion’s location in sheltered calm waters and her modest size, she is considered a suitable dive site for beginners.

HMCS Chaudière

Journey out a bit farther away from Vancouver Island to the Sunshine Coast and you’ll find the HMCS Chaudière. Another artificial reef that was purposely sunk in 1992, the 366-foot Destroyer Escort lies on its side starting at about 50 feet below the surface in Kunechin Sound in the Sechelt Inlet. You’ll know you’re at the right artificial reef when you see the mounted guns with long barrels protruding from the vessel!

HMCS Annapolis

Still a bit further off Vancouver Island, located 25 minutes from Horseshoe Bay in Hacklett Bay in Howe Sound, the HMCS Annapolis was sunk in 2015. At 371 feet, this artificial reef is massive with plenty of unique explorable features, like a helicopter hanger. It’s only 25 minutes from Horseshoe Bay and worthy of the trip from Vancouver Island.

Shipwrecks around Vancouver Island

SS Capilano

Recognized as a provincial heritage site, the SS Capilano sank 100 feet deep by the Grant Reefs, between Savary and Harwood Islands in the Strait of Georgia. Built in 1891, the SS Capilano was an early coastal passenger and freight steamer before sinking in 1915. The wreck was discovered in 1973 relatively intact and remains one of the best wreck dives on the BC coast, appreciated for its historical value.

Robert Kerr

The Robert Kerr wreck is another heritage site worthy of exploration just north of Thetis Island. This converted Barque sank in 1911 after hitting a reef. It’s impressively still more or less intact and still identifiable despite being underwater for more than 105 years. This is considered a shallow dive at 60 feet.

SS Themis

If you make it up to Port Hardy on north Vancouver Island, you’ll be near the SS Themis, a 270-foot Norwegian cargo ship that sank in 1906 near Crocker Rock in Queen Charlotte Strait. There is not much left of this wreck, but a few identifiable pieces still remain, plus you’ll see some of the largest lingcod you’ve ever seen lingering about!

Shore Dives around Vancouver Island

If exploring deep depths to explore sunken ships and airplanes – intentionally or otherwise – is a little daunting for you, consider starting off with a simple shore dive. Shore dives are suitable for all levels of divers, including those just gaining an interest in the sport. Simply gear up on shore and walk right into your next scuba diving experience!

Diving at Clark Rock in Nanaimo BC

Or, for even more fun and convenience, save yourself the walk with your bulky equipment and access any of the shore dive sites by boat and drop anchor as close or far to shore as you like!

Recommended shore dives around Vancouver Island include:

  • Odgen Point Breakwater, near Victoria
  • Elliot Beach, near Chemainus
  • China Creek, near Port Alberni
  • Keel Cove, near Nanaimo

In the Nanoose Area, just north of Nanaimo, also check out any of these beautiful shore dive locations: Cottam Point, Dolphin Beach, Madrona Point, Oak Leaf Tyee Cove, The Jib, and Wall Beach.

Boat Dives around Vancouver Island

Of course, when you have a boat, nothing beats the thrill and ease of going for a cold-water dive right off the swimming platform of your boat or yacht. If you’re looking for the best boat dives around the Island – that don’t involve the narrow passages and deep, dark pockets of a sunken ship or airplane –  consider the following boat dive locations, recommended for all levels of divers.

Boat Diving around Vancouver Island

Beginner Dives

For beginner boat dives, start with:

  • Clark Rock, near Nanaimo
  • Neck Point Park, near Nanaimo
  • Yeo Islands, near Nanoose
  • Norris Rocks, near Hornby Island
  • Broughton Archipelago, in the Queen Charlotte Strait
  • Blackfish Sound, near Hansen Island and Swanson Island
  • Zeballos Inlet and Kyuquot Sound, near Nootka Island
  • Tahsis Narrows and the Gardens, near Nootka

Advanced DivesGabriola Passage Diving Around Vancouver Island

For more advanced boat dives, check out:

  • Quatsino Narrows, near Port Alice
  • Browning Pass, near Port Hardy and the SS Themis
  • Breakwater Island, near Nanaimo
  • Dodd Narrow, near Nanaimo
  • Gabriola Passage, near Nanaimo
  • Snake Wall Island, near Nanaimo and the HMCS Saskatchewan and Cape Breton
  • Alcala Point, near Ladysmith
  • Sansum Point, near Duncan
  • Octopus Point, near Duncan
  • Race Rocks, near Victoria

Always research your intended dive site before heading out, and make sure all beginners are comfortable with the depth and currents!

If you’re looking for a new boat or yacht to take your diving experiences to the next level, the team here at Van Isle Marina is happy to help. We have a wide range of pre-owned yachts and boats for sale, in addition to suitable sports models from Riviera and Pursuit that would provide plenty of space for all your diving equipment. Take a look at our current selection online, or visit us in person at 2320 Harbour Road near the Swartz Bay Ferry Terminal.

Riviera 505 SUV at Van Isle Marina

2020 Riviera 505 SUV

The Riviera 505 SUV is set to Premiere in February 2020

Within the yachting community, Riviera is having quite a moment these days. Earlier this year, the luxury yacht builder announced dates for its upcoming 64 Sport Motor Yacht debut as well as launched its new Platinum Edition Sport Yacht line. They are also gearing up for the launch of their next luxury motor yacht – the Riviera 505 SUV, which will be making its debut at the Miami Yacht Show in February 2020.

Riviera 505 SUV - Port

The Riviera 505 SUV will be available to boaters in the Pacific Northwest starting in spring 2020 through the team here at Van Isle Marina – Western Canada’s exclusive authorized dealers of Riviera motor yachts. Our yacht brokers are ready to welcome all interested yacht enthusiasts to send us their inquiries regarding this new model. For now, we hope you enjoy a sneak peak inside this exciting addition to Riviera’s SUV Collection:

The New Riviera 505 SUV

The new Riviera 505 SUV is a three bedroom/two bathroom luxury yacht that has the same pedigree of a single-level alfresco entertainer, but with the addition of the mezzanine area that offers a relaxing space with protection from the elements when needed.

Riviera 505 SUV - master bedroom

The 505 comes in just shy of 56 feet in total length. In addition to the massive mezzanine level, the 505 comes with a generously sized cockpit, impressive saloon and galley, accessible foredeck, luxurious accommodation deck, and technologically advanced helm station. All these features are wrapped up in a package that comes complete with a brand-new hull design and luxurious, handcrafted finishing touches throughout.

Like all four Riviera SUV models that preceded her, the 505 promises exceptional power-to-weight ratios, impressive fuel efficiency, and exhilarating bluewater performance and handling capabilities.

This mid-sized sports yacht is as perfect for fishing and blue-water cruising as it is for entertaining and all the different water sports you can think of! Let’s take a closer look at her impressive layout:


The total cockpit surface area of the 505 is about 10 square metres, making it perfect for fishing, various water sports, and entertaining. It’s also low to the water, making it easy to launch and retrieve all of your favourite water toys. The cockpit features a large BBQ and wet bar centre, a 130-L fridge/freezer compartment, a hydraulic swimming platform, and tons of storage solutions, including a large pump-out fish bin locker in the floor.


Riviera 505 SUV Mezzanine

A few steps up from the cockpit is the 505’s massive mezzanine with teak decking, an LED TV, and two fixed lounges, one of which converts to a day bed. A hardtop fully extends over the mezzanine, while twin sliding sun hatches let in filtered sunlight and a slight breeze from above. Th mezzanine on the 505 provides a covered entertainment area that is a great place to read, relax, and enjoy your morning coffee. It allows you to enjoy the yachting lifestyle on even the rainiest of days!

Galley & Saloon

The galley and saloon are connected to the mezzanine via a tinted, tempered glass door and awning window. In this area you’ll find a U-shaped galley that is fully equipped with an electric cooktop, microwave convection oven, dual drawer fridge/freezer, stainless steel sink, and optional dishwasher.

Riviera 505 SUV Saloon


Across from the galley on the starboard side is an L-shaped lounge and polished timber table. Just ahead is a helm station with twin pedestal seats and sliding sunroof, and a second lounge area that serves as the saloon’s main media centre is nearby.

Accommodation Deck

Take the steps down to the accommodation deck and the first things you’ll notice are the timber finishes, impressive amount of headroom, and elegant lighting throughout. You’ll be able to escape to your full-beam master suite where you will find large hull windows, a queen-sized island berth, walk-in robe, plush carpeting, 42-inch LED TV, chaise lounge, en-suite access, and a full-length mirror. Also down on the accommodation deck is a twin bunk cabin to starboard, and a plush VIP stateroom forward with en-suite access to the luxury day head. An optional laundry closet is also available.

Foredeck & Side Decks

The foredeck entertainment zone aboard the 505 is nice and large, with a walkway that runs laterally so occupants can avoid having to step over the double sun pad cushions when moving from port to starboard, cleaning the windscreen, or attaching window covers. Access to the foredeck is easy with generously wide side decks with raised bulwarks that connect all the way to the cockpit and incorporate several safety features.

Hull & Bowsprit Design

The hull of the Riviera 505 has been newly designed, with a gently sweeping sheerline, more prominent topside windows, and generous flare forward. These features balance nicely with generous glass surrounds.

The bowsprit is seamlessly incorporated into the hull design, making for a cleaner, more contemporary look. More specifically, the bowsprit has been replaced by a modern “through-the-bow” design. The effect is the anchoring station is more prominent. Ultimately, your 35kg highly polished stainless steel Ultra Anchor becomes a jewel adorning your bow.


The Riviera 505 SUV comes standard with twin 6-cylinder Volvo Penta D8-IPS 800 turbo diesels at 600hp (441kw) each. You can also choose to upgrade to 725hp (533kW) via twin D11-IPS 950s, depending on your needs. With either option, the 505 comes with joystick controls at the helm and cockpit, as well as two 16-in. Volvo Penta Glass Bridge screens.

The Riviera SUV Collection

With the addition of the 505 SUV premiering in 2020, the Riviera SUV Collection is now up to five models. The new 505 SUV fits nicely in-between the SUV 575, SUV 545, SUV 445,  and SUV 395 models. But it does so much more than provide boaters a mid-sized option in this collection – the 505 is a model all on its own, from the keel up – inspired by the existing models in the Collection but so clearly defined as its own distinct model at the same time.

You can learn more about the development and design of the Riviera 505 SUV in Edition 5 of the 2019 Riviera Experience.

Additional Riviera Collections

In addition to the SUV Collection, Riviera designs and manufactures models in their Open Flybridge Collection, Enclosed Flybridge Collection, Sports Yacht Collection, and Sports Motor Yacht Collection.

No matter what Riviera Collection has caught your eye and checks your boxes, every Riviera model out there is built to last and retains its value because Riviera is so consistent with their design, quality, and customer experience.

Our yacht brokers would be pleased to match you with the best Riviera yacht to suit your needs. Learn more about Riviera yachts through our website, or contact one of our Yacht Sales Brokers, at 250.656.1138. Or come see us in person in Sidney, BC on Vancouver Island. We would love to show you our boats!

The Most Common Types of Shellfish in British Columbia Waters

Kinds of Shellfish in BC Waters

The Most Common Types of Shellfish in British Columbia Waters

With so many species of fish living in BC waters, there is something to fish for at practically anytime of year, including many types of shellfish. In our previous posts covering all the different kinds of fish in BC waters, we’ve touched on the highly sought-after pacific salmon, trout, and groundfish that draw anglers to the West Coast of Canada. To round out the series, we thought we’d end with another extremely popular type of fish our region is known for: shellfish.

What are Shellfish?

The term shellfish is a colloquial term referring to an extremely broad category of aquatic (water-dwelling) invertebrates. The term covers two main types of aquatic invertebrates: shelled molluscs like oysters and clams, and crustaceans such as crabs and shrimp. Shellfish are not actually fish – they are simply a certain type of animal that live in water. The term shellfish is used by fisheries and the medical and restaurant industries to group together edible marine invertebrates.

In British Columbia, the most common types of shellfish that anglers target include oysters, clams, prawns, crabs, scallops, shrimp, krill, geoducks, and red and green sea urchins. In BC, octopus, sea cucumbers, and squid are also managed as shellfish, as per the DFO.

Notice how there are no lobsters on this list? Lobsters are plentiful in the Atlantic Ocean, but not so much here in the Pacific.

Below is our breakdown of the most common types of shellfish found in British Columbia.

Oysterstypes of shellfish in BC - oysters

Oysters are saltwater bivalve molluscs that stay rooted in place for most of their lives. There are two main types of oysters found in BC – the Olympia Oyster and the Pacific Oyster. Olympia oysters are the smaller of the two and are the only native oyster on the BC coast. It is illegal to keep Olympia oysters due to their dwindling population.

Pacific oysters are the main type of oyster cultured in southern BC waters. They are thicker and larger than Olympia oysters, with a rougher appearance. They come in a number of coloured patterns including browns, greens, and greys with purple fluting. The harvesting of oysters can be done by gathering them up from their beds, either by hand, rake, or special tongs.


types of shellfish in BC - Clams

Clams are another type of bivalve mollusc that are smaller, smoother, and shinier than oysters. Unlike oysters, clams are not rooted to one spot for the duration of their lives. Like oysters, harvesting of clams is done by hand or short / long-handled forks or rakes, depending on the species. Common clam species in BC include: razor clams, butter clams, littleneck clams, Manila clams, and varnish clams. There are also geoduck clams, a somewhat more distinctive clam species with a large visible siphon (neck) and more rectangular shell shape.

Harvesting undersized clams is prohibited, and size limits vary per type of clam. On top of that, certain areas are closed to clam harvesting, due to biotoxins present in the water. Always be sure to check the area’s closure notices before consuming clams in these areas.

Musselstypes of shellfish in BC - Mussels

Mussels are bivalve molluscs similar to clams. Blue mussels are the most commonly found mussels in BC. They have bluish-black shells and a distinctive “D” or flattened teardrop shape. Their interior is a pearly violet or white colour. Mussels in BC live on calm shores in the intertidal zone, latching onto surfaces with their strong byssal threads.

Scallopstypes of shellfish in BC - Scallops

Scallops are yet another common type of marine bivalve mollusc that can be found in BC, particularly the Pink scallop and the Spiny scallop. Spiny scallops are reddish-brown and Pink scallops are pinkish-white. Other types of scallops are farmed throughout the BC coast due to their popularity with seafood lovers. When you think of a seashell – the first image that comes to mind is likely that of the fan-shaped scallop shell.

Crabstypes of shellfish in BC - dungeness crab

Crabs are crustaceans that live pretty much in every ocean around the world. In BC, the Dungeness crab is the most important species of crab sought after by commercial fishermen. They have oval bodies that range from yellow-brown to purplish in colour, four pairs of walking legs, and claws with light-coloured tips. Redrock crabs can also be found in BC. These are the crabs that have the brick red backs, white bellies, and Black-tipped claws.

Because crabs are targeted by so many groups, their harvesting is monitored and regulated heavily throughout the Pacific Ocean.

Shrimptypes of shellfish in BC - Shrimp

Shrimp are small, aquatic, decapod crustaceans, meaning they have exoskeletons and 10 legs. There are seven species of shrimp that commercial fishermen trawl for in BC, including Coonstripe or Dock shrimp, humpback or king shrimp, smooth pink or ocean pink shrimp, spiny pink shrimp, spot shrimp, sidestride or giant shrimp.

Prawnstypes of shellfish in BC - Prawns

Prawns are the largest of the seven commercial species of shrimp in British Columbian waters, with some distinctive differences that set them apart from other shrimp. They are slightly larger than other shrimp and have three sets of claws as legs instead of two. In the kitchen, prawns and shrimp are prepared in similar ways and have similar textures and tastes.

Prawns have smooth glossy bodies and vary in colour from a dark red to an orange-red or pink with several white lines running horizontally across their head.

Abalonetypes of shellfish in BC - Abalone

Abalone are marine gastropod molluscs, a.k.a. sea snails, that come in a range of sizes. They have oval shells with irregular reddish or greenish upper surfaces. Their shells are sometimes marked with blue or white, while the iridescent white shell interior has a faint pink and green sheen. Abalone, once poached for their decorative shells and their meat, were considered to be a delicacy.

Due to overharvesting, harvesting abalone from the ocean is illegal. In BC, it’s the only species of shellfish that is completely banned from harvesting.

types of shellfish in BC - Sea Urchin

Sea Urchins

Sea urchins are not molluscs and they are not crustaceans, yet they fall under the shellfish category. They are managed as shellfish by the DFO, and people who suffer from shellfish allergies must also avoid sea urchins.

Sea urchins are spherical and are covered with hundreds of spikey, moveable spines that look like brush bristles. They grip the seabed with their five tube-like feet. There are hundred of species of urchins in oceans around the world, with the red sea urchins (with longer spines) and green sea urchins (with shorter spines) most common and sought after in BC due to their large lobes. Sea urchins are mainly harvested for their roe (a.k.a. gonads or uni), which has a buttery texture and distinct ocean flavour.

Krilltypes of shellfish in BC - Krill

Krill are tiny crustaceans found in oceans everywhere. Considered zooplankton, krill are an extremely important part of the food chain – they are what feed and nourish countless species of fish and marine mammals. Krill are harvested commercially mainly for fish food to be used in aquariums or in aquaculture and much less than the others for human food.

Sea Cucumberstypes of shellfish in BC - Sea Cucumber

Sea cucumbers are long and cylindrical, hence the name, with tube-like feet that allow them to walk on the ocean floor and tentacles that help them feed. There are about 30 species of sea cucumbers in BC, with the biggest being the giant red sea cucumber at about 2-feet long and weighing up to 1 kg.

Sea cucumbers consist of a firm outer skin and a thick inner muscle with five tendons. The tendons are considered the sea cucumber meat (edible, quite tasty, and used in a variety of dishes). Sea cucumbers are also harvested for their skin, which has health benefits as well as nutritional value.

Learn More

Unlike the salmon, trout, and groundfish of the region, shellfish come with strict warnings around their harvesting and consumption. Some shellfish, especially raw bivalve shellfish that are considered “filter feeders” can carry bacteria, viruses and toxins that can cause foodborne illness. Some shellfish are also often consumed raw, thereby increasing the risk factor. It’s always very important to harvest, store, handle, and prepare shellfish appropriately to avoid getting sick or worse.

For more information on shellfish harvesting, review the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Guides on:

The DFO’s shellfish harvesting guide covers things like identification charts, fishing gear recommendations, general tips, and packaging and storage information.  Always check for marine biotoxin and sanitary contamination closures in the area where you are intending on harvesting.

Looking for a new vessel for catching shellfish? Van Isle Marina in Sidney, BC has a wide range of new and pre-owned  boats for sale, including fishing boats, motorboats, and yachts. Take a look at our current selection online or visit us in person. We are located at 2320 Harbour Road near the Swartz Bay Ferry Terminal.

Riviera Sport Yachts Platinum Edition

Riviera Platinum Edition Sport Yachts Now Available

Riviera’s 6000, 5400, and 4800 Sport Yacht models have all been elevated to Platinum Edition status.

Earlier this year, Riviera – Australia’s premium luxury motor yacht builder – unveiled its stunningly gorgeous Platinum Edition Sport Yachts. The range includes the newly upgraded 6000, 5400, and 4800 Sport Yacht models. Each yacht is a shining example of world-class style, sophistication, and elegance.

News of the Platinum Edition models was made in May 2019 when the owner of Riviera, Rodney Longhurst, along with Riviera’s International Sales Director, Chris McCafferty, and Dealer Relationship Manager, Peter Welch, all waterskied behind a 6000 Sport Yacht bearing the new, distinct Platinum Edition colours – silver grey, black, and white, in Sydney Australia.

The 6000, 5400, and 4800 Sport Yachts, which were already breathtakingly luxurious, are now even more so with the Platinum Edition upgrades that include a new silver grey, black and white colour scheme, more creative uses of floor and storage space, and more state-of-the-art finishing touches and upholstery.

Riviera Platinum Edition Sport Yachts – What’s New?

So much has changed with the debut of the Platinum Edition Sport Yachts from Riviera. As the company’s owner explains in a recent press release: “With the Platinum Edition Sport Yachts, you will see the unmistakable addition of hardtops and targa arches presented in Riviera Platinum Silver, along with a silver/grey upholstered sunbed on the foredeck. Electronic arrays, air vents and boot tops are rendered in a stealth-like black finish.”

Additional Platinum Edition upgrades include high-gloss walnut timber cabinetry and trim, pure wool carpet in the staterooms, more lounges upholstered in soft-touch fabrics, Recaro sports helm seats with Alcantara inserts and contrasting diamond hand-stitching, Sunbrella fabric headliners and wall linings, and new Corian-finished bathroom flooring.

In addition to the above mentioned upgrades, each Riviera Sport yacht model received its own set of upgrades.

Let’s take a closer look at each model’s upgrades:

Riviera 4800 Sport Yacht Platinum Edition

Riviera 4800 Sport Yacht Series II Platinum Edition at Van Isle Marina

Perhaps the sport yacht model with the most upgrades is the Riviera 4800 Sport Yacht – with so many upgrades the model has now been renamed to the ‘Series II’ Platinum Edition. The Riviera 4800 Sport Yacht is perfect for cruising couples and young families with its two beautiful staterooms, two designer bathrooms, and hull length of 45 feet. In addition to the features mentioned above, upgrades made to the platinum edition of the 4800 Sport Yacht include:

  • Improved, more functional layouts
  • New look and feel for the helm (styled in silver grey and black)
  • New cockpit wet bar including benchtop, refrigerator, ice maker, sink, and two-plate electric BBQ
  • New solid-surface bench tops in the galley
  • New saloon and cockpit loungers
  • Extended swim platform
  • New saloon cocktail cabinet with bottle storage drawer and drawers for glass
  • More accommodation deck floor space
  • Larger starboard hanging locker in the master stateroom

Learn more about the Riviera 4800 Sport Yacht Platinum Edition, available in Western Canada through Van Isle Marina.

Riviera 5400 Sport Yacht Platinum EditionRiviera 5400 Sport Yacht Platinum Edition available at Van Isle Marina

The Riviera 5400 Sport Yacht can host larger groups for days or weeks at a time with three beautiful staterooms, two designer bathrooms, and a hull length of 52 feet.

In addition to the upgrades each Sport Yacht received, including a newly styled helm with more instrumentation, the new platinum edition 5400 features a new Riviera Platinum Silver wet bar including benchtop, refrigerator, icemaker, sink and two-plate electric BBQ – meaning less trips back into the main galley.

Learn more about the Riviera 5400 Sport Yacht Platinum Edition, available in Western Canada through Van Isle Marina.

Riviera 6000 Sport Yacht Platinum Edition

Considered the flagship of the Sport Yacht collection, the 6000 has a hull length of 57 feet and features three beautiful staterooms and three designer bathrooms in the Presidential layout, or four staterooms and three bathrooms in the Classic design.

Riviera 6000 Sport Yacht Platinum Edition at Van Isle Marina

In addition to the upgrades each of the Sport Yachts received, the Riviera 6000 Sport Yacht Platinum Edition now comes with:

  • Three joystick control points, with two at the cockpit and one in the helm.
  • Waterfall benchtops and stainless steel sinks and mixer tap in the galley.
  • Extended seating area in the saloon, with the starboard-side lounge now seeing a centre seat base slide out to become an ottoman
  • New-style Pompanette helm seats with Alcantara inserts and feature stitching for the helm station.
  • Black caulking in the teak decks has been replaced with platinum grey.

Learn more about the Riviera 6000 Sport Yacht Platinum Edition, available in Western Canada through Van Isle Marina.

Riviera Platinum Edition Sport Yachts – Where to Buy in Western Canada

The new Riviera 6000, 5400 and 4800 Platinum Edition Sport Yachts are exclusively available in Western Canada through Van Isle Marina. (Please note that the Riviera Sport Yacht line is now only available as the Platinum Edition series.)

Over the past 14 years, Riviera has launched over 560 Sport Yachts. With the unveiling of the Platinum Edition Sport Yachts in spring 2019, the team at Van Isle Marina predicts there will be hundreds more launched in the future – many of which will go to boating enthusiasts in the Pacific Northwest – as Riviera continues to refine and define the luxury sport yacht category around the world.

To learn more about owning a Riviera Motor Yacht, please contact one of our yacht sales brokers and we will be happy to help you build the perfect Riviera Sport Yacht. If you’re looking for something other than a sport yacht, there are five distinct Riviera Collections, including the Enclosed Flybridge Collection, Open Flybridge Collection, the Sport Yacht Collection, the Sport Motor Yacht Collection, and the SUV Collection.

Wildlife of Vancouver Island

Wildlife of Vancouver Island

Types of Wild Animals on Vancouver Island

Between the months of May and October, Vancouver Island comes alive with wildlife sightings. From land animals such as bears, cougars, and deer, to marine animals like whales, otters, and salmon, Vancouver Island is bursting with wildlife. Here are some of the different types of wildlife living on and around Vancouver Island on Canada’s West Coast – look out for them from the deck of your boat or yacht, or while on land for a hike.

In the Water


Fish found around Vancouver Island

From the five types of pacific salmon, to the various types of trout, dozens of rockfish species, and several varieties of shellfish, Vancouver Island is teeming with fish for locals and visitors to catch, eat, or watch. Popular target species that are commercially important to the region include salmon, trout, and halibut, as well as shellfish such as crabs, prawns, mussels, and Olympia Oysters. Pacific herring are also an important fish in the area, sought after for their roe and to use as live bait for the larger, more lucrative fish species.

Sea OttersVancouver Island Wildlife - Sea Otter

Members of the weasel family, there are two distinct species of otters that can be seen around Vancouver Island: river otters and sea otters. Around the Island, river otters are more commonly spotted than sea otters. River otters inhabit coastal shorelines, rivers, streams, wetlands, ponds, and lakes – they are seemingly everywhere!

Sea LionsVancouver Island Wildlife - Sea Lion

Sea lions, which resemble seals but are not the same animal, are hungry for the region’s pacific salmon, making them unpopular with fishermen in the area. There are two common types of sea lion around the Island: California sea lions and Steller sea lions. You can tell them apart by their colouring. California sea lions are dark brown, while Steller sea lions are a lighter tan colour, or sometimes reddish brown. The two types tend to co-mingle in the same areas.

Harbour Seals

Wildlife around Vancouver Island - Harbour Seal

Harbour seals are mammals in the Pinniped (“feather foot”) family and can be found around the world. You’ll likely see them from your boat or from the shore napping on rocky reefs, sand bars or boulders up and down Vancouver Island. Unlike sea lions, seals do not have external ear flaps, and they are greyish in colour rather than brown. They have short, furry front flippers and cannot raise their head and shoulders well while on land, so they constantly appear to be sleeping.

Whales & Dolphins

Pacific gray whales and orcas are the two most common types of whales you’ll find around Vancouver Island, but there are also humpbacks too! While whales can be seen at any time of year, May to October is the optimal time for whale watching in the region.

  • More than 20,000 pacific gray whales make their migration north up the west coast during March and April, making boating in this region at this time of year extra exciting.Orcas - found around Vancouver Island
  • Orcas are the black and white whales of the region. They are always making headlines in the local news as they are favoured by locals. Resident orcas are either Northern residents or Southern residents. Both types are comfortable around boats and have been known to get close to boaters, so keep your camera handy!
  • Humpback whales are more common around Telegraph Cove, Port McNeil, and the Pacific Rim. They are the largest whales in the area, known as much for their song as they are for their sheer size and beautiful breaches.

Sometimes while whale watching, you might come across a school of 50-100 Pacific White-Sided dolphins – another wildlife popular amongst locals and visitors alike. These mammals are playful and often seen jumping along or behind the boats they encounter. You’ll find plenty of dolphins in the Johnstone Strait heading north to the Queen Charlotte Islands.

On Land

Whitetail deer found on Vancouver Island


Deer are plentiful on Vancouver Island. You won’t be able to get far into the wilderness on the island without spotting one! BC is home to mule deer, black-tailed deer, and white-tailed deer. They can be found everywhere from the valleys, to the mountains, coastal rainforests, and dry interior grasslands. Deer are also prevalent in residential neighbourhoods, which create conflict for homeowners as they graze in gardens and create traffic hazards.

Black Bears

Black bear sightings are common on Vancouver Island during spring and summer, as the region is home to around 7,000 black bears (but zero grizzly bears). Although black bears prefer wooded areas near rivers, they sometimes make their way into residential neighbourhoods and busy campsites in search of food.

Black Bears of Vancouver Island

Pacific Rim National Park Reserve on the west coast of Vancouver Island is a great spot for viewing black bears, although there are dozens of other areas up and down the Island where you might come across one. If your boat can get close enough to the shore, be on the lookout for bears as they have been known to hang out on the shoreline hunting for food.


Cougars are home on Vancouver Island

Cougar sightings on Vancouver Island are less common than black bear sightings, but they do happen – often by unsuspecting locals on the trails or even in their backyards. Cougars are exceptionally dangerous creatures, considered to be the most feared cat in North America, so if you see one it’s best if it’s from an enclosed area. Like bears, hungry cougars make their way to urban areas when they are searching for food in the warmer months.

In BC, dangerous wildlife are handled by the BC Conservation Officer Service (COS) – a public safety provider focused on natural resource law enforcement and human wildlife conflicts prevention and response.


Racoons are medium-sized mammals, and while they are intelligent creatures, they aren’t necessarily a type of wildlife you’ll be seeking out. They do, however, exist in droves on Vancouver Island. InWild animals on Van Isle - Racoon residential areas especially, racoons are more of a nuisance than anything, as they lurk in the darkness and topple over garbage cans to “dumpster dive” in search of sustenance.

Grey Wolves

Grey Wolves of Vancouver IslandIt’s unlikely you’ve come across a Vancouver Island wolf, but they are here on the Island in limited numbers in forested and semi-forested parts of the northern region, as well as areas around Port Renfrew and Clayoquat Sound. The Grey wolves on Vancouver Island are lighter in colour than their mainland relatives and are considered shy and elusive, making them even harder to spot. If you see a grey wolf and wonder, could that be a coyote? The answer is no – there are no coyotes on Vancouver Island (but there are many living on the Lower Mainland).

In the Air

BirdsBirds of Prey Vancouver Island - Bald Eagle

There are hundreds of different birds circling above Vancouver Island at any given time, making the area a birder’s paradise. The mightiest one to watch soaring through the sky is the Bald Eagle, which captivates locals as much as visitors. The island also has plenty of sparrows, blue jays, swallows, woodpeckers, owls, hummingbirds, and hawks.

There is also a wide range of seabirds living on Vancouver Island, including several species of gulls, skimmers, shearwaters, terns, puffins, plovers, kingfishers, herons, ducks, loons, and albatrosses. With so many seabirds in the area, there are plenty of opportunities for birdwatching from your boat.


brown bats apenty on Vancouver Island

Less of a type of wildlife to admire out in the wild, and more of a pest to protect your house from, are bats. Vancouver Island is home to 16 species of bats, with the Little Brown Bat being the most common. Bats are a special type of mammal and are an integral part of our ecosystem, as they are great insect eaters and their guano is used as plant fertilizer.


Spend any amount of time on and around Vancouver Island and you’ll quickly come to realize the region is filled with all sorts of wildlife. In and amongst all the flora and fauna of the region, Vancouver Island offers many amazing opportunities for wildlife viewing, whether by boat or by foot. It’s one of the things this region is known for, and one of the many things that draws thousands of visitors to the waters surrounding Van Isle Marina each year. Come for our large marina, stay for our wildlife sightings.

Pursuit Boats Dealer for Western Canada

Van Isle Marina is now the Western Canada Exclusive Dealer for Pursuit Boats.

At Van Isle Marina, we are constantly adding to our inventory of highly desirable, dependable, luxury yachts and quality boats. In addition to our wide selection of pre-owned boats and Riviera yachts for sale, we are extremely excited to announce we are the new, exclusive Western Canada dealer for Pursuit Boats.

Pursuit Boats builds outboard-powered boats that are innovative and of high quality. This established brand is also leading sales in North America within its category. These exhilarating boats are purpose-built for recreational activities such as water sports, diving, fishing, adventure and entertaining.

Established in 1977 by Leon Slikkers, Pursuit Boats designs and manufactures a wide range of fishing and cruising boats in four distinct categories, including the Centre Console, Dual Console, Offshore, and Sport categories. In 2018, Pursuit Boats officially joined the Malibu Boats family, giving them even more prestige and distinction in the industry.

With Van Isle Marina’s new partnership with Pursuit, we are now offering boaters in Western Canada many more boat models to choose from, ranging from 23 to 40 feet.

The Pursuit Promise

Pursuit Boats are designed, developed, and manufactured in the United States and are known for their proven hulls, refined lamination techniques, and vacuum-infused stringer grids.

In addition, each Pursuit model comes with attractive warranties, such as:

  • an ultra-premium gelcoat backed by a five-year hull blister warranty;
  • a transferable five-year hull and deck structural warranty; and
  • a transferable two-year component warranty.

Pursuit Boats has something for every level of boater, from new boaters looking to make their first purchase, to fishermen looking to take their comfort and style to the next level, to boat owners looking to diversify or add to their fleets. Every Pursuit Boat model offers yacht-quality amenities suitable for long-range, offshore cruising as well as in-shore activities.

The Pursuit OS325 has arrived at our sales dock this month (September 2019), with the OS355 arriving in December 2019.

Meet the Pursuit OS325

The OS325 is perfectly sized and comes with twin Yamaha F300 engines for comfortable cruising speeds of 30 mph or you can always push it up to 48 mph. The beauty of each Pursuit Boat starts with the hand-laminated hull with moulded hull side frameless tempered glass windows that add a beautiful touch. A boarding ladder is moulded into the hull for a seamless look. Choose from a variety of hull, helm, boot stripe, and interior colour packages.

With the OS325 you also get a truly appointment enclosed helm station that is topped with a moulded fibreglass hardtop and features year-round climate control. You’ll also enjoy this model’s comfortable cabin, JL audio equipment, LED lighting throughout, stainless steel finishing touches, anchoring system, and port galley equipped with a fridge, microwave, sink, cooktop, and smart storage space.

In the cockpit, an entertainment centre comes with a sink, cutting board, dedicated storage, 120V outlet, and a grill top to give yourself more cooking options.

The interior cabin is accented with hardwood and is smartly laid out with seating that converts into a berth with storage space below. A solid wood table with power adjustable pedestal also adds more ways to enjoy the interior space. Nearby, the head feels luxurious with its glass bowl sink with Corian countertop, vanity mirror, and pullout shower wand.

Like all Pursuit Boats, the OS325 features upholstery and canvas components that are fabricated in-house and installed by Pursuit’s highly skilled technicians. Dri-Fast foam and mesh backing allows the cockpit seating and cushions to drain completely.

The OS325 is also made for fishing, with rod holders, a 24-gallon recirculating live well, under gunwale rod storage, fish boxes, and cockpit tackle centre. Overall, the Pursuit OS325 – now available in Western Canada through Van Isle Marina in Sidney, BC –  is plenty of boat in an impressive package.

Showcasing the Pursuit Brand

To showcase all the exceptional design and engineering qualities Pursuit is known for, the Van Isle Marina sales team will have the Pursuit OS325 on display at the Nanaimo Boat Show on September 19-22, 2019. This boat show, now in its fifth year, is a family- and pet-friendly, event with food and beverage service, live music, and a kid’s zone. Enjoy 4 days of boats at the Waterfront Suites and Marina in Nanaimo. Attendees can walk through the fully tented exhibit as well as tour boats on the water.

The showcasing of the Pursuit OS325 in September signifies the start of a new partnership between Van Isle Marina and Pursuit.

Pursuit OS355

The Pursuit OS355 is another model in Pursuit’s Offshore collection that we are excited to welcome to our marina. The OS355 is slightly longer than the OS325, with all of the quality features and gorgeous stylings Pursuit is known for. It has slightly more power, with Twin Yamaha XTO Offshore 425 hp 5.6 L V8 four stroke engines and direct fuel injection.

You can learn more about Pursuit Boats through our website. Watch the available videos and scroll through the photo galleries to preview the thrilling model range and everything Pursuit has to offer.

The Pursuit Boat brand is aligned with Riviera Yachts and we here at Van Isle Marina are excited to be part of the dealer network. We look forward to taking you on an exhilarating sea trial on these performance boats!

At Van Isle Marina in Sidney, BC, we look forward to matching you with the best Pursuit Boat for your boating needs. We’d love to chat more at an upcoming boat show, or you can come see us anytime and we will help you build your perfect Pursuit. We are located at 2320 Harbour Road. Find out how to get here.

Common types of ground fish in BC waters

Kinds of Groundfish in BC Waters

The Most Common Types of Groundfish in British Columbia Waters

With so many species of fish living in BC waters, there is something to fish for at practically any time of year. In addition to the highly sought-after pacific salmon and freshwater trout, another extremely popular type of fish that draws anglers to our region is groundfish.

What are Groundfish?

Pacific Longspine thorny head

The term groundfish refers to an extremely broad category of fish species that live and feed near or on the bottom of the lake, river, or ocean in which they inhabit. Groundfish are sometimes also referred to as bottom feeders, or “demersal” fish.

In British Columbia, the most common types of groundfish that anglers target include flounder (including halibut and sole), lingcod, pacific cod, and rockfish species. Most groundfish don’t migrate far, tending to stay localized to one area for the course of their lives. The saltwater groundfish highlighted here can all be found deep within BC waters at various times of the year.

Below is our breakdown of the most common types of groundfish found in British Columbia.


Flounders are a group of fish belonging to the flatfish family, which also includes halibut and sole. When compared to halibut, which are in a category all their own due to their sheer size, flounders are smaller, shorter, and rounder – with smaller teeth and more prominent mouths.

Pacific flounder are edible – their flesh is low in fat, soft-textured, and has a very mild flavour. It tastes best when lightly sautéed or braised. Two common types of flounder found in BC waters and fish markets are the starry flounder and the arrowtooth flounder.

Starry flounder have black and white or orange bands around their dorsal and anal fins and weigh anywhere from one to more than 10 pounds. They can grow to be around three-feet long and prefer the sandy and muddy deep seas of the Northern Pacific. Arrowtooth flounder are another type of pacific flounder that grow to be a similar size, with brownish coloured bodies and large, toothy mouths.


Halibut are actually in the flounder family but remain in a category all their own to distinguish them as a highly prized, edible fish. Halibut are a saltwater groundfish with a very distinctive body style. They are a larger type of flatfish species with their top side being brown and underbelly side being white. They swim sideways, camouflaging themselves with the seabed like most flatfish.

Halibut have large, elongated, diamond-shaped bodies and broad tails. Highly sought after for their valuable meat, halibut are a fun and rewarding fish to fish for. There are, however, strict limits in place to protect halibut numbers. You are not allowed to keep halibut that exceed 126 cm in length, including the head, and the daily catch limit for halibut is one.



Lingcod, which are not actually ling or cod but resemble a mix of both those fish – are large saltwater fish that are easily attracted to both live bait and lures. Lingcod (aka ling cod, buffalo cod or cultus cod) can weight up to 130 pounds and grow to be more than 4 feet in length with long, slender bodies that are either brown or green with orange spots. Their heads are larger than their bodies, and their fang-like teeth give them an even more distinctive appearance.

Lingcod is a great fish to eat and can be prepared a number of ways, such as grilling and steaming. Lingcod are found on the west coast at depths of 1,500 feet or more.

Pacific Cod

Pacific cod

Pacific Cod have elongated bodies with three dorsal fins and squarish tails. They are brown to grey on their dorsal side, while underneath they are pale grey to white. Pacific cod have long chin barbel and on average weigh 2 to 5 kilograms but can grow to more than one metre long and weigh more than 20 kilograms. They travel in large schools down to depths of around 900 metres.

Pacific cod are also called grey cod or greyfish and are an important food species for North American and Japanese markets, which makes them another highly regulated groundfish. They taste best when bak

ed, broiled, boiled, steamed, deep-fried, and mixed in stews and chowders. Cod is truly a versatile fish.


Rockfish is a broad term for a several species of groundfish that live specifically in rocky seabeds, as opposed to sandy or muddy seab

eds. In BC, common types of rockfish include copper rockfish, black rockfish, canary rockfish and quillback rockfish, among others. Most rockfish are edible, with a mild, sweet flavor and nutty accent.

Rockfish range in appearance from solid coloured, mottled colour, or banded colourations. Many are actually named after their colourings. Rockfish are members of the Scorpaenidae family (scorpionfish), meaning they have varying degrees of mildly venomous spines. Their dorsal fins are tall and deeply incised so as to appear jagged or spikey. The eyes of most rockfish are big and bulbous.

Yelloweye Rockfish

Pacific Yelloweye Rockfish and Longspine Thornyhead

Two common types of rockfish you might have seen at seafood markets are the Pacific yelloweye rockfish, a.k.a. “Pacific red snapper” and the Pacific longspine thornyhead.

Pacific red snapper is the largest West Coast scorpionfish, growing up to 1 metre long, weighing around 23 kilograms, and living to be up to 120 years old.  Pacific red snapper is orangey yellow with a bit of pink on the back and sides. It’s a prized fish around the Lower Mainland especially for commercial and recreational groundfish fisheries for its large size and excellent meat quality.

The Pacific longspine thornyhead is another unique deep-sea rockfish around the Lower Mainland in that it can survive many months between meals, live up to 50 years, and has distinctive bulbous eyeballs. Commercially speaking, longspine thornyheads are caught primarily for the Japanese market.


what does sole look like

Sole is a broad term for several species of smaller flatfish within the flounder-groundfish category. In the Pacific Ocean, the two most common types of sole are English Sole and Rock sole. Both types have a diamond-shaped, flattened body that easily skims along the ocean floor. Both have small, pointed heads with rounded, fan-like tails and long, flat fins on each side of their bodies.

Rock sole have a brown and grey mottled body that blends in with the ocean floor and a blind side that is white with a pink tinge. English sole is more of a solid brown colour with a blind side that is white or slightly yellowed.

There is also the Pacific Dover sole found at seafood markets that resembles the common sole of Europe – the Dover sole. Pacific Dover sole are solid brown in colour and excrete a mucous onto their skin, making them a slippery catch.

In general, sole can grow to about 50-60 centimetres long and are usually found at depths of less than 150 metres, though they can survive depths of down to 500 metres.

Learn More

For help identifying any of the groundfish mentioned above, consult the DFO’s groundfish identification guide. Properly identifying your catch is important to help you stay within your daily catch limits administered by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO). No matter what type of fish you set out to catch, make sure you’re aware of the DFO’s freshwater and saltwater fishing regulations

Looking for a new vessel for catching groundfish? Van Isle Marina in Sidney, BC has a wide range of new and pre-owned yachts and boats for sale. Take a look at our current selection online, or visit us in person  at 2320 Harbour Road near the Swartz Bay Ferry Terminal.


12 Things to Do on Your Riviera 64 Sports Motor Yacht

The new 64 Sports Motor Yacht Model from Riviera is set to premiere in 2020

At Van Isle Marina, we are extremely excited and looking forward to the launch of the newest yacht from Riviera – the 64 Sports Motor Yacht, debuting in 2020.

The 64 Sports Motor Yacht is the latest addition to Riviera’s long range cruising family, featuring the collection’s signature spacious cockpit, sporty looks, and sporting performance. The model’s incredible hull was designed in partnership with esteemed naval architects, Mulder Design of the Netherlands, who have created some of the world’s fastest super yachts, so we have a strong feeling this yacht is going to exceed all expectations.Riviera 64 Sports Motor Yacht

In addition to your four entertainment areas onboard, including the impressive mezzanine and cockpit, saloon, enclosed flybridge, and foredeck, the 64’ gives you the choice of three or four staterooms and the option of an aft crew cabin or extra storage space.

With so many of the luxurious features that Riviera is known for also on board, you and your loved ones will be able to enjoy all of your favourite yachting activities in comfort and class. While the number of things you will be able to do on board your new 64’ is virtually limitless, here are our top 12 suggestions.

1. Reel in a Big One

The 64’ Sports Motor Yacht from Riviera is an angler’s dream with its large self-draining cockpit, eight rod holders on the aft rail, and an enormous amount of storage space for your tackle and daily catches. There are large tackle lockers in the transom, more lockers in the side coaming, and deep fish bins in the floor.

For the more serious fishermen, an optional live bait tank can be plumbed right into the transom in lieu of the standard wet locker.

2. Go for a Swim

Enjoy the large swimming platform off the back of your yacht after dropping anchor near or far from the shoreline. The wide and deep boarding and swimming platform comes with an inbuilt swim ladder, making swimming off the back of your yacht a breeze. Just add some floaties and you’re good to go!

Remember to always keep an eye on the children onboard, wear waterproof sunscreen, and encourage wearing life jackets.

3. Prepare Home-cooked Meals

Whether it’s in your thoughtfully laid-out gourmet galley, or outdoors grilling up the catch of the day in the BBQ centre, cooking onboard the 64’ Sports Motor Yacht will be just like cooking at home, or better!

Cook up a huge feast for all your guests in your C-shaped kitchen equipped with a full-height refrigerator with two freezer drawers, a three-burner electric cooktop, twin sinks, dishwasher, and microwave convection oven.

The triangular working area is so efficiently set up on this model and the nearby saloon means plenty of room for you to socialize with guests while preparing the dinner.

4. Day Trip the Beach

front of the 64 riviera sports motor yachtWhile cruising up and down the coastlines, why not head back to shore for a few hours? Doing so is easy using your 3.6-metre tender with 50hp jet. Simply launch it via a low-profile davit from your foredeck.

Stuck on where to go? From Van Isle Marina in Sidney, BC – where you will be acquainted with your new yacht as soon as she arrives from Australia – head north to any of our favourite boat-only destinations on and around Vancouver Island.

From any of our spectacular beaches, you can go for a hike, do some birdwatching, and simply appreciate the beautiful nature all around you.

5. Watersports

The 64’ Sports Motor Yacht is designed for the ultimate mix of watersports by delivering a ton of storage space for your water toys, including your stand-up paddleboards, kayaks, and snorkelling and diving equipment.

6. Whale Watching

Watch for whales from practically anywhere on your yacht, but especially the foredeck, where there is a large lounge area and ample leg room for all. Don’t forget the binoculars and a camera to take photos or videos!

7. Cool Off

Life on a yacht typically means a lot of time spent outdoors. After eating breakfast, followed by hours in the sun, at the end of the day you’re likely to want a place to cool off.

Not to worry, the 64’ allows plenty of shelter from the sun, while still allowing you to view the outdoors with the one-way-vision glass panels extending from the cabin superstructure.

Additionally, the mezzanine can be enclosed and the air-conditioning cranked for maximum cooling comfort when you’re craving the cold. You can find similar relief in any of the staterooms.

8. Cocktail Party

Turn your cockpit into a cocktail party easily enough with the nearby wet bar that includes a 190-litre refrigerator, 100-litre icebox, and sink.

An adjacent BBQ centre with twin barbecue plates and fibreglass benchtop ensure there’s enough space to prepare appetizers to go with the cocktails. The conversation will soon be flowing around the folding feature teak  table.

If it’s wine you would rather, choose something from your 27-bottle wine fridge within your galley – where there is also a glass storage area.

9. Host a Child’s Birthday Party

Be the coolest mom, dad, or grandparent around by hosting your child or grandchild’s birthday party on board your yacht this year. We believe it will be one of the most memorable parties they’ve ever had!

After an afternoon of fun in the sun, there’s plenty enough room to keep everyone together for games and snacks with the galley, foredeck, or mezzanine. You’ll be able to keep an eye on everyone from the saloon. For supervising the littles ones, there is plush seating for four or five guests on the port side of the saloon, along with three director’s chairs and more seating at the starboard-side dinette.

64 sports motor yacht

10. Retreat to Relaxation

After a long day enjoying the water, head up to the enclosed flybridge to your first-class lounge where you can sit back, relax, and marvel at the beauty of the Pacific Northwest coastlines all around you. When you’re ready to tune-out completely, you can do so with your favourite show or sports team on the flybridge’s large flat screen TV – which is just one of a few TVs onboard.

11. Go Bluewater Cruising

The Riviera 64’ Sports Motor Yacht is designed for some serious bluewater cruising, with a massive 22.5kW genset, 6500-litre fuel tank capacity, and standard twin MAN V8 1300hp (970 kW) diesels.

And did we say storage? On top of the storage mentioned in the cockpit, the staterooms offer 9 storage areas in total, while the foredeck offers heaps more storage space so you’ll be able to store everything you need for weeks and months out on the open water.

For safety’s sake, take comfort in the model’s life raft and safety cell, which are housed at the rear of the bridge.

12. Do Your Laundry & Sleep Soundly

If you’ll be yachting for extended periods – just what the 64’ Sports Motor Yacht is designed for – you’ll appreciate the model’s large laundry closet with separate washer and dryer.

Exhausted from a day outdoors, when you retire for the evening, you’ll find the accommodations onboard the 64’ to be spacious, luxurious, and comfortable. You’ll feel so well rested after being lulled to sleep in your full-beam master stateroom complete with a central king-sized bed with plush headboard.

You’ll also appreciate the comfort of the room’s lush carpet, elegant LED lighting overhead, bedside tables, 40-inch LED TV, and large hull picture windows. Your guests are also sure to sleep well in their VIP guest stateroom with a queen-sized bed or the additional guest stateroom with two adult-sized single beds.

To learn more about this exciting new model, contact our yacht brokers at 250.656.1138.

Read More:

More Information on the Riviera Sports Motor Yacht Collection

With the addition of the 64’ coming in 2020, the Riviera Sports Motor Yacht Line is now up to four models. The new 64’ fits nicely in between the 68 Sports Motor Yacht, which debuted in 2017, and the 72 Sports Motor Yacht, which debuted in 2018, giving new owners a more mid-size option.

So why add to the line? Riviera saw plenty of success with its earlier Sports Motor Yacht models, and the 64’ is already garnering plenty of interest worldwide.

“The Sports Motor Yacht philosophy has been well embraced the world over, with over 20 yachts purchased by owners in Europe, the Americas, New Zealand and Australia over the past 18 months,” stated Rodney Longhurst, Riviera Australia owner, in a press release. “Our highly experienced international design team has risen to the challenge of optimizing the onboard space, ensuring the yacht offers beauty, amenity and functionality,” he adds.

As with all Riviera models, this newest addition also has a glass cockpit, touchscreen displays, fingertip joystick control, electric steering, and state of the art electronic and engine systems. You won’t believe how incredibly fun and easy to operate Riviera Sports Motor Yachts can be!

Additional Riviera Collections

In addition to the Sports Motor Yacht collection, Riviera offers models in the Open and Enclosed Flybridge Collections, the Sports Yacht Collection, and the SUV Collection. As Western Canada’s exclusive authorized dealer of Riviera Australia’s luxury motor yachts, Van Isle Marina’s yacht brokers would be pleased to match you with the best Riviera yacht to suit your needs.

Find more information on each of Riviera yachts on our website, or contact one of our Yacht Sales Brokers, at 250.656.1138. You can also come to Sidney, BC to see us in person. We look forward to showing you our boats!


Types of Trout in British Columbia Waters

Kinds of Trout in BC Waters

Types of Trout You’ll Find in Waters Around British Columbia

With so many species of fish to fish for in BC waters, there is something to catch at practically anytime of year. In addition to pacific salmon, another extremely popular fish that draws anglers to our region is trout. You’ll find this post on the different types of trout helpful if you’re planning a trip to the Pacific Northwest, or if you are a local who just wants to freshen up on your familiarity of the main types of trout in British Columbia.

What Makes a Trout a Trout?

“Trout” is a common name for several different species of freshwater fish that belong  to the genera Oncorhynchus, Salmo, and Salvelinus. These genera are members of the sub-family Salmoninae (of the family Salmonidae).

How are Trout and Salmon Different?

Trout and salmon are closely related – so much so that some anglers and scientists have difficulties classifying each individual species. To the untrained eye, a trout can resemble a salmon and vice versa. As such, some anglers refer to trout as salmon, which isn’t technically wrong, but generally in the fishing community, a trout is a trout and a salmon is a salmon (a salmon being 1 of the 5 pacific salmon native to BC waters).

However, there is still an ongoing debate among some fishermen on whether steelhead are salmon or not, due to them having similar migration patterns to saltwater – unlike the other trout, most of which are freshwater fish. Just like salmon, there are certain species of trout native to the BC region.

Salmon and trout have many similarities – they are both considered oily fish, they are both regulated in BC, and they both taste great, with trout being slightly bonier and often being cooked whole. And they are all a joy to catch! Because salmon and trout are so similar, anglers are happy catching either one when out on the lake or river.

Salmon vs. Trout – Visual Differences

Salmon and trout look similar, but there are key differences, mainly:

  1. The tail of a trout is square, or slightly convex, rather than concave, like that of a salmon.
  2. A trout has a large number of markings below its lateral line, whereas a salmon has very few.
  3. A trout has a wide tail base, with no noticeable wrist, while a salmon’s tail base in narrow and has a noticeable wrist.

Another way to tell the difference between salmon and trout is by counting the rays on the anal fin. Trout have 12 or less rays, while salmon have 13+

Different Types of Trout

trout in bc waters - rainbow troutRainbow Trout are among the most popular target species for recreational freshwater anglers. Several lakes across BC are regularly and heavily stocked with rainbow trout for this reason. They can be caught year-round in streams, lakes, and estuaries. They taste great and are a source of pride to catch given that they can be aggressive, strong feeders.

Rainbow trout come in all sizes, shapes, and colours, and weigh anywhere from 1 to 10 lbs. They are generally characterized by the small spots on the dorsal section, usually above the lateral line, and their bold red stripe running the length of their body. There are four strains of rainbow trout cultured at hatcheries in BC: Fraser Valley, Pennask, Blackwater, and Gerrard rainbow trout.


Trout in British Columbia Waters - Steelhead Trout

Steelhead Trout are actually sea-run rainbow trout popular for their size, strength, speed, and stamina. These larger, anadromous rainbow trout can weigh anywhere from 5-25 lbs. when returning from the ocean. There are both winter-run steelhead and summer-run steelhead characterized by their elongated, metallic silver bodies during their ocean phase.

They have small black spots along their back above the lateral line and square tails. Historically, steelhead trout were called steelhead salmon or salmon trout.


Trout around BC - Cutthroat TroutCoastal Cutthroat Trout or “coastal cutties” have blue or greenish backs, heavily spotted bodies, and a faint red-orange slash of colour under the jaw, giving them a unique appearance. They are about 10-16 inches long. They have been known to mingle in saltwater every now and then, but they are highly mobile and have irregular lifecycles, making them an elusive, challenging catch.


Trout found in BC - Westslope Cutthroat TroutWestslope Cutthroat Trout have bright orange to red slashes underneath their gill plate as well, and a heavily spotted body (more so on the posterior half of the body), but their colouring is orange, yellow or olive. Their large mouth extends well past their eye. They are generally between 10 and 20 inches in length, although occasionally bigger fish can be encountered.


BC's Trout - BulltroutBull Trout are lesser known than other fish species on this list, but they are making a comeback. They can be detected by the whitish and pinkish spots along their entire body, and large, broadened heads, oval, snakelike bodies, and white leading edges on lower fins. They often get confused with another trout species – the dolly varden.


Dolly Varden Trout - in and around BCDolly Varden have small heads and oval, snake-like bodies. They have whitish to pinkish spots, and no worm-like markings on the dorsal fin. Dolly varden resemble bull trout and for many years it was believed they were the same fish.


Trout found in BC waters - Brook troutBrook Trout are native to eastern Canada and have recently been brought to BC to stock lakes. They are short in length but girthy and grow to weigh about 1-4 lbs. They are relatively easy to catch with simple spoons and spinners.


Trout in British Columbia - Kokanee TroutKokanee are actually considered landlocked sockeye salmon, although they are significantly smaller and never make it out of freshwater. They are simple enough to catch but are quite feisty and hard to keep on the line.

If you’re new to fishing, a fish identification guide will help you accurately identify the species of fish you catch in order to stay within your daily catch limits.


Daily Quotas: Wild Origin vs Hatchery Origin Trout

To help protect trout populations in BC, daily quotas of 4 hatchery-origin trout are in place around Vancouver Island. Only 1 over 50 cm is allowed, or 2 hatchery steelhead over 50 cm are allowed.

You must release:

  • All wild steelhead
  • All wild trout from streams
  • All char (includes Dolly Varden)

Note: There is no general minimum size limit for trout in lakes or hatchery origin trout in streams. Learn how to identify a wild trout vs a hatchery origin trout.

Know Before You Go: Be sure you’re aware of the freshwater and saltwater fishing regulations put forth by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) before heading out fishing anywhere in Canada.

Tips for Eating Trout

Trout is usually eaten as a whole fish but can be filleted or chopped as well in a pinch. A fresh, healthy whole trout will be shiny, smell OK, and have firm flesh and clear eyes. The skin of trout is safe and nutritious to consume, unless the trout is really big and old and has lived in polluted water.

For more information on what other types of fish can be found in BC’s lakes, rivers, and coastlines, check out the provincial government’s list of the most common sport fish in BC.

Read More: The 5 Types of Salmon in BC Waters

Looking for a new boat for trout fishing in BC? Van Isle Marina has a wide range of boat services and boats and yachts for sale moored at our docks. We can also tell you our favourite spots for catching fish by boat. Learn more about our boats online, or come see us at 2320 Harbour Road in Sidney, British Columbia near Swartz Bay Ferry Terminal.

marine navigation basics

Basics of Marine Navigation

Marine Navigation Basics – How to Navigate a Boat

Whether your watercraft of choice is a speedboat, yacht, or something in between, knowing the basics of marine navigation is absolutely essential when you’re spending time on the water. Below is Van Isle Marina staff’s quick guide to the basics of navigation. We’ve included some short definitions to go with our roundup of the traditional manual tools that truly experienced sailors swear by, as well as electronic devices with all the bells and whistles.Navigation buoys

Marine Navigation – Learning Your Directions

Latitude & Longitude – A coordinate system that allows you to pinpoint exactly where you are on Earth, whether on land or at sea. Latitude measures north & south, while longitude measures east & west.

True North – Also known as geodetic north, this marks the position of the geographic North Pole according to the position of the Earth’s axis. Not to be confused with the magnetic North Pole, which shifts by kilometres every year due to moving sea ice, the geographic North Pole is where the lines of longitude converge. The same is true for the South Pole.

Knots – 1 knot or kn is 1.15 mph or 1.852 km/h, a measure of speed for boats and aircraft.  This unit of measurement has been used since the 17th century, when the speed of ships was measured by a rudimentary device made of coiled rope with evenly spaced knots.

This rope was attached to a pie-shaped piece of wood that floated behind the ship and was let out for a certain amount of time. When the line was pulled back in, the number of knots (roughly the speed of the ship) between the wood and the ship were counted.

Nautical Mile – A nautical mile is equal to one minute of latitude and is based on the Earth’s circumference. One nautical mile equals 1.1508 statute (land measured) miles.

Marine Navigation – Tools Marine Navigation - magnetic compass

Magnetic Compass – Tried and true, and something that every sailor should have on hand since it doesn’t require any electricity to operate. The magnetic compass points to magnetic north and you can read your direction using the needle or the “lubber line.” There are 360 degrees, with 0 degrees to the north, 180 degrees to the south, 90 degrees to the east, and 270 degrees to the west. The direction your boat is heading in measured in degrees relative to magnetic north.

Rules – A set of parallel rulers that determine the angle (degrees) between the starting point and destination. They are attached by swivelling arms that you can “walk” across a nautical chart, while maintaining the correct angle.

Dividers – Used to measure distance on a nautical chart, dividers are used to separate two points on the chart to represent one or many nautical miles.

GPS – Global Positioning System (GPS) devices receive signals from satellites to pinpoint your position, plot your course, and determine speed. They’re increasingly popular among boaters for their simplicity, ranging from very basic to high end, complete with depth alarms and chart plotters, among other extras.

Marine Navigational Aids

marine navigation - buoys

Buoy – An anchored buoy serves as a marker for watercraft. Port hand buoys are green and mark the left side of a passage, or an obstruction in the water. Starboard hand buoys are red and mark the right side of a passage, or an obstruction in the water. A simple rule is to keep green buoys on the left side and red buoys on the right to keep with traffic and avoid hazards. Buoys also come in different shapes and sizes.

Cardinal Marks – There are north, south, east, and west cardinal buoys, which mark the safest direction to travel. These may have a white light on top that each follow a specific pattern, and they’re coloured for easy direction identification:

  • North- Painted black on top, yellow on bottom
  • South- Painted yellow on top, black on bottom
  • East- Painted black on top and bottom, yellow in the middle
  • West- Painted yellow on top and bottom, black in the middle

See complete details on the different types of marks.

Lights – Lights used on buoys for marine navigation are all assigned specific patterns of speed and number of flashes. Cardinal buoys have white lights with a flashing speed and pattern that corresponds to the position on an analog clock. For instance, east buoys flash at a rate of 3 times every 10 seconds.  Special types of buoys, like anchorage buoys and cautionary buoys have a yellow light that flashes once every 4 seconds.

marine navigation - paper charts

Paper Charts – A paper chart is still the most reliable form of charting when on the water and is used to plot courses between point A and point B, determine depth of water, any charted obstructions, navigation aids, and information on currents and tides.

Electronic Charts –  The Electronic Navigational Chart (ENC) uses computer software and databases to provide details for charting when on the water, ENC’s use a dynamic map that shows your location in real time. The most complex are Vector charts, which allow you to filter out any layers of

Marine Navigation - Electronic charts

information you may not need at all times, such as location of buoys, direction of current or depth of water.  This navigational tool can be used on a waterproof chart plotter, smartphone or tablet, and laptop.

Read More: Important Items to Bring on Your Boat


Whether you’re brand new to boating or a seasoned skipper, we at Van Isle Marina believe it never hurts to brush up on the basics to ensure everyone has a great—and safe—time on the water. Rely on our expertise to help you choose the navigation tools and equipment that are right for you, and pick up a cruising guide, chart or tide book, or other supplies for your aquatic adventures at our Dock Store.

Come and see us – we are your Pacific Northwest boating experts!