Learn more about our news and special events, both here at the marina or out and about on Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands.

Yachting with your Dog

Yachting with Your Dog

Want to Bring Your Pets with You on Your Boat?
Here’s What You Need to Know

Because dogs are such a big part of many of our clients’ lives, we thought it was time to cover the topic of yachting with pets, especially if you’ll be spending longer periods of time on your boat to practice social distancing and no longer want to kennel your best friends while you’re away.

boating with pets

So, whether you have welcomed a new pet into your life since owning a boat, or you have welcomed a new boat into your life and already have a dog (or two!), learning the ins and outs of boating with pets is essential before setting sail.

To accompany our article on Boating with Family, here are the Van Isle Marina team’s top tips for boating with animals, including a list of things to bring, and tricks for helping your dog adjust to life on the water.

Best Dog Breeds for Boating

First off, if you don’t yet have a dog and are looking to get one, compare dog breeds that are best for boating, versus dog breeds that don’t like water. Of course, every dog will be different, but a dog’s breed is often a good indicator of how much your future best friend will love going boating.

Boat Design Considerations for Pets

If you are building a new boat or are renovating an older one, consider adding accommodations for your four-legged family members from the get-go. These can include things like:

  • Real or artificial grass patches where your dog can do their businessdog on board
  • Custom-cut dog doors where needed, such as from the cabin to the cockpit
  • Light and door sensors positioned at your dog’s height
  • Extra guard rails or specialized guard rails where the space between the railings is protected by glass or grilles
  • Installation of extra-small staircase gates
  • Specialized boarding ramps if your dog is too large to carry on board
  • Dedicated dog wash stations for use after the beach
  • Protective covers for your upholstery
  • Added décor that pays homage to your pet(s)

Identification and Paperwork for your Pet

If you plan to leave the country with your pets on board your boat, you’ll need to think ahead for any required international travel documents and limitations. There will be paperwork involved, which vary from country to country, but at the very least you’ll need proof from a vet that your dog’s vaccinations are up to date. Your regular vet might not know all the pet travel restrictions to some of your more exotic locations, so be sure to do your own research well before departure.

Be sure to include your phone number on your pet’s ID tag that clips onto his or her collar. Some owners also go for the extra coverage of having a microchip imbedded beneath the dog’s skin, or else a waterproof GPS device also attached to the collar.boating with your dog - don't let the dog drive the boat

Acclimatizing Your Pets

Depending on your pet’s age and temperament, they might not love boating right off the bat. That’s why it’s a good idea to keep your first boating trip with your pets extremely brief. If things are fine, keep going, but be prepared to keep things short as your dog gets more and more comfortable being on the docks and boats.

As you venture out further and further, you’ll also find out quickly if your pet is prone to seasickness. If this is the case, try and plan feeding time so they aren’t setting sail on a full stomach. This will reduce cleanup efforts on your part. Check with your vet for suitable seasickness medicine that is available for your dog’s breed and size.

Training your dog to be comfortable on the boat may involve teaching them how to swim or training them how to love the water they were once afraid of. There are many pet blogs that cover the topic of how to help your dog enjoy the water.

Dog Overboard Planyachting with your dog - make them wear dog lifejackets

There is a chance your dog could end up overboard. There’s no true way to plan for such an occurrence but making sure they can swim before you’ve even set foot on the boat will help ease everyone’s anxieties.

There are also life jackets specific to dogs, which are recommended when passing through strong currents or choppy water. Most lifejackets suited for dogs have a handle at the top so their owners can easily grip and lift them back up onto the boat. Don’t leave shore without life jackets for ALL those on board.

Likewise, when it comes to the right leash and collar, it’s best to replace the collar with a harness, which also provides a handle or other means of lifting a dog back on board. This could even be done with a boat hook if thing’s ever got to that point!

Bathroom Breaks

You’ll need to provide and then train your dog on their new place for doing their business. Housebroken pets will be reluctant to soil your boat and will have to get used to pee pads all over again.

Spend time and be patient as you coax them into using their new dedicated area, whether it is a patch of grass, carpet scraps, pee pads, or a litter box in the cockpit. Bring supplies to clean up messes as your pet adjusts, and pack plenty of treats for training.

Another alternative is to stay close enough to shore to accommodate your pet’s schedule. But this strategy will only take you so far.

Staying Cool and Hydrated

Be sure there are multiple bowls of fresh water around for your pet. Keeping your pets hydrated on board is so important, as it will prevent them from attempting to drink seawater, which could cause serious health problems.

Depending on the season, you’ll also want to ensure a cool, shaded area for your pets to hang out on board, as constant sunshine is not recommended. If bringing a kennel on board, keep it inside somewhere cool with good air circulation.

Sunscreen for your Dogdog in the sun on a yacht

You might be surprised to learn that there are entire lines of sunscreens available for your pets. At a minimum, these should be applied to your dog’s belly, as well as the insides of the hind legs. Look for a spray-on variety for easiest application, and a formula free of zinc oxide – an ingredient you don’t want your pets to be licking or ingesting.

Pet First Aid Kits

There are first aid kits designed especially for pets on the market that are small, affordable, and perfect for travelling. They include many of the same elements of a first aid kit for humans, including tweezers, gauze, gloves, and antiseptic wipes. If you’ll be doing some hiking on shore, look for a tick remover as well.

Grooming

If you’ll be going for an extended boating trip, consider making a trip to your dog’s groomer first. The shorter their hair, the easier it will be to clean your furry friend who just might be constantly wet and sandy from the beach. A good toenail clipping will also help prevent any scratches or scuffs on your upholstery or special deck surfaces and coatings.DIY dog wash station coming to Van Isle Marina

Boating with your pet can be such a great experience for everyone involved. We are extremely dog friendly here at Van Isle Marina, and love meeting your pets! So much so, in fact, that the marina will be adding a new service that’s specifically for our furry friends.  Sometime in May, we’ll be adding a DIY dog wash station so that you can clean your pets after coming back from enjoying time on your boat.  Our new fureverclean DIY dog wash station will provide an easy way for dog owners to quickly wash, dry and condition their pets.

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

Boating with Family

Planning on a Family Vacation out on the Water?
Keep These 11 Tips in Mind

The weather is warming up out there, and we know many, many happy boaters who are eager to be heading out on the water with their families to mark the official start of boating season.

A family boating vacation is the perfect way to escape the hustle and bustle of your everyday routine. It’s a chance to slow down, bond with your family, bond with your boat, and otherwise get back to nature.

It also just so happens that time on your yacht or motorboat is the best form of self-isolation that our Van Isle Marina staff can think of. Whether you’re practicing social distancing, or you’ve been planning this boating vacation for awhile now, here are 11 tips to help make your next trip out on the boat with your kids and teenagers a fun, memorable vacation.

1. Safety First

Practise Safety with kids on board

Depending on the ages of the children who will be on board, there are certain extra safety precautions you can take, such as adding a safety net to the deck to help everyone relax easier. Go over all the safety precautions with young children, especially to remind them of the rules of no running and throwing things.

Ensure handrails are all intact, walkways are well lit come nightfall, and the cockpit is anti-slip. And, we hope it goes without saying that a properly stocked first aid kit and properly fitted life jackets are definitely must-haves. Whenever possible, we recommend fitting and testing everyone’s life jackets in a swimming pool before packing them on the boat.

 

2. Pack the Essentials

pack essentials when boating with family

A great vacation requires packing the right supplies. On top of entertainment, which we will cover in a minute, you need to pack enough of the essentials. For everyone on board this means fresh drinking water, enough food and snacks for all to enjoy, sunscreen of various strengths, bug spray, swimsuits, and towels.

Ensure the kids are packed up with spare clothing, hats, sunglasses, proper footwear, and their favourite comfort toys – then do the same thing for yourself. Remember to stow it all in soft-sided luggage to make storage easier.

3. Hire a Crew Member

If your boat and budget can manage it, considering hiring a crew member to help you captain the boat. Bringing a crew member on board can help you relax and enjoy time with family by tending to the navigation of the boat, and maybe some cooking and cleaning as well.

When hiring an extra crew member, look for someone who is not just a skilled boater, but someone who knows the local area and can perhaps steer you towards new areas. You might learn more about your local area and tour some great new places, all while making memories with your family.

4. Relax Your Schedule

When travelling with more than two people, you may find that you’ll be better off relaxing your schedule a little bit. Throw your timetable and packed itinerary overboard!

family boating trips - Relax

Sailing is all about the journey, so don’t be in a rush to get from destination to destination. Be realistic, and if heading to the shore, give yourself enough time to explore the area and find activities that will please as many people in your group as possible.

You might set out for a destination, but never know what there is to see between point A and point B – maybe it’s a cool little island, a secret bay, or a pod of whales? You might even reach a destination that required a bit more time than you predicted it would. Of course there is always weather and the tides to navigate as well, leave yourself a lot of room to get from place to place.

All that being said, keep trips short when introducing young children to boating.

5. Entertainment

Cover your entertainment needs with water toys such as floaties, snorkeling gear, stand-up paddle boards, fishing rods

entertainment during family boating vacation

, and more. You’ll also want to ensure there are lots of indoor entertainment options as well. Think board games, card games, books, arts and crafts, music, and movies. Depending on everyone’s interest, stargazing at night, or birdwatching with binoculars in the day could al

so be fun things to try.

Have your kids pick their favourite activities to pack along, and consider keeping them reserved as special boating activities. You might also be packing along tablets and smartphones, but try and limit screen time for relaxing once the sun goes down. Be sure to invest in waterproof, floatable protective cases for your electronic devices so they don’t sink to the bottom if accidentally dropped.

6. Involve Your Kids

Involve your kids when boating

If they’re old enough and interested enough, try and involve your kids in all aspects of boating. Show them the equipment, have them steer the boat, teach them how to tie all the knots, identify all the day markers, and explain all the boating terminology you know. Even if it’s just from an observational standpoint while you’re docking, anchoring, or communicating on the VHF radio, involving your kids in the boating process will surely create fond memories for everyone.

7. Get Off the Boat

boating vacations - get off the boat

If time allows, try and get off the boat for a few hours here and there to enjoy some hiking, caving, bike riding, or local sightseeing. You might find the perfect beach for swimming, sandcastles, kayak rentals, ice cream cones, kite flying, a game of frisbee or badminton, or boutique shopping. Do a bit of research ahead of time to learn about any attractions on the coastal areas where you’ll be heading. From wildlife sanctuaries, to museums, to freshwater lakes, there is so much you can add to your boating vacation.

8. Create Kid-Friendly Hangout Areas

If boating with a teenager, it might help to give them a private space all to themselves. Likewise, a nervous young child might also appreciate having a safety zone such as a fort they create, all to themselves. And, if the boat is big enough, try to avoid kids having to share beds. Unless of course, they are siblings who happen to get along swimmingly all the time! A week or more of sharing a bed with their little brother or sister might not lead to any happy children on board.

For very young children, bring a small, portable playpen, which will come in extremely handy, especially one with a mosquito net and sunshade.

9. Tidy Up Every Day

Even a large yacht can start to feel small once a whole family starts to spread out over the course of a few hours. While at home you might leave toys out overnight, this might not be as realistic in smaller living spaces. Try and encourage kids to clean up their activities as soon as they’re done playing, or at the very least, at the end of the evening before bed. And of course, take care of wet bathing suits and towels so they are good and dry the next day.

10. Take Time For Yourself

Alone Time during family boating trips

Once the kids are asleep – which will likely be early, as a day full of swimming and fresh air is bound to tire them out – make sure you fit in some grown up time with your better half. For example, why not share a bottle of wine on the deck?

Family boating vacations need not be just for the kids! You’ll appreciate this time to unwind after a successful day on the water, and plan ahead for the next day.

11. Take Plenty of Photos and Videos

pack lifejackets on family boating trips

Taking photos and videos of your family vacation is always a good idea – boat or no boat! You’ll enjoy the memories and you get to frame your favourite ones for a year-round reminder of how great your vacation was. If you have young photographers on board, entrust them with a waterproof disposable camera they can take out on their floaties with them and snap away.

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

The Best Foods to Bring on Extended Yachting Trips

Best Foods for Extended Yachting Trips

Groceries for your Yacht

Are you about to stock your new yacht full of groceries for the first time? If so, check out our helpful guide to filling your fridge and pantry shelves before sailing off for weeks or months at a time.

The following tips are for boaters who plan to set sail for more than just a few days. The items listed below are a great place to start if you’ve never done something like this before.

Staples and Other Non-Perishables

Staples in this case refer to non-perishable items that can be used in many different ways. Some suggestions include:

  • Rice and oatsbest foods to bring on your yacht - pantry stapes
  • Beans and lentils
  • Pasta
  • White and brown sugars
  • Powdered milk for coffee, tea, or cereal
  • Cereals (if you have the space!)
  • Canned goods such as soups, veggies, and sauces

Pro Tip #1: Avoid packing bread with you and instead opt to buy it fresh whenever you can make it to a supermarket or local bakery. Bread doesn’t fair well in the humid environment of boating. Things like English muffins, tortillas, and bagels will likely work out a bit better than a loaf of sliced bread.

Pro Tip #2: For staples and snacks, shopping in the bulk section can be a huge money saver.

Pro Tip #3: Depending on where you’re headed, you might be able to score staples like beans and grains at your destination port for cheaper than you would buy them for at home.

Snacks

Snacks are essential for all different types of boating. Skippering a boat, swimming, and other watersports definitely work up an appetite, and hearty snacks can really save the day out there. So definitely bring all your favourite snacks on board.

Some snacks you might want to take aboard your boat:

best foods to bring on your boat - dried fruit

  • Nuts and dried fruits (trail mixes)
  • Granola bars and energy bars
  • Fruit snacks and fruit leathers
  • Pudding cups
  • Chips and popcorn
  • Chocolate (in some regions good chocolate can be hard to come by, so stash some of your favourite chocolate bars)

Pro Tip #4: For your storage solutions, remember to pack resealable plastic or glass containers, Ziplock bags, and chip bag clips to keep things sealed up and protected against the open sea air.

Spices & Condiments

Be selective about which condiments you bring on board. Fridge space is limited, as are some cupboards. However, the shelf life on many condiments is pretty good, so it can be worth it to spare some space for all your favourite flavour enhancers. Choose items you’re particular about cooking with, and any special items you don’t think you’ll be able to find in other countries.

Some basic condiments include:

best foods to bring on your boat - spices

  • Cooking oil
  • Vinegar
  • Grilling sauces
  • Ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise
  • Soy sauce
  • Curry powder
  • Peanut butter & jam
  • Salt & pepper
  • Oregano & basil
  • Powdered bouillon cubes (chicken or beef stock)

Pro Tip #5: Portion off small amounts of spices you already own into small Ziplock bags for compact storage and to avoid having to buy duplicate bottles of anything.

Fresh Food

It’s possible to pack fresh produce on board your boat. Choose things that will last you longer than a week or two, such as apples, oranges, citrus fruit, onions, and garlic. Avoid bananas, berries, and avocados. Truly fresh produce can be obtained from the ports of the regions you visit, depending on where you’re going.

Some cheeses keep for many weeks, making them a relatively safe choice if there is room in the fridge. Butter, eggs, and yogurt also keep for awhile and would make sense to bring if you enjoy those foods.

Pro Tip #6: The more fresh food you can vacuum-pack, the better!

Drinks

Yachting can be thirsty work, so in addition to your favourite coffees and teas, be sure to bring enough non-alcoholic drink choices on board to keep life interesting while you’re away. Again, it all comes down to personal preference, but things like pop, juice, hot chocolate mix, and non-dairy milk are all nice to have on board. For ease of packing, consider drink crystals, which can be easier to lug around than flats of juice.

Depending on your method of obtaining fresh drinking water on board, you might also choose to have a flat or two of bottled water around. Each person on board should have access to no less than 1.5 litres of fresh drinking water per day.

Pro Tip #7: If your yacht does not have a wet bar with an ice box or mini fridge in the cockpit, have a cooler on deck to keep drinks cool and accessible throughout the day. This also helps avoid having to open and close your galley’s fridge all day, which can draw a lot of power.

Cleaning Supplies

Grocery shopping in order to stock the pantry includes cleaning supplies like:

  • Dish soap, hand soap
  • Dishcloths, paper towels
  • Scrubbies for pots and pans
  • Garbage bags
  • Laundry soap
  • Toilet paper
  • Broom and mop

You can pick all these items up at the supermarket, so be sure to add them to your list.

Rationing

Grocery shopping for your boating trip differs a lot depending on who will be on board with you. If it’s just going to be you and another person, things are more straightforward, since you know what you like and what your partner likes and generally how much food you both will go through during your trip.

However, if you’ll be entertaining guests, or bringing small children on board, things get trickier. For instance, kids will be tough to gauge because they will likely have larger appetites while they are out on the boat and getting tons of exercise during various water sports. The best way to ration is to plan ahead, write down how many people on board multiplied by how many meals required, and then you have something to start with.

It can be helpful to include your guests in this planning phase, perhaps by delegating some meal responsibilities. Coordinate ingredient lists and don’t worry if it feels like you’re overthinking it – getting your food right is so important and will lead to everyone having a memorable trip.

Pro Tip #8: Research make-ahead meals that might be nice to bring if your yacht has a freezer. Some online resources have recipes for bag meals, which involve tossing everything you would toss into a slow cooker into a freezer bag until you are ready to go.

Dietary Restrictions

If possible, get a list of any dietary restrictions and special diets of people who will be boarding your boat with you. Run the menu by guests beforehand if possible. Asking everyone’s preferences before setting sail helps avoid awkwardness and people going hungry until the next port.

To fill in any gaps, visit various ports to stock up on the all the fresh fruits and veggies, meats, cheeses, and breads each region is known for. You might also find that you can catch some of your meals if you remember to bring your fishing gear!

Final Tip: Many grocery stores offer delivery services nowadays, allowing you to arrange a drop-off of all your groceries for your boat right to your marina of choice!

For more things you must bring with you while boating (besides food!) check out our blog post on Sailing Essentials – What to Bring on Your Boat.

When it comes to packing the best foods for an extended boating trip, we hope the above list helps you determine what is most important to bring. Many of the yachts for sale at Van Isle Marina come with more than enough storage space for you to leave plenty of staples on board year-round. We also have storage lockers available to further assist with your boating supplies while you moor with us.

Covid-19 Notice

Dear Valued Marina Customer,

For everyone’s health and safety, the marina administration is currently working remotely and is only available by telephone or email until further notice.

Telephone:         250.656.1138

Email:                    info@vanislemarina.com

 

Our marina services continue to operate and are available to serve you.

Yacht Sales        OPEN  Monday – Saturday 8am – 4:30pm

Please call for exclusive enquiry or private viewing

Yacht Park         OPEN  Monday – Saturday 8am – 4:30pm

Please contact us to schedule a Haul-out or Dryland Storage

Fuel Dock           OPEN  Monday – Sunday 8am – 4pm

Gas, Diesel, Oil & Sewage Pump-out

Moorage             OPEN  Monday – Saturday 8am – 4:30pm

Please contact us to secure nightly, monthly or annual open slip or boathouse

Payments           Cheque –  Accepted through mail, or can be dropped off through mail slot at the Office

Visa or Mastercard – Please call 250.656.1138 Monday – Saturday 8am – 4:30pm

Online Banking  – Van Isle Marina is registered with BMO, Royal Bank, Scotia Bank & Credit Unions of BC

E-transfers – The marina can accept e-transfers, please contact us for details

 

Please call or email for all other enquiries. We also invite you to visit our website for additional marina information at vanislemarina.com.

Thank you for your understanding during this public crisis. We wish you good health and safe boating.

Van Isle Marina Co Ltd.

Vancouver Island Weather

Vancouver Island Weather: What to Expect

Headed to Vancouver Island for the First Time?
Here’s What to Expect in Terms of Weather

It has been said that on Vancouver Island, you can go skiing, golfing, and boating all on the same weekend, and we certainly believe that this is possible!

In all the blog posts we’ve published about the many things to see and do on Vancouver Island, we’ve never really touched on the best attraction of them all, which is our spectacular weather. We believe the weather of Vancouver Island is one of the biggest draws for visitors to our location.

So what makes the weather here on Vancouver Island so appealing? For starters, we are well-known for having some of the warmest weather in Canada. The region has some of Canada’s mildest winters and driest summers, with Victoria on the southern tip of the island being the mildest region in all of Canada. In fact, there have been some years where temperatures did not drop below freezing in the province’s capital city.

Overall, the weather and climate here are comparable to conditions in the Mediterranean in Europe. We have the Pacific Ocean’s constant temperature of 50° F (10°C) to thank for our weather. Winds from the Pacific Ocean keep our summers from getting too hot, and our winters from getting too cold. There are also mountains down the centre of the Island, which also help protect the Island’s coastal regions from extreme weather conditions.

The 4 Seasons of Vancouver Island

Like the rest of North America, there are four distinct seasons that happen on Vancouver Island:

  • Winter takes place January – March
  • Spring takes place April – June
  • Summer takes place July – September
  • Fall takes place October – December

Vancouver Island is the largest island on the west coast of North America, totalling 12,079 square miles (31,285 square km). This means that the climate of the Island varies quite drastically. The climates of the various communities around the Island vary based on each community’s proximity to the coastline, the area’s altitude, and the area’s north/south and west/east orientation. For the most part though, winters are mostly rainy and cloudy, with temperatures hardly ever dropping below zero, and summers are dry and sunny, without temperatures barely ever exceeding 32 degrees C.

But however predictable the four seasons are, the weather forecast on a day to day or weekly basis is much more unpredictable. Around here, you can expect heavy rain and sunny periods and blue skies all in the same day. The weather can drop significantly over night, and take a while to warm back up again in the mornings.

For Islanders, we prepare for this by not taking the weather forecast too seriously day by day, and by dressing for the elements. This means lots of layers, boots or weather-resistant shoes, and a hat, toque, hood or umbrella should never be too far away.

Monthly Breakdown for Vancouver Island Weather

January/FebruaryVancouver Island Weather - January to February in Victoria bc

The mild climate of Vancouver Island means that in January and February, people are able to partake in their favourite outdoor activities like fishing, sailing, bike riding, kayaking, hiking, and golfing. There are significantly fewer people outdoors doing these things during this time, but it’s still possible and many people still get out of the house frequently to enjoy their favourite outdoor activities year-round.

Read More: Tips & Tricks for Winter Boating

During this time, temperatures might drop below freezing, but it rarely happens. It’s more common to have temperatures in the 0 °C to 8°C (30°F to 46°F) range. There might be a couple of days in a row of snow, but it usually turns to wet, heavy, slushy snow and rain within the same 24-hour period.

On Vancouver Island, it snows so infrequently that when it does, the event is often quickly labelled by media outlets as a snow “storm”. Windy weather is also a common concern, which affects BC Ferries transportation routes, knocks trees down, and can shut down power in several places throughout the Island – usually for no longer than a few hours or overnight.

By the end of February, there will be a few bulbs breaking through the ground, and a few buds forming on trees.

March/April/MayVancouver Island Weather - March to April to May

March to May on the Island is a time full of promise, as locals look forward to more hours of daylight and more flowers forming. Gardeners are out in full swing preparing for the growing season, and many boaters and kayakers have already taken out their boats for the first venture of the year. More and more bike riders are also out filling the roads and trails, and birds are making music.

In March and April, there will be many cherry blossoms in bloom. Their appearance is an informal indication of the start of spring. Around the same time, gray whales will also be passing the Island during the migratory journey up to the Arctic Ocean, making March the unofficial start of great whale watching opportunities all around the Island.

This time of the year also sees a considerable amount of rainfall, still a lot of wind, and people ditching their winter jackets in favour of their spring jackets.

June/JulyVancouver Island Weather - June to July

In June and July, there is a notable shift from spring temperatures to summer temperatures. By the end of July, expect temperatures of around 20°C (70°F) to about 30°C (86°F) or slightly higher. Depending on where you are, it might not get super sunny until July, however.

Also around this time, school lets out for the summer, tourism kicks into high gear, and boaters flock to the island’s oceans and freshwater lakes. Festival season also kicks off, as does wedding season.

August/SeptemberVancouver Island Weather - August to Sept

Enter the height of summer, where temperatures hover around 30°C (86°F) and everyone is out on the beach and in the boat. August marks the region’s hottest, driest month, and possibly the region’s busiest month for tourism.

Summers on Vancouver Island are always highly anticipated and known for bringing just the right amount of heat to the locals. However, depending on where you’re from, you might not find Vancouver Island summers to be that hot in comparison.

The weather begins to cool off around mid-September, marking the return of fall and back to school season.

October/November/December

Vancouver Island Weather - Oct to Nov to DecIn the fall, expect a lot of clouds, a whole lot of rain, and sliding drops in temperatures. The daily high in October is on average 13°C (55°F) and by December, the daily high drops to 6°C (43°F). It might snow once before the end of the year, depending on your location. The mountains have definitely seen some white caps around this time of year.

This time is an excellent opportunity to visit the island for some exceptional storm watching. The best places for storm watching will be the west coast, where the Pacific Ocean flairs up and delivers quite the light(ening) show on some nights in the fall and winter.

A Quick Word on the Gulf Islands

The Gulf Islands that surround Vancouver Island live in the shadows of Vancouver Island’s mountains, which means although it gets roughly the same moderate climate with warm, dry summers and mild, wet winters, the Gulf Islands are drier than Vancouver Island overall, and residents of these Islands enjoy 8-month-long frost-free seasons, which is the longest stretch in Canada.

Heading to Vancouver Island or the Gulf Islands by boat? Stop by Van Isle Marina in Sidney, BC. You’ll find us on the south-eastern tip of the island near Swartz Bay and the BC Ferries terminal. Moor with us for a few hours as you explore our town, or spend an overnight or two. Our marina is one of the largest full-service marinas in British Columbia. See our yacht park rates to learn more. Arriving by car? We are located at 2320 Harbour Road just five minutes from the Beacon Avenue exit off Hwy 17.

22 free or cheap things to do in Victoria BC

Exploring Vancouver Island on a Budget

22 Free or Inexpensive Things to do on Vancouver Island

On the West Coast of British Columbia, Canada, Vancouver Island is home to nearly 800,000 people and is the 11th largest island in Canada. It’s also home to many world-class tourist attractions, many of which are free or inexpensive to check out. Below is a list of Van Isle Marina staff’s top recommended things to do on Vancouver Island if you’re on a budget.

1. Milner Gardens

Vancouver Island is home to many beautiful public gardens, where our mild climate supports a wide variety of trees, shrubs, and flowers year-round. Milner Gardens in Qualicum is a lovely seaside garden definitely worth checking out. This ancient forest and garden oasis sits on top a bluff overlooking the Straight of Georgia.

Cost: $12/adult

2. Abkhazi Garden

Abkhazi Garden in Victoria is a beautiful heritage home and garden established by Prince and Princess Abkhazi in 1946. At this one-acre property you’ll find a stunning example of West Coast design where conifers, Japanese maples, rhododendrons, naturalized bulbs, and woodland companions leave a lasting impression.

Cost: By Donation

3. Butchart GardensButchart Gardens Sunken Garden

Also near Victoria in Brentwood Bay are Butchart Gardens, featuring 55 acres filled with at least 900 plant varieties. Butchart Gardens has a 100+ year history and a staff of 50 gardeners tending to the grounds.

Cost: $19.35/adult

4. BC Parliament Buildings

The BC parliament buildings in Victoria’s downtown inner harbour are home to the legislative assembly of British Columbia. Free tours are offered throughout the year, and there is plenty of park space out front for picnicking and people watching.

Cost: Free

5. Confederation FountainConfederation Fountain Victoria BC

For a unique photo op, check out the Confederation Fountain tucked just around the corner from the legislature building in Victoria. You’ll also find shields of the Provinces, centered by the national Coat of Arms at this small but relaxing area just off the main drag of the waterfront.

Cost: Free

6. Goats on the Roof

The Old Country Market in Coombs is home to the world-famous Goats on the Roof, where goats living up above oversee thousands of shoppers from March through to December. Coombs is a small town in Central Vancouver Island on the Alberni Highway, near Parksville and Qualicum Beach.

Cost: Free

7. Cathedral GroveCathedral Grove BC

On your way to explore Tofino (a seaside community that is an attraction all to itself) you’ll drive through the world-famous Cathedral Grove, an old growth forest known for its gigantic 800-year-old ancient Douglas firs and red cedars. Pull the car over and check it out! Cathedral Grove is just one of countless hikes the Island has to offer. Also explore these South Island Hikes and Central Island Hikes.

Cost: Free

8. Duncan Totem Poles

Duncan, known as The City of Totems, is home to more than 40 totem poles. Each beautifully carved totem pole contributes to the City’s First Nations culture and history. Follow the yellow footprints in the sidewalk for a self-guided walking tour or take the virtual tour to learn more about the totems before experiencing them in person.

Cost: Free

9. Chemainus MuralsChemainus Murals BC

The seaside community of Chemainus is known as The City of Murals. Check out 44 murals that serve as a tribute to the area’s mining, fishing, and forestry heritage. Grab an official Souvenir Mural Map from the Visitor Centre to take a self-guided tour of the massive murals, or simply follow the yellow footprints on the sidewalks.

Cost: Free

10. Elk Falls Suspension Bridge

In Campbell River, the Elk Falls Suspension Bridge is a must-see. Although the area features extensive forest trails, the bridge itself is a short walk to get to. There you’ll get an amazing view of the canyon and a thundering waterfall. The BC Hydro Interpretive Centre nearby is free and adds to the experience.

Cost: Free

11. Kinsol TrestleKinsol Trestle Cowichan Valley BC

Located in the Cowichan Valley Regional District, the historic Kinsol Trestle is 187 metres long and 44 metres above the Koksilah River, making it one of the tallest free-standing and most spectacular timber rail trestle structures in the world. Fully accessible with viewing platforms, we know you’ll love it.

Cost: Free

12. Beacon Hill Children’s Farm

The Beacon Hill Children’s Farm and petting zoo in Beacon Hill Park in Victoria is a favourite among locals, offering an educational, by-donation form of entertainment for the whole family. The petting zoo is best known for its goats.

Cost: By Donation

St Anns Academy Vancouver Island

13. St. Ann’s Academy

St. Ann’s Academy is a national historic site in Victoria that offers tours by donation. Built in 1858, St Ann’s Academy was Victoria’s first Roman Catholic Cathedral before it became a school in 1886.

Cost: By Donation

14. The Raptors

View several different types of birds of prey at The Raptors visitor centre in Duncan. Make sure to time your visit around a flying demonstration. You can also stay for additional meet and greets and hands-on experiences.

Cost: $18/adult

15. Vancouver Island WineriesVancouver Island Wineries

Vancouver Island is home to 32 wineries (and counting!), with the Cowichan Valley being particularly fruitful due to the area being shielded from Pacific Ocean storms. Plan to visit a winery or two while you’re visiting the Island, taste some great wines and meet the passionate people behind some of BC’s best wines.

Cost: Various

16. Whale Interpretive Centre

The Whale Interpretive Centre in Telegraph Cove on Northern Vancouver Island aims to help the public to identify different marine mammals and their role within the ecosystem. Here you’ll find many sea life artifacts, including blue whale jaw, whale lice, ear ossicles, whale teeth, and skeletons of a killer whale, sperm whale, river otter, sea otter, Pacific white-sided dolphin, and more.

Cost: By Donation

17. Biking

Bike riding is very popular on Vancouver Island, with countless bike-friendly trails and lanes seemingly everywhere. Might we suggest grabbing one of our courtesy bikes from the marina? Here are some nearby places you can bike to from Van Isle Marina.

Cost: Free

18. Craigdarroch Castle

Craigdarroch Castle, built in 1887, is a meticulously restored historic house museum and a beauty to behold in Victoria. Here you’ll find 39 rooms and four floors of exquisite stained glass windows, intricate woodwork and fabulous Victorian-era furnishings.

Cost: $14.85/adult

19. Hatley CastleHatley Castle Victoria BC

Hatley Castle, completed in 1908 and located in Hatley Park and Royal Roads University is known by many as X-men headquarters, due to it being a filming location for the Hollywood blockbusters. Pay an admission fee to take the guided walking tour, or check out the free museum in the basement. The castle is also surrounded by magnificent gardens.

Cost: $18.50

20. BC Aviation Museum

The British Columbia Aviation Museum in Sidney features plenty of aircraft and artifacts relating to the history of aviation in BC and the rest of Canada. They have something for everyone, including flight simulators, unique aircrafts, a kids area, and volunteer tour guides.

Cost: $10

For more things to do in Sidney – home of Van Isle Marina – check out our post on 15 Things to Do in Sidney, BC.

21. BC Forest Discovery CentreBC Forest Discovery Centre

The BC Forest Discovery Centre in Duncan is a huge open air museum with its own operational railway. Check out the exhibits, logging artifacts, and heritage buildings before exploring the forest and marsh trails. This family friendly Island destination hosts plenty of special events and workshops for all ages throughout the year.

Cost: $16

22. Military Museums

Vancouver Island is home to notable military museums:

  • The Vancouver Island Military Museum in Nanaimo houses 25 exhibits focusing on the War of 1812 right through to Canada’s involvement in Afghanistan.
  • The CFB Esquimalt Naval & Military Museum focuses on the Royal Canadian Navy and Merchant Navy’s role in winning the Battle of the Atlantic, and the 100+ year history of Canadian service in submarines.
  • The Comox Airforce Museum includes collections on Military Aviation in WWI and WWII, Korea, the Cold War, United Nations Peacekeeping, and the Squadron section.

Read more: Attractions on Vancouver Island

The suggestions listed above are just some of the exciting things to do on Vancouver Island. If you’ll be arriving by boat, be sure to check out some of the area’s best boat-only access beaches.

Van Isle Marina is one of the largest full-service marinas in British Columbia. Moor your boat at our marina before or after you set out to explore Vancouver Island. (See our yacht park rates to learn more.) We are located at 2320 Harbour Road in Sidney, BC, just a five minute drive from the Beacon Avenue exit of Hwy 17.

Introducing the 2020 Pursuit DC 295

Check out the new Pursuit Dual Console 295,
now Available at the Van Isle Marina Sales Dock

The 2020 Pursuit DC 295 is the latest Pursuit power boat model to arrive at the Van Isle Marina sales dock, and we are already so Pursuit DC 295 - full front viewimpressed with how much interest she has received! Our sales team got the chance to show this award-winning vessel at the 2020 Vancouver International Boat Show in Vancouver to large crowds of boating enthusiasts. It was clear from everyone’s reaction that the Pursuit DC 295 is the perfect vessel for anyone who is:

  • looking to make their first power boat purchase;
  • looking to add a small day tripper to their existing fleet; or
  • looking to downsize from a yacht to something smaller

The DC 295 is a mid-size model in Pursuit’s Dual Console Collection, joining the DC 365,  DC 326, DC 325, DC 266, and DC 235. Pursuit’s dual consoles have won multiple awards in their category for their style, superior design, performance, and amenities. Each dual console from Pursuit features an open layout and convertible features, allowing for enough space for swimming, fishing, diving, and entertaining.

The Pursuit DC 295 has an overall length of 31’ 9” and is powered via twin Yamaha F300 engines. Let’s check out everything else the DC 295 has to offer. Here is a summary of all the key features of the Pursuit Dual Console 295 that we have for sale at our dock.

Take a look and then come and see for yourself!

Integrated Hardtop & Windshield

This vessel’s integrated hard top and impeccable windshield system are part of what helped Pursuit win design awards. The moulded fibreglass hardtop shelters each of the consoles and comes with an integrated visor, powder-coated art structural supports, 4 rod holders, 4 tri-colour LED lights, fore and aft spreader lights, stainless steel underside grab rails, and integrated stereo speakers. This vessel also comes with Stamoid w Makrolon upgraded standard side curtains and a drop curtain with 60 mil white strataglass.

Also enjoy your stainless steel ratcheting anchor/stern light and your hardtop’s dedicated radar, antenna and outrigger locations. Everything is integrated flawlessly with a custom windshield system featuring crystal clear tempered glass, an articulating centre vent, and a windshield wiper and washer.

Hull

The Pursuit DC 295 features a hand-laminated hull with vinyl ester resin, foam-filled structural grid, patented transom reinforcement grid, infused fibreglass structural grid system, and a Fresh White gelcoat. Additional features of the hull include the bronze Garboard drain, auto-retract trim tabs, stainless steel bow eye and stern eyes, integrated transom platform extensions and a 4-step telescopic boarding ladder. The feature set continues with an electric horn, dedicated transducer location, forward hull compartmentation with a 1,100-gph bilge pump and automatic float switch as well as three all-colour Sea Blaze Quattro Spectrum underwater lights.

Cockpit

The open cockpit of our Pursuit DC 295 offers up plenty of seating, including a folding transom seat with patented adjusting backrest, a captain’s chair with foldable armrests, a port-side aft facing seat and armrest, a port-side companion seat, forwardPursuit DC 295 - cockpit bow seating as well as a bow table and filler. All of the upholstered seating comes with Dri-Fast foam and mesh backing.

The moulded entertainment centre in the cockpit comes with a sink, faucet, trash can, drink holder, 12V, 2.3ft3 FRP insulated cockpit refrigerator with temperature control and a fibreglass cockpit table with dedicated storage. Additional features of the cockpit include a freshwater wash with hot/cold mixing valve and pull-out sprayer, optional hardtop port and starboard Bomar® hatches, port and starboard forward coaming boxes, a JL Audio entertainment system, and strategically placed storage and accent lighting.

At the end of the day, you want protection for your vessel and you’ve got it with a white bow tonneau cover.

Helm

At the moulded fibreglass aft-tilting helm of the DC 295 you’ll find:Pursuit DC295 helm

  • your instrumentation visor
  • electronics mounting surface
  • fold-out fibreglass foot rest and platform
  • stainless steel steering wheel with grip cover
  • factory-installed Garmin marine electronics
  • main switches
  • 12V panel with illuminated Carling rocker switches
  • trim tab control panel and indicator
  • compass
  • waterproof stereo remote
  • 12V outlet and dual USB charger
  • fire extinguisher
  • glove box
  • Yamaha Command Link Plus Display

Added to the helm, you’ll find that this DC 295 has the complete Garmin package. This includes a GPSMAP 8612XSV, Airmar B175M 20 Degree 1kW Chirp Transducer, NMEA 2000 starter kit, Pursuit custom dash panel, VHF 315, VHF antenna and a Garmin Radar GMR 18 xHD (dome).

Port-side Console

The features of the port-side console of the DC 295 include gunwale seating to your 2-piece fibreglass door, cabin entry step, moulded hull liner with drainage, moulded console deck liner, configurable storage, overhead lighting, the main distributionPursuit DC295 - half throttle panel with voltage display, electrical outlets, fire extinguisher, CO monitor, and removable cushions.

Head

The starboard head aboard the DC 295 has a patented single-motion, dual-action console access door, cabin entry step, moulded fibreglass interior, moulded sink with Corian countertop, vanity mirror, under sink storage, and toilet tissue holder. The electric marine head has a 10-gallon holding tank.

Fishing Features

Rounding out our roundup of key features on board the Pursuit DC 295 is all of its fishing features, including it numerous stainless steel rod holders, 22-gallon recirculating insulated livewell, port and starboard under gunwale rod storage options, insulated fish boxes, and port and starboard diaphragm pumps with overboard discharge.

Pursuit Protection Plan

Every brand new Pursuit power boat, including the DC 295, comes with a variety of transferable warranties as part of the Pursuit Promise. Enjoy prolonged peace of mind with your:

  • Five-year hull and deck structural warranty
  • Five-year blister-free warranty
  • Two-year limited warranty

The Pursuit DC 295 is now available in the Pacific Northwest through Van Isle Marina. Come and see this beauty of a boat (decked out with all her options!) on display at the BC Boat Show in Sidney from April 30 to May 3, 2020. Contact one of our yacht brokers for more information, or come see us anytime so we can show you this special boat in person. You can also read more about the Pursuit DC 295’s electrical, mechanical, fuel, and water systems, as well as find more photos on our dedicated DC 295 webpage.

All Pursuit Boats are designed, developed, and manufactured in the United States. In addition to Pursuit’s Dual Console models, the company also has an impressive line of offshore models we would love to introduce you to.

As Western Canada’s exclusive dealer for Pursuit Boats, the team here at Van Isle Marina loves matching boaters with the best Pursuit model for their needs. Come see us anytime at 2320 Harbour Road in Sidney, BC to learn more. We are also Western Canada’s exclusive dealer for Riviera yachts and have plenty of pre-owned boats for you to tour as well.

Find out how to get here.

Tides & Weather - what boaters need to know

Tides & Weather: What Boaters Need to Know

Tips for Navigating the Ocean’s Tides in Your Boat or Yacht

An essential part of safely cruising the ocean on your yacht or boat is knowing about the tide levels of the areas you’ll be cruising. Even if you’ve chartered the same passage countless times, it’s good to have access to tide tables and knowledge of what types of things affect tide levels.

The topic of tides is covered in safe boating courses, but if it’s been awhile, check out our brief overview of what all boaters need to know about tides.

Key Facts About Tidesboaters and tides in bc

Tides are one of the universe’s most fascinating forces – for boaters and non-boaters alike. Simply put, tides can be defined as the rising and falling of sea levels. Here are some more key facts about tides:

  • During a changing tide, the ocean’s waters are either being pulled towards the poles of the earth or pushed towards the equator. It’s all based on the position and gravitational pull of the moon, the sun, and the rotation of the earth.
  • Along most of the earth’s coasts, tides rise and fall (go from low to high and high to low) two times per day, meaning the tide changes 4 times per day – approximately every 6 hours. These are known as semidiurnal tides.
  • In just a few places around the world, the tide rises and falls only once per day. These are known as diurnal tides.
  • In some places, the first daily high tide is a lot higher than the day’s second high tide, and these are called mixed tides.
  • Depending on the position of the moon and the sun, there are two types of tides that can occur. A spring tide appears when the moon and the sun are aligned with the earth. A neap tide is formed when the moon is at a right angle to the line between the earth and the sun.
  • When the moon is closest to the earth, tides are higher than usual. When the moon is farthest away from the earth, tides are lower.
  • Tides are influenced by the geological differences in the shape of the ocean floor as well as the shape and dynamics of the coastline – they are not consistent across different areas.
  • A narrowing inlet may increase the speed of the tidal currents, while islands in the open ocean don’t usually experience significant tides.
  • Wind and other weather conditions can have an effect on tides. For example, high-pressure systems depress sea levels, while low-pressure systems produce tides higher than predicted.

Why Do Boaters Need to Care About the Tide?

Tides essentially affect the height of the water you’re cruising on, which is subject to change based on the tide. The changing tides can cause several feet of change in the water depth (sea level), so it’s important boaters are aware of the tide’s direction (is it coming or going?) and timing whenever they are boating. Even if it seems like a minuscule level of water depth change, tides can affect things like:

  • what boaters should know about tideshow much rope you need to tie onto a dock
  • how much clearance you have to sail underneath a bridge
  • whether or not your boat bottoms out on a shoal where just a few hours ago the water was deep enough to cruise across
  • your ability or desire to cruise into a harbour where you might be moored, anchored, or docked for several hours at a time
  • how long you can safely stay anchored somewhere. If you underestimate the tide, if the tide goes out, your yacht might just end up beached in place until the next tide rolls in. If the tide rolls in and your anchor isn’t fully dug into the seabed, your boat is likely going to drift.
  • when you’ll be able to pass narrow channels. For certain channels, boaters need to plan their passages around the direction of the tidal flow. In some locales, it may be impossible to travel against the current.

Get Familiar with Tide Tables

Always familiarize yourself with the seascape you’ll be navigating and try to have access to a tide chart whenever you’re out on the water. Tide charts or tables help boaters predict the sea levels of any coastal region at any time of day. Learn how to read them (consult your safe boating books for a refresher) and you’re far less likely to experience any of the issues as noted above.

In Canada, tide tables are published by the Canadian Hydrographic Service. Each tide table shows the predicted times and heights of the high and low waters that are associated with the vertical movement of the tide. They are available in three formats – table, graphic, and text – for more than 700 hundred stations in Canada.

Tide tables are also available on third-party websites like tide-forecast.com, as well as local newspapers, television news, and radio news outlets. No matter where you find your tide tables, look for three important details on one, including the time of high tide, the time of low tide, and the heights of each. For the times in between, you’ll need to use the Rule of Twelfths to best guestimate the sea level based on the stated low and high tides.

Rule of Twelfths

Using the rule of twelfths is a good way to approximate tidal levels if you don’t have access to a complete guide that lists tide levels by the hour. For boaters on the go, this formula is all you need. The basis behind the rule of twelfths is that it takes a period of about six-plus hours for tides to get from low to high tide and vice versa. (Lunar high tides occur every 12 hours and 25 minutes, which means that it takes 6 hours and 12.5 minutes to go from high tide to low tide or vice versa.)

Therefore, the difference between high tide and low tide (the range of tides) can be divided into 1/12th units. During the first hour after low tide, the water level rises by one-twelfth of the tidal range, in the second-hour two-twelfths, and so on. Using this calculation, in the third and fourth hour there is an abundance of tidal movement, but in the first and sixth hour, there is much less.

When You Don’t Have Access to a Tide Schedule

If you find yourself out on the water with no knowledge of the tide schedule for the day, all is not lost! Simply look to the water at the shoreline. The tidal current is actually visible – watch closely and you’ll soon see the sea either flowing towards or ebbing away from the land. You can also follow what other boaters appear to be doing, and tune in to your VHF radio for advice on tides.

Getting to know the tides isn’t difficult once you get the hang of reading tide charts and seeing the tide for yourself. Unlike the weather, and whether or not the fish are biting, tides are a relatively stable, predictable part about boating. They change slightly as the moon changes – and slightly more depending on the weather – but for the most part, tides are a constant, integral part of boating. Whenever you are out boating in unfamiliar locations, try and learn as much as possible about the area, which we believe is all part of the fun!

At Van Isle Marina – your go-to boat marina in the Pacific Northwest – we regularly post snapshots of Sidney, BC’s tide schedules on our Twitter page. Our staff love to help our fellow boaters learn about all the ins and outs of boating, including all about tides and weather patterns. Give us a call, come see our boats for sale, or pull up your boat to learn more about why so many people love to moor with us.

Quick & delicious Halibut recipes

Quick & Delicious Halibut Recipes

10 Ways to Prepare Your Halibut Catch

Who doesn’t love a good recipe roundup? Especially when the star ingredient is halibut! At Van Isle Marina, we are big fans of anything to do with halibut, whether it’s grilled, baked, poached, barbecued, or sautéed. Fortunately, you don’t have to get too fancy with halibut in order for it to taste amazing.

Here are our top recommended ways to enjoy pacific halibut – the most highly prized groundfish found around Vancouver Island. Use freshly caught or previously frozen halibut for any of the recipes below. And get your lemons ready – they are the star ingredient in most halibut entrees!

1. Heavenly Halibut

Topping our list of great halibut recipes is Heavenly Halibut from Allrecipes.com. The crisp parmesan topping of this dish adds texture and a boost of flavour to impress guests. You can get the taste of a gourmet halibut dish with just a few ingredients.

You’ll need:

  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup butterHeavenly Halibut Recipe
  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons chopped green onions
  • 1 dash hot pepper sauce
  • 1 dash of salt
  • 2 pounds skinless halibut fillets

Get the full recipe at Allrecipes.com

2. One-pan Mediterranean Baked Halibut with Vegetables

This recipe involves taking your basic grilled halibut recipe, adding in a few of your favourite vegetables, and then baking it all in one dish instead of grilling.

  • 1 1/2 lb halibut fillet, slice into 1 1/2-inch pieces
  • Zest and juice of 2 lemonsOne-pan Mediterranean Baked Halibut Recipe
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tbsp freshly minced garlic
  • 2 tsp dill weed
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 to 3/4 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 lb fresh green beans
  • 1 lb cherry tomatoes
  • 1 large yellow onion sliced into half moons
  • Salt & pepper

Get the full recipe from The Mediterranean Dish

3. Thai Grilled Halibut

Sweeten things up a little with this Thai-inspired halibut recipe. While this grilled halibut recipe involves a few ingredients you might not have readily available on your boat, it’s so tasty that it’s worth making on land one day.

You’ll need:

  • 2 to 4 halibut steaks or fillets
  • 1/2 cup sweet chili sauce
  • 2 Tbsp fish sauceThai Grilled Halibut Recipe
  • 6 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup coriander (fresh, chopped)
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 to 6 garlic cloves
  • Fresh lime juice
  • Brown sugar

Get the full recipe from The Spruce Eats

4. Classic Fish & Chips

If you’ve got a deep fryer and the will to use it, considering wowing the crowd with a good old-fashioned plate of battered fish and chips. This deep-fried halibut recipe will be a crowd pleaser for sure, without requiring that many ingredients.

You’ll need:

  • 2 lbs skinless, boneless halibut
  • Classic Fish and Chips RecipeSalt
  • Oil for frying
  • 2 lbs Yukon gold potatoes
  • 1/2 cup self-rising flour
  • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • About 1/2 bottle beer

Get Hank Shaw’s full recipe from Honest-Food.net.

5. Poached Halibut with Tomato and Basil

This healthy halibut recipe from Rachel Ray is low in fat and is such a colourful dish. Fresh basil is a must, as are locally grown, in-season tomatoes if you can find some!

You’ll need:

Poached Halibut with Tomato and Basil Recipe

  • Halibut fillets
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 shallot, sliced
  • 1/2 cup white wine, eyeball it
  • 1 can diced tomatoes, well drained
  • 1/4 lemon
  • 20 leaves fresh basil, torn or shredded
  • Salt & pepper

Get the full recipe from The Food Network

6. Halibut & Smoked Salmon Chowder

Here is a nice comfort food recipe from Thrifty Foods that is quick to whip up but will taste like it took hours of slow cooking. This chowder contains nothing but the good stuff, and no shellfish of any kind.

You’ll need:

  • 100 gram pkg cold smoked salmon
  • 1 lb of halibut fillets
  • ButterHalibut and Smoked Salmon Chowder Recipe
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 celery ribs
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 3 Tbsp. flour
  • 3 cups chicken or fish stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 medium red-skinned potatoes
  • 1 cup light cream
  • Fresh dill
  • Salt & white pepper

Get the full recipe from Thrifty Foods.

7. Crispy Fish Cakes for Two

Halibut can play a starring role in many fish cake recipes. We like this one from Pinch & Swirl for its simplicity, both in ingredients and preparation. Fish cake recipes are great for when there is leftover cooked fish to use up, if that ever were to happen, that is!

You’ll need:

  • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbsCrispy Fish Cakes Recipe
  • 1/2 pound cooked halibut
  • 2 tablespoons whole milk sour cream
  • 1 egg lightly beaten
  • 1 rib celery very finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon chopped capers
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh chives
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil for frying
  • Fresh lemon wedges optional
  • Salt & pepper

Get the full recipe from Pinch & Swirl.

8. Halibut Ceviche with Mango and Avocado

The ceviche method of “cooking” doesn’t actually involve any heat. Instead, the fish is marinated in an acidic mix of ingredients and the final product is served cold. It’s best served as an appetizer before a main meal on a hot, sunny day when you have access to freshly caught halibut.

halibut ceviche with mango and avocado recipe

You’ll need:

  • Halibut fillets
  • Fresh lemon juice
  • Fresh lime juice
  • Hot sauce
  • 1 large mango
  • 1 large avocado
  • 1 small jalapeno
  • Red onion
  • Chopped fresh cilantro
  • Olive oil
  • Honey or agave
  • Lime wedges, for serving
  • Tortilla chips, for serving

Get the full recipe from From a Chef’s Kitchen.

Another great ceviche recipe we love comes from Epicurious and stars pineapple, jalapeno, and tequila as key ingredients.

9. BBQ Halibut Steaks

It’s easy to prepare halibut on the BBQ – just skip the store-bought sauces and use this recipe instead!

You’ll need:

Barbeque Halibut Steaks Recipe

  • Halibut steaks
  • Butter
  • Brown sugar
  • Fresh garlic
  • Lemon juice
  • Soy sauce
  • Halibut steaks

Get the full recipe from Allrecipes.com

10. Lemon and Dill Baked Halibut

This classic baked halibut dish includes a healthy dose of cherry tomatoes and asparagus. It’s healthy, easy to make, and delicious to devour.

You’ll need:

Dill and Lemon Baked Halibut Recipe

  • Halibut fillets
  • lemons
  • Asparagus
  • Cherry tomatoes, halved
  • Fresh dill
  • Garlic

Get the full recipe from Jacked Kitchen.

Read More: Quick & Delicious Salmon Recipes

Is it almost time for a new fishing boat? At Van Isle Marina we have a wide range boats and yachts for sale moored at our docks. Come by 2320 Harbour Road in Sidney, BC near Swartz Bay Ferry Terminal to check out our selection, or cruise around our website to learn more about the types of boats we have for sale.

How to Enjoy Winter on the Yacht

Winter on the Yacht

Tips & Tricks for Boating in Cold Weather

One of the things most yacht owners love is the freedom to pick up and go whenever the mood strikes – and sometimes the mood strikes during the coldest months of the year. When this happens, boating in the wintertime is fully possible, even out here on the Pacific Northwest!

In the right conditions, boating in the winter can be a true joy. So, keep your boat afloat this winter and continue to go boating or live onboard all year-round with our tips for yachting or boating in cooler temperatures.

what to wear for winter boating

Benefits of Winter Boating

  • Peaceful cruising grounds give you room to move
  • Reduced off-season rates for moorage
  • Increased opportunities to brush up on your night cruising skills
  • Keeps you tide over until the warmer weather comes again
  • Keeps your boat in a usable condition so there is less to do come summer

In no particular order, here are our top tips and tricks for winter boating.

Keep Fuel and Water Tanks Topped Up

winter boating - keep your gas tank full

Fill up your fuel and water tanks at every chance you get in the winter. You’ll want to keep both tanks filled up because fuel berth operating hours are usually reduced in the off-season, and water supplies at marinas might even be turned off completely to protect the pipes during cold snaps.

Keeping your fuel tank topped up also helps reduce condensation from forming in the tank. The fuller the tank, the less room there is for condensation to form. This reduces your chances of a diesel bug forming (microbial contamination of the diesel tank), especially when paired with an additive designed to ward off diesel bugs.

Up the Antifreeze

If you’re leaving your boat in saltwater for the season, chances are the temperature won’t get so low that any leftover water in your engine will freeze, but just to be safe, make sure your engine’s coolant has enough antifreeze in it. This is especially important if a cold snap is forecast, which does happen every now and again around the Gulf Islands. If required, consider adding some antifreeze through your raw water system as well.

Charge Your Batteries

Keep your batteries charged at all costs! This might require taking them home every so often to recharge them, or using a small solar panel if you can source one. Keeping your engine’s batteries fully charged in winter is especially important because starting a cold diesel engine in frigid temperatures uses up more power than it does in the summer.

Vacuum sealed linens for boating in winter

Stow Bedding, Linens, and Cushions Properly

If you’re planning to keep bedding, towels, and other assorted linens on board year-round, make sure to store them properly so they don’t get damp. Keeping them in a vacuum-sealed bag is your best bet. This will help keep everything dry and mildew-free.

As for your fabric cushions, there is no need to vacuum pack them, simply propping them up on their sides or placing them in slated storage is sufficient. Just make sure there is some airflow around them.

Keep Your Decks Ice-Free

Ice can form quickly on your boat’s decks. Fortunately, it’s easy to take care of – simply pour some buckets of saltwater and scrub a little bit and your decks will effortlessly be de-iced and much safer for all on board.

Don’t Stow Stuff Against the Hull

To prevent mildew from forming inside your accommodation level, do not  store stuff against the hull. Clothing, boxes, fishing tackle – you name it – these items should not be pressed up against the hull. If moisture gets trapped between your items and your hull, mildew will develop and things will start to smell.

Only Plan Short Trips

Since you only get a small window of daylight hours in the winter, we recommend planning shorter trips if you’re new to boating in the off-season. If you’d like to go out for longer, aim to leave before dawn so that it is still light outside upon your return. This is not only safer, but likely to be more enjoyable for guests.

Enjoy Hot Drinks & Warm Mealswinter boating tips - bring lots of coffee

Bring more tea, coffee, hot apple cider, and hot chocolate than you ever think you’ll need for your winter boating excursions. Have enough travel mugs for all on board to keep drinks nice and warm. Hot meals will also help. There is no such thing as too much soup when it’s cold outside, but in today’s luxury motor yachts with gourmet kitchens, the sky’s the limit!

Switch Your Gas

If you’re running butane gas, consider switching to propane for the cooler months, since propane is not as likely to freeze as butane.

Dress for Success

Pack plenty of clothing so you always have something dry to switch into. Don’t go for anything too bulky – layers are best at trapping air and keeping you warm while allowing you to move around.

Bring gloves, hats, face masks, scarves, thick socks, and spares of each. Waterproof everything, where possible. Don’t forget your sunglasses as well – the sun does peek its head from time to time during the winter, albeit a lot lower in the sky.

Read More: Sailing Essentials – Important Items to Bring on Your Boat

Pack an Icebreaker

Just in case you come across a marina located close to brackish water, which can freeze in cold weather, you’ll be happy you have a boathook handy.

Keep Lifejackets Dry and Nearby

Lifejackets are just as important in the winter as they are in the summer, probably even more so, as extreme cold temperatures reduce the amount of time you’ll be able to stay conscious in the water. Keep lifejackets dry when not in use and make sure everyone on board has one that fits them and that you all know where they are stored.

Check Your Insurance

Double check your boat’s insurance policy to make sure you are insured year-round if you plan on venturing off in the winter.

Invest in Cozy Cabin Comforts

There are plenty of things you can do to make things comfortable inside your cabin all winter, which all involve keeping condensation at bay.

  • For extra heating, consider diesel space heaters when cruising, or oil-filled radiators when using shore power. Running a small dehumidifier at night can also reduce condensation while you’re sleeping.
  • Bettering your hull’s insulation is labour intensive but might be worth doing if you plan on winter boating year after year. To do so, apply a product called Celotex to the inside of your fibreglass hull, then add headlining over top. This will also help with climate control in the summer.
  • If you can’t get to your whole hull, try adding better window coverings. They needn’t be fancy, even just some cut-to-size insulating board or old foam camping mat can make a difference.
  • A cockpit tent or enclosure can add a bit more protection from the elements while helping to reduce condensation in your cabin. It’s also great for storing wet clothing, as it keeps it away from your living space.
  • Try and use the marina’s showers whenever you can to reduce overall humidity and condensation on your boat, brought on by your onboard shower.

Do you have questions about life on a yacht during the wintertime? Wondering what boat would be best for year-round enjoyment? Contact a yacht broker at Van Isle Marina to learn more.