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Different Types of Fishing Lines

Types of Fishing Lines

Different Types of Fishing Lines and Their Uses

An overview of the different types of fishing lines and how to select the right line for the right fish

At Van Isle Marina, we know using the right fishing line for specific fishing conditions is an essential part of catching fish! All anglers must learn this fact early on in order to be successful. In this post intended for beginner fishermen, we will go over the main types of fishing line available: monofilament, braid, and fluorocarbon, highlighting the pros and cons of each.

What is Fishing Line?

Fishing line is long threaded material (usually nylon, silk or wire,) used with a fishing rod to catch and reel in fish. It is what is cast from the rod, flies through the air, and ultimately lands down into the depths of the water. Fishing line comes in different materials and strengths – each offering pros and cons – and is the material that comes spooled on a reel (usually a spinning reel or a baitcaster reel).

Monofilament Fishing LineMonofilament Fishing Line

Monofilament fishing line, or “mono” is the most basic and most common fishing line out there. Made out of nylon extruded in a single, continuous filament and left untwisted, monofilament fishing line is a good all-around line that is smooth and a bit stretchy. It also floats, which can be an advantage or disadvantage, depending on your application. Pre-spooled reels are usually spooled with monofilament.

In addition to monofilament fishing line there is also thermal filament fishing line, which is a higher-performance line that is produced by thermal bonding of small fibers. This type of line has a smaller diameter per pound test than monofilament. It is also a bit more expensive and less readily available.

When to Use Monofilament Fishing Line

Monofilament fishing line can be used on a spinning reel or a baitcaster reel. It is best for fishing in freshwater, inshore, nearshore, or off a pier using either a spinning or baitcaster rod and reel. It’s also a great fishing line for small and large native fish species like trout and salmon, as well as flathead, small tuna, kingfish and snapper. Generally, when fishing on a lake, lighter and more sensitive line is ideal, as casting is a more active style of fishing and the targeted species are smaller.

Pros of Monofilament Fishing Line

  • Affordable, readily available
  • Less expensive than other lines
  • Stretches can absorb shocks
  • Abrasion-resistant
  • Uniformly round so it spools neatly
  • Easy to tie knots with
  • Available in special shades of colours such as clear, blue, white, green, red, and fluorescent so the angler can see its position in the water, but the fish cannot.

Cons of Monofilament Fishing Line

  • Not as strong as other types of line, yet takes up more room on the spool
  • Its nylon material breaks down over time in direct sunlight
  • More visible in the water than other types, regardless of the chosen colour or shade
  • The stretch makes it difficult to feel some fish strikes
  • Susceptible to “line memory”, which is when the line “remembers” the shape of the reel it is stored on. Line memory can cause knotting in the reel and could negatively impact casting distance. In contrast, lines with no memory stay straight when they come off the spool, enabling longer, smoother casts.

Braided Fishing LineBraided Fishing Line

Braided fishing line, also made of synthetic plastic fibers such as nylon or more specialty materials like Dacron, see below), is stronger than monofilament line and is therefore more common for fishing larger species. It also has no stretch, which allows anglers to feel every move the fish makes on the end of their line.

Braided lines entered the market in the early 1900s to replace horsehair lines. In earlier days, natural fibers such as cotton, linen, and silk were used for braided lines. These materials have now been largely replaced with synthetic plastic fibers.

When to Use Braided Fishing Line

Braided fishing line is best used during saltwater game fishing, such as offshore trolling of marlin, large tuna, sharks, and large kingfisher. Avoid braided line when some line stretch is actually preferred, such as when trolling for soft-mouthed fish like salmon. Some stretch can act like a shock absorber, making a big difference in successfully hooking a soft-mouthed fish.

Pros of Braided Fishing Line

  • Very strong despite a smaller diameter, so you can pack more line on the spool
  • Sinks faster and casts farther
  • Doesn’t break down in sunlight
  • Less visible to the fish than monofilament line
  • No stretch allows you to feel when a fish bite
  • No stretch allows for better lure movement
  • No “line memory”, which can lead to greater casting distances

Cons of Braided Fishing Line

  • Strong, so it’s more difficult to cut
  • Slippery, so knots are trickier to master
  • Less abrasion-resistant than monofilament
  • Can weigh down your rod
  • More expensive than mono line

Fluorocarbon Fishing Line

Like monofilament, fluorocarbon fishing line is also extruded in a single strand similar, but fluorocarbon molecules are more tightly packed, so the line is denser and noticeably heavier by size than nylon. Fluorocarbon refers to a broad family of compounds, including organics comprised of fluorine, chlorine and carbon, along with synthetics made from hydrocarbons. However, when it comes to fishing line, we’re looking at a material associated with polyvinylidene difluoride (PVDF).

When to Use Fluorocarbon Fishing Line

Because it sinks easily, this type of fishing line is great for bottom fishing, such as jigging or bottom bouncing. Also, because it has a bit of stretch but not too much, it’s suitable for trolling.

By and far, fluorocarbon fishing line is most commonly used as leaders (a short length of heavier test fishing line that attaches to the main line at one end, and the hook or lure at the other). Leaders can be helpful in increasing your chances of hooking and keeping fish, while preventing you from having to cast a whole spool’s worth of heavier material.

Pros of Fluorocarbon Fishing Line

  • Practically invisible to the fish
  • Less stretchy than monofilament line
  • Very abrasion-resistant, water-resistant, and dense
  • Sinks extremely fast in the water, so there is less slack and it’s easier to get your lure at the depth you want.
  • More sensitive, so you can easily feel the lightest bites and even your lure ticking bottom.
  • When used as a leader, it can help reduce line fray from the fish’s mouth.

Cons of Fluorocarbon Fishing Line

  • Stiffer, very prone to line memory
  • Least manageable of the fishing lines
  • More expensive than other types of lines
  • Different brands offering a range of qualities
  • Typing knots requires moistening the line first

Dacron, Spectra & Dyneema

In addition to the types of fishing line mentioned above, it’s important to note that there are more materials than ever before being used to create fishing lines. Nylon remains the most popular and cost-effective material for fishing line, but newer materials such as Dacron, Spectra, and Dyneema are available, particularly for braided lines.

  • Dacron was created by DuPont (the same creators of nylon) in the late 1950s just 20 years after nylon was invented. It’s a long-chain polyester that is a slight improvement over nylon in terms of its strength, flexibility and low stretch.
  • Spectra and Dyneema are modern brand names for ultra-strong polyethylene fiber used for high-tech fishing line. Spectra and Dyneema are stronger than steel and more durable than polyester but come with a higher price tag. These materials can be worth the extra price, though, as they reduce the weight of your tackle while increasing the amount of line that fits onto the spool. They offer more sensitivity, abrasion resistance and knot strength, with low stretch and almost no line memory.

Wire Fishing LineStainless Steel Fishing Line

Wire, either single strand or braided, can also be used as fishing line. Wire fishing line can be especially helpful in catching fish when used as a leader material for fishing toothy fish like mackerel and tuna. Wire is also used during trolling when reaching deeper depths is important. When fishing with wire, you’ll require specialized, hardened spools for your reels.

Line Strength

Whether it’s monofilament or braided, fishing line is sold in different strength ratings (referred to as “tests”, short for tensile strength or tensile testing). The strength of fishing line is measured in pounds and should match up with the weight of the species of fish you are going after. For example, a braided line with a 30-pound test or more would be ideal for large game fish, whereas a 5-pound test would be suitable for trout.

If your line is too light, it might be difficult to cast or it might break when you’re reeling in a heavy load. Worse yet, too heavy a line can break a lightweight rod.

General Fishing Line Tips & Tricks

  • If you’re frequently fishing heavy cover, check your line regularly for nicks, creases and other imperfections that tend to lead to backlashing or less than perfect casts.
  • Always buy and have on hand more line than you think you are going to need. You’ll probably find you go through a lot more than you think.
  • When storing your fishing line, especially nylon line, protect it from harmful UV rays that can ultimately weaken its strength over time. If in doubt, start with a fresh spool every season.
  • Use genuine perfected knots no matter what type of line you’re using to minimize the loss of line strength in the knot area.
  • Try to match your type of line to your class of rod and reel (spinning vs. baitcaster).
  • A fishing line is only as useful as the quality of the knots that are used to attach your lures and bait, so match sure there is enough strength at the knots.
  • If you’ll be casting frequently, opt for smooth, light lines that come off the spool easier, which enables more accurate casts over longer distances.

Looking for a new boat or yacht to start casting lines from? Van Isle Marina has a wide range of yacht services and yachts for sale moored at our docks. Take a look at our selection online or come and see us in person. We are located at 2320 Harbour Road in Sidney, British Columbia near Swartz Bay Ferry Terminal.

Steps to buying a Pre-Owned Yacht

Buying a Pre-Owned Yacht

A Step-by-Step Guide to Buying a Used Boat

Learn the steps involved when purchasing a pre-owned yacht or boat through a yacht broker.

If you’re in the market for a new boat and are looking to keep the costs down, the best place to start is pre-owned boats. From the yacht brokers at Van Isle Marina, here is our step-by-step guide to buying a pre-owned boat.

Step 1: Decide on the Right Type of Boat for Your boating needsRiviera 39 Sports Motor Yacht Running 01 (Medium)

There are many different types of yachts available, including sailing yachts, motor yachts, sports yachts, cruising yachts, fishing yachts, and more. To narrow down what’s right for you, consider the following questions a yacht broker will likely ask you:

  • Are you looking for a sailing yacht or a motor yacht?
  • Will you be using the yacht for fishing, watersports, cruising, entertaining, or a combination?
  • Will you be using the boat for short day trips, long-range cruising, or both?
  • How important are things like speed and power?
  • Do you plan on frequently sleeping or living on your boat?
  • Will you be on your boat for days, weeks, or months at a time?
  • Do you plan on having a lot of guests spending nights on board?
  • What is your level of boating experience?
  • Will you be comfortable navigating a larger vessel, or an older vessel that might require more maintenance?

Step 2: Storage Considerations for your New Boat

In addition to the above questions, another thing to consider is where you plan on keeping your boat. Will it be in your driveway, at your own dock, or in a marina, for example?

If you’ll be docking or mooring your boat, you will need to consider the bridge height limitations, depth and draft considerations, and slip length and width maximums of where you plan on storing your boat when it’s not in use.

With answers to the above questions in mind, it’s time to read up on what boats and yachts are available or visit marinas in person to walk the docks and truly get a feel of the many sensational options out there. Another option is to skip ahead to contacting a yacht broker directly, who can help you start your search from the get-go.

Step 3: Budgeting for your New Boat

As is the case with all big purchases, it’s best to have an idea of what you can realistically afford before starting your search for your perfect vessel. If it’s your first time buying a yacht, our team of brokers will advise you on the costs associated with yacht ownership, including insurance fees, fuel consumption rates, moorage fees, extended warranties, and general maintenance. All of these factors will have a bearing on your overall boating budget.

Generally, when it comes to staying within budget, it’s often a trade-off between the boat’s size and the boat’s age – and not necessarily all of its luxury options. For example, for the same amount of money, you can get more luxury features in a smaller boat of the same age than you would in a larger boat of the same age.

Oftentimes, for newer boaters, the smaller and more updated the model, the better, as it instills confidence in navigating the vessel. The bigger the boat, the bigger the budget must become, plain and simple. At Van Isle Marina, we offer multiple financing options with full transparency and zero early payout or pre-payment restrictions. Know that the terms for boating financing are typically longer than those that are arranged for cars, aligning more with mortgage timelines – they typically range from 12 to 20 years.

Step 4: Looking at Pre-Owned Boats

Once you have a better idea of what you’re looking for, the next step is locating some boats to tour. A yacht broker can help you find the best deals, and many times can locate boats from far and wide that meet all your wish list, even if that boat isn’t officially on the market yet, or at their home marina yet.

At Van Isle Marina, if we don’t currently have what you’re looking for moored at our docks, we will search high and low to find you exactly the make and model you’re after. Our yacht brokers achieve this through their extensive connections with dealers, wholesalers and clients throughout the boating industry.

Like buying a house, yacht brokers will set up showings on your behalf. They can advise on a boat’s condition and flag anything that looks problematic. As with everything you purchase, you might find the right boat right away, or have to look at many options before deciding to make an offer.

Step 5: Making an Offer on a Yacht for Sale

When you find something that ticks all your boxes, making an offer on a yacht for sale is the next step. It might feel hasty at first, but it’s the best way to get ahead of others who are interested. Making an offer on a pre-owned yacht is just like putting down an offer on a house. You need to:

  • state your offer amount,
  • state your contingencies or subjects, and
  • state your timelines.

Your yacht broker will assist with all formal contracts. At this point it is recommended to have put a 10% deposit down, which your yacht broker holds in escrow, to demonstrate to the seller that your offer is serious.

Step 6: Getting a Yacht SurveyedGetting a Yacht Surveyed

One of the contingencies of a used boat sale is having the boat undergo a marine survey. This step is not mandatory but is highly encouraged. Think of this step as a home inspection, where the condition of the vessel is surveyed from bow to stern. Typically, your broker will supply you with a list of approved surveyors – ones that are reputable and known to do a thorough and complete job. There are varying degrees of boat surveys available, for example, more thorough surveys are recommended for older boats, for example, while basic surveys are fine for boats still under warranty.

During a thorough survey, all hands are on deck looking at all of the vessel’s systems in addition to having a certified engine mechanic or surveyor look at the main engines, transmissions and generators with oil samples.

If the yacht you’re looking at has gyros, stabilizer fins, a high-tech integrated entertainment center, and more, choose to have a technician who specializes in that equipment inspecting the vessel as well.

This survey is at your expense (approximately $17 – $20 per linear foot) and could take up to three days to complete. However, it is money well spent.

Step 7: To Buy or Not to Buy the Boat

With the boat surveyor’s report in front of you, it’s time to decide if you will be buying the boat or not. You can either accept the vessel, accept the vessel under certain conditions, or reject the vessel.

  • Acceptance of Vessel – If you are happy with the boat surveyor’s report, you and your yacht broker will submit the necessary form saying as much. You are accepting the boat as-is and are ready to close the deal and take possession of the boat. Congratulations!
  • Conditional Acceptance of Vessel – If some red flags came out of the marine surveyor’s report, you have a chance to bring these to the seller’s attention and negotiate the selling price some more. Your broker will prepare updated contracts stating that you would like to move forward and purchase the boat if the price is adjusted to address marine survey deficiencies. If this new price is accepted, your deposit will become non-refundable.
  • Rejection of Vessel – If the marine survey revealed some major flaws with the vessel and something just isn’t feeling right, you can (and should!) back out of the deal altogether by rejecting the vessel. To do so, you will be required to submit paperwork stating as much, and your deposit will be returned to you.

Step 8: Closing the Dealbuying a pre-owned yacht - closing the deal

Once everything is settled and the deal is moving forward, your broker will guide you through the paperwork to ensure the rest of the transaction goes smoothly. Your boat will soon be all yours! Be sure you’re prepared for its arrival by having the following in place:

  • Storage Solutions – Plan where your boat will be stored when not in use. Will it be at home in your driveway, high and dry? Or at a marina, yacht club, or your own private dock? Some boaters choose convenience and proximity to home, while others go for the amenities of a marina or yacht club, even if it’s further away.
  • Boat Insurance – If you are financing your boat, insurance coverage is a requirement. It needs to be planned for before you close the deal and take possession of the boat.
  • Transfer of Ownership – Remember to register or licence your boat. A previously owned yacht is are already registered, so you must transfer its licence number within 90 days. A yacht broker can also assist with this.

Read more about Boating Insurance, Licence, and Registration Requirements

Buying a boat is almost always an exciting process, especially if you have an experienced yacht broker on your side. That’s where Van Isle Marina can help! To further discuss what type of yacht would best fit your needs, and learn more about our yacht buying process, please feel free to contact one of our yacht brokers.  Our brokers at Van Isle Marina can give you firsthand information and advice to help you make the best decision when buying a pre-owned yacht or boat.


Vancouver Island Summer Festivals

Vancouver Island Summer Festivals

17 Must See Summer Festivals on Vancouver Island

At Van Isle Marina, our staff always look forward to festival season – from all the music and marine festivals, to the food, beverage, and sporting festivals, there is always a lot happening on Vancouver Island from May to September. Check out 17 of our favourites, highlighted below.

1. Heritage Boat FestivalHeritage Boat Festival

May 25, 2019

Ladysmith Community Marina

Check out the annual Heritage Boat Festival to see several heritage vessels from all over the west coast on display. As the event’s tagline goes, these beautiful vessels are shining examples of our “ocean-going history on the west coast.”

Speak with captains of the 20 heritage vessels dockside to learn about these beautiful boats. Kids and adults alike will also enjoy meeting members of the local Coast Guard and taking a ride on one of their newest hovercrafts.

If it’s newer boats or yachts you’re looking for, make your way from Ladysmith to Sidney to stop by and see us at Van Isle Marina.

2. BC Seafood Festival

June 7-16, 2019

Comox Valley, Various Venues

The BC Seafood Festival is the largest seafood festival in western Canada and has been going strong since 2006. Enjoy more than a week’s worth of events designed especially for “sea-foodies” including tastings, pairings, cooking competitions, and celebrity chef cooking demos.

3. Tofino Food and Wine FestivalTofino Food and Wine Festival

June 7-9, 2019

Tofino, Various Venues

The Tofino Food and Wine Festival is entering its 17th year. Enjoy a laidback weekend of food and wine events on the west coast, including the festival’s signature event, Grazing in the Gardens, which features more than 75 BC wines and cider, beer, and tonics from 21 breweries and vineyards,  as well as bites from 20 chefs.

4. Tofino SUP Festival & Race

June 14-16, 2019

Tofino, Chestermans Beach & Mackenzie Beach

Following the Tofino Food and Wine Festival is the Tofino SUP Festival and Race. There will be short and long distance races, fun races and relays, demos, and a huge BBQ. All ages skill levels are welcome to participate.

5. Cowichan Valley Bluegrass FestivalCowichan Bluesgrass Festival

June 14-16, 2019

Cowichan Valley, Laketown Ranch

The inaugural all-ages Cowichan Valley Bluegrass Festival will feature Claire Lynch, The Slocan Ramblers, The Lonely Heartstring Band, The Sweet Lowdown, Clover Point Drifters, Country Squall, Nomad Jones and more. This new festival replaces the former Sooke River Bluegrass Festival, which, after 17 years, outgrew its location and rebranded this year. The new location of Laketown Ranch (same as SunFest) features unlimited camping and a “cozy western town” setting.

6. Victoria Ska Festival

June 19-23, 2019

Victoria, Various Venues

The Victoria Ska Festival, better known simply as SkaFest, is the longest-running ska festival in North America and takes place at various venues around downtown Victoria – from daytime shows on the waterfront to late night performances at pubs and clubs. Dock your boat and join the party with performances from Ky-Mani Marley, Less Than Jake, Macka B, Cherry Poppin Daddies, and dozens more.

7. TD Victoria International JazzFestVictoria Jazz Fest

June 21-30, 2019

Victoria, Various Venues

The TD Victoria International JazzFest, produced by the Victoria Jazz Society, is a huge music festival featuring jazz, blues, roots, world beat and more styles of music from local, Canadian, and internationally acclaimed musicians. Last year there were 85 concerts on 13 stages around town, and this year promises to be just as big, if not bigger.

8. Canada Day Celebrations on Vancouver Island

July 1, 2019

All Over the Island

Vancouver Islanders are known to go all out for Canada Day. If you’ll be visiting Vancouver Island on July 1st, you won’t be too far from a Canada Day Celebration. Free events and parties will be taking place in:

  • Victoria
  • Port Renfrew
  • Esquimalt
  • Colwood
  • Duncan
  • Chemainus
  • Ladysmith
  • Nanaimo
  • Parksville
  • Bowser
  • Comox Valley
  • Campbell River
  • & More!

9. Parksville Beach FestivalParksville Beach Festival - Quality Foods Sand Sculpting Competition

July 12 to August 18, 2019

Parksville Community Park

A highly anticipated event for many Vancouver Islanders is Parksville Beach Festival and the Quality Foods Sand Sculpting Competition and Exhibition. During the competition, international artists come from around the world to sculpt sand castles in a specific theme on Parksville’s public beach in the community park.

While the sand castles are kept on display, the festival hosts a series of live music events and more, allowing ample opportunity for more than 100,000 visitors each year to enjoy all the action on the Island’s east coast.

Hint: Don’t let pictures of the sand castles on social media ruin the experience for you – try and get there in person to see all the intricate detail that goes into the amazing artworks.

10. Vancouver Island Music Festival

July 12-14, 2019

Comox Valley Fairgrounds

The eco-minded, volunteer-led Vancouver Island Music Festival is one of the largest festivals held annually on Vancouver Island, drawing attendees from Victoria to Port Hardy and even the mainland! Tom Cochrane with Red Rider will be headlining this year, along with a wide variety of performers on many different stages.

11. Nanaimo Marine FestivalNanaimo Marine Festival - Bathtub Races

July 19-21, 2019

Nanaimo, Maffeo Sutton Park

You might know the Nanaimo Marine Festival better as Bathtub Weekend – the Harbour City’s most popular tradition that attracts spectators and competitors from all over the world. Race day is Sunday, with concerts in the park, beer gardens, food trucks, a street fair, kids’ zone, vendors, fireworks and much more happening throughout the weekend.

Bathtub Weekend is one of Nanaimo’s biggest and busiest annual events, and very easy to get to by boat, making it one of our favourite events to let our customers know about.

One week ahead of the Nanaimo Marine Festival is the Save on Foods Nanaimo Dragon Boat Festival happening July 5-7, 2019, at the same location, and also a highly energetic and entertaining weekend.

12. SunFestVancouver Island's Sunfest Festival

August 1-4, 2019

Cowichan Lake, Laketown Ranch

SunFest is an annual country music festival that takes place in the Cowichan Valley over three days. During the festival, thousands of country music fans flock to Cowichan Lake to see their favourite A-List country music artists. Camping is encouraged and adds to the good times.  SunFest 2019 features headliners Terri Clark, Kip Moore, Michael Ray, Aaron Goodwin, Andrew Hyatt, Maren Morris and more.

13. Coombs Bluegrass Festival

August 2-4, 2019               

A Coombs Hilliers Recreation & Community Organization Production

For a lively weekend of bluegrass tunes, don’t miss the  41st Coombs Bluegrass Festival. There are several bands booked so far for this quaint but energetic showcase: Queens Bluegrass, Rough Cut, Backspin Band,  The Weavils, 5 On A String, Old Time Fiddlers, Scout Mountain, and the Sacred Harmony Gospel Band are all making appearances. Camping is available on-site, and during performances, there will be lots of covered seating in the bleachers, or you can bring your lawn chair and sit right up front.

14. Comox Nautical Days

August 3-5, 2019

Comox Marina Park

Comox Nautical Days includes the always anticipated fireworks show, as well as the Bullhead Derby, Build Bail and Sail, Vintage Car Show, and the HMCS Quadra Ceremony of the Flags. Also take some time to enjoy the rides, games and crafts for the kids and the Rotary Splash Park and Playground. Rounding out this popular festival will be more than 100 craft booths and a variety of food trucks.

15. Summer Firework SaturdaysButchart Gardens Saturday Night Fireworks Shows

June to August

Butchart Gardens in Brentwood Bay

If you’ll be on Vancouver Island looking for something spectacular to do on a Saturday night but don’t want to commit to a full festival, check the fireworks at the world-class Butchart Gardens. During Butchart Gardens’ Spectacular Summer Evenings, there will be Night Illumination displays and evening entertainment. Fireworks will happen on 10 select Saturdays beginning on June 29.

16. Salmon Festival & Derby

August 30-September 2, 2019

Port Alberni, Tyee Landing (next to Fisherman’s Wharf

A Labour Day tradition in Port Alberni, the Salmon Festival is heading into its 48th year. The biggest attractions of the Salmon Fest are the Salmon Derby and the fireworks. Live music and other events like a karaoke contest and kids’ activities round out this family-friendly festival in the Salmon Capital of the World. This is the third year in a row the Salmon Festival has taken place at Tyee Landing, so if you’ve been to the derby before but haven’t been in awhile – take note of its new location!

17. Rifflandia

September 12-15, 2019

Victoria, Various Venues

Finally, Rifflandia in Victoria typically marks the end of the Island’s festival season. Still a relatively new music festival, Rifflandia has grown to be one of Vancouver Island’s biggest festivals, drawing many modern acts, big names and Juno Award winners. Expect four days of parties at multiple venues across more than a dozen stages. An artisan market featuring vintage, upcycled, and handmade goods is also part of this festival.


On your next trip to Vancouver Island, we hope you get the chance to experience some of the Island’s world-class events. While you’re here, we also invite you to come and check us out at Van Isle Marina in Sidney BC for a relaxing time checking out our yachts and boats.

Sidney BC is a quaint seaside town with a wide variety of things to check out while you’re mooring with us.

The staff at Van Isle Marina are your Pacific Northwest boating experts and will be happy to show you around our docks!

Sailing Essentials Important Items to Bring on Your Boat

Sailing Essentials

Important Items to Bring on Your Boat

Packing for a boating trip is not unlike packing for an airplane ride. It begins with creating a list, packing your bags, and then anxiously hoping you haven’t forgotten anything!

If you’re new to boating, use our list below as a starting point, noting that the items you’ll wish to bring will vary based on the length of your trip and the current and forecasted weather conditions.

Here’s a list of items that you absolutely need to have with you every time you’re out on a boat.

Passport & Boating Documents

Make sure your insurance papers, boating licence, and registration are all on board, as well as some form of photo ID, particularly your passport if you will be boating internationally.  Read about what type of boating licences are required.

Soft-sided Luggage

Try and get everything into soft-sided luggage like a duffel bag or backpack in order to maximize storage space on board. Hard luggage is more difficult to fit into closets and cabinets.

Smaller Grab-Bag

Items of importance, such as your wallet, cash, keys, passport, prescription meds, credit cards, and phone should all be stored in a small bag that is easy to grab and go in the case of an emergency. Also include in this bag a printed list of emergency contact names and phone numbers, your insurance policy number and number, and doctor names and numbers.

Sunscreenyachting essentials - sunscreen

We hope this one goes without saying! Always pack more sunscreen than you ever think you’ll need. Choose non-oil-based sunscreens in order to protect your yacht’s upholstery and wooden finishes as much as possible. Lip balm with SPF and insect repellent are also recommended.


While sunglasses are recommended for passengers, they are essentially a must-have for drivers.  The sun can be particularly blinding while boating as the rays reflect off the water. Sunglasses also shield a boat operator’s eyes from splashing water so they can stay focused on the task at hand.

Polaroid sunglasses with UV protection can further reduce the amount of glare coming into your eyes from reflected light, allowing your iris to stay open wider and improving your sight.

Some sailors even swear by having goggles on board for when the weather turns really bad and you need protection from heavy rains but without the shaded lenses. 

Ziplock Bagsyachting essential - dry bag

Ziplock bags or dry bags are great for more than just keeping money and electronics dry during day trips to the beach. You can also use Ziplock bags for dirty or wet clothes, and for sealing opened bags of snacks! Never underestimate all the uses there are for Ziplock bags on any type of trip.

Prescriptions & Seasickness Pills

If you’re prone to seasickness – and many people are no matter how often they go boating – consider packing seasickness or anti-nausea medication. Remember to also bring enough of your prescription medications for longer trips.

First Aid Kit

Always make sure your watertight or waterproof first aid kit is fully stocked before heading out, and includes all the usual suspects such as gauze, bandages, aspirin, antibiotic ointment and gloves. Flares, matches, a water-resistant flashlight and fire extinguishers are also a must.

When you buy a yacht through Van Isle Marina, our yacht brokers will make sure you know about all of the safety gear you are required to have on board.


Speaking of flashlights, bring an additional light on board that is kept separate from the first aid kit. Even better, a headband light for hands-free chart navigation and engine space inspections is extremely handy. Don’t forget to bring extra batteries!


Consider bringing DVDs and CDs with you to enjoy, which are more reliable than streaming services and don’t require special devices that need recharging. By all means, bring your tablet and smartphones too – most yachts will have a charging station or two. Also remember games, playing cards, pens and paper, and a few books and magazines.

Binoculars and cameras can also come in handy; binoculars for birdwatching and cameras for sunsets.yachting essentials - binoculars

Sailing Knife and Marlinspike

For safety and convenience, consider carrying a knife and marlinspike secured to your belt with a lanyard. The knife is handy for cutting through sailing rope and the marlinspike can help pry open strands of rope for splicing. Folding knives with a three-inch blade and marlinspike work in a pinch, but a straight blade rigging knife and a separate marlinspike in a sheath is better in emergencies.

Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs)

Make sure there are enough PFDs for everyone on board, in the appropriate sizes. Inform everyone on board where the PFDs are stowed.


Bring more than one cap or hat on board to protect you from the sun, cold, and rain. Consider a large-brimmed hat for sunny weather, and a breathable, microfibre material cap for nighttime watches to keep you warm.

Spare Clothes

Without overpacking to the extreme, we recommend bringing spare clothing, like a spare pair of shoes and a backup bathing suit. In the event that things get wet (as they happen to do aboard a boat!) and don’t have a chance to dry out, having extra sets will certainly increase your comfort on board.

Rainy Weather Gear

When it rains, you’ll want more than just a hat. For longer boating trips, bring a raincoat, bib-pants, thick socks, and sea boots geared to the conditions in which you’ll be cruising. Whether it’s warm or cold weather, go for modern microfiber synthetic layers, including thermal underwear and a neck warmer for better comfort.


If you’ll be sailing and using sailing lines, gloves are going to be a must to prevent blistered, rope-burned hands. Full-length sailing gloves cover everything except the tips of your fingers and provide the best protection when working sailing sheets, halyards, and anchoring rode.

Personal Locator Beacon

A Personal Locator Beacon or Personal Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) is a small hand-held device that allows you to transmit a distress signal directly to the authorities in case of an emergency. Your yacht comes equipped with an EPIRP, but personal EPIRPs are available as added peace of mind.

Some types of these devices are available with strobe lights, which can greatly assist during man-overboard situations.

Hand-held GPS Unit

A hand-held GPS unit could be handy for anyone acting as backup to the skipper, or for use on shore for day hikes, for example.


Unless you plan on catching your own food every day that you’re on board, make sure your galley is stocked with enough sustenance for the duration of your trip, or enough to get you to the nearest port.

Fishing Tackle

Does your tackle box need a top up?

Items to Leave on Your Boat

Some items only have to be packed onto your boat once, when you first acquire your boat:

  • Kitchen supplies like cookware, utensils, cups, plates, bowls etc
  • Beach towels and bathing towels
  • Cleaning supplies (vacuum cleaner and mop)
  • Toiletries

When it comes to packing for a 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 some of these items on board year-round. We also have storage lockers available to further assist with your boating supplies while you moor with us.

Baitcast vs Spinreels

Baitcast vs Spin Reels

When to Use Which Fishing Reel Type

In addition to the various types of fishing there are to choose from, there are also various styles of casting methods anglers use. By far the two most common casting methods for fishing off a boat or yacht are spin casting and baitcasting – both terms relate to the type of reel & rod you’re using. Here is our comparison of the pros and cons of the two main types of casting methods: spin casting and baitcasting.

As with the lures vs live bait debate, between spin casting and baitcasting, most anglers will tell you that there is no better all-around method – both methods work equally well if you use the right casting method the right way and in the fishing conditions they were intended for.

Differences Between Baitcaster and Spinning Reels

A reel is a mechanical device attached to a fishing rod that stores, releases, and collects the fishing line via a rotating arm. And they are not all built alike! While both are multiplier reels, meaning that a single revolution of the handle makes the spool rotate more than one time, there are some key differences.

Between the baitcasting reel and the spinning reel, by far the most obvious difference is the placement position on the rod, and direction (orientation) of the spool. Baitcasting reels sit on top of the rod and have a spool which is inline with the fishing rod, while the spool of a spinning reel is perpendicular to the rod and is underneath the rod.

All this means is that the line on a baitcaster comes off the spool directly in line with the rod while the line of a spinning reel is let off away from the rod and then has to make a turn to follow the length of the rod.

Let’s take a closer look at what this means, and when to use each type of reel & rod:

What Is Spincasting?spincasting reel

Spincasting is the term used when you’re casting a fishing rod using a spinning reel, or a spincast reel.

Spinning and spincast reels are positioned under the rod with the spool perpendicular to the rod.  The line in a spinning reel wraps around the spool and goes through a roller or small wheel called a power roller before it continues up through the rod guides. A metal arm (the “bail”) keeps the line in place to ensure it stays over the power roller.

To cast using a spinning reel, you need to first move the bail arm up to free the line and allow it to unspool. This move is known as “opening the bail”. The spool of a spinning reel doesn’t spin during the casting, so keep the line tight by pulling on the line with your index finger as you prepare to cast.

Keep up the pressure on the line during your backswing; only release it at the end of your casting motion. Many anglers like the spinning reel because you don’t have to keep steady pressure on the line while making a cast. There is inherent speed control with this method.

On some spinning reels, you can adjust the drag – the amount of resistance the reel applies to the line –via a dial on the front of the spool. Spinning reels without top-quality drags can tighten on their own or slip and catch at the bail, which can end up breaking the line.

Using this type of casting method, your dominant hand typically holds the rod and the other hand operates the reel. Spinning reels are what most anglers learn to fish with before graduating onto the baitcaster because it covers all the bases for standard sized fish species, is the cheaper of the two types of reels, and is the easier technique to master.

Spinning Reel and Spincast Reel ProsSpincast reel

  • Cheaper to buy
  • Easier to use
  • No backlash (sudden bunching of the line due to a spool moving too quickly)
  • Suitable for lightweight line and lures
  • Easier to cast near the shoreline or under overhanging trees with a sidearm cast
  • Easy to switch left and right-hand orientations
  • Easy to add more line capacity with an additional reel

Spincasting Cons

  • Heavier, bulkier device
  • Not as strong or durable
  • Line can tangle, twist or tear (the dreaded wind knots)
  • Less drag ability (refers to how much resistance a fish feels when it pulls on the line. The tighter the drag is set, the more resistance the fish feels)
  • No distance control

When to Use a Spinning Reel

Spinning and spincaster reels are best used in a number of situations:

  • When you’re targeting smaller or standard sized fish species
  • When your lures and tackle are generally lightweight
  • When you’ll be placing your rod in a holder and are looking for something you can set and forget without risking as many technical problems.
  • When you’re on a budget and just can’t swing the higher cost of a baitcaster.
  • When you’ll be loaning your rod to beginners who need something easy to work with.
  • When you’re providing gear for a class or chartered groups and need to switch easily between left and right orientations.

A Word on Spincast Reels

A spinoff of the spinning reel, called a spincast reel, has a plastic cover (closed face), which is meant to reduce tangled lines, making the spincast reel even easier to use than a spinning reel. Designed for line control, spincasts also have a button on the reel that when pressed allows the line to unspool freely.

To use a spincast reel, simply press the button on the back of the reel during a forward cast. The line flows on out, and when you let go of the button, you’re essentially braking the cast and the line stops. Spincasts are considered the easiest reel to use, making them suitable for children, but with them you sacrifice accuracy and distance (due to a lower line capacity). Also, due to the closed cover, any tangles that DO occur can go unnoticed and become a true mess.

What Is Baitcasting?Baitcast Reel

Baitcasting is the term used when you’re casting a fishing rod using a baitcast reel. A baitcast reel sits on top of the rod so the spool is parallel to the rod, rather than perpendicular like the spincast reel. Another key difference is that with a baitcaster reel and rod, the rings of your rod are positioned on top of the rod and are larger. (And for the record, no, using a baitcaster on a spin rod is not recommended!) A baitcaster works well with monofilament, fluorocarbon and braid line types.

When you’re baitcasting, the spool moves with the casting of the line, so it requires a more experienced angler to keep things under control. If you don’t keep things under control, your spool ends up moving faster than your casting line is flying, and the line bunches up into a knotty mess. This is called backlash, or a bird’s nest, and although it can be reduced or prevented with practice, it is what makes this a more complex casting method. Experienced anglers will use their thumb to brake and control the line as they are casting.

When using a baitcaster, the dominant hand holds the rod to cast, and then the angler switches hands to reel in the cast, so the dominant hand controls the reel as well.

Baitcaster Pros

  • Durable
  • Lightweight, low-profile
  • Can hold heavier line
  • Can hold more line
  • More distance control and precision
  • Longer casts
  • Stronger drag capabilities
  • Can handle heavier fish
  • Can handle heavier fishing lines and lures

Baitcaster Cons

  • More expensive
  • Higher learning curve; requires more experience
  • Backlashes (sudden bunching of the line in the spool)
  • Difficult to switch between left and right orientations

When to Use a Baitcaster Reel

Baitcaster reels are best used in a number of situations:

  • When you’re fishing for heavier fish
  • When you’re a more experienced angler
  • When you can invest in the higher price
  • When the weather is tough, or the conditions are harsh
  • When you’ll be casting frequently and will appreciate the lighter weight of the device
  • When you aren’t using a rod holder, you’ll appreciate the lighter weight of the device over time.

For more information on any of these casting methods, we recommend chatting with other fishermen, including us here at Van Isle Marina or the clerks at the tackle shops. There are also many helpful videos and infographics online to help you get started.

At the end of the day, each of these methods has their time and place (where and how you plan to fish) – and we hope that time and place will be aboard a boat in the Pacific Northwest.

Looking for a new boat or yacht to start casting lines from? Van Isle Marina has a wide range of yachts for sale moored at our docks. Take a look at our selection online or come and see us in person. We are located at 2320 Harbour Road in Sidney, British Columbia near Swartz Bay Ferry Terminal.

Van Isle Marina at 2019 BC Boat Show

2019 BC Boat Show is Here

Come See Us at the 2019 BC Boat Show

Don’t miss out on the 2019 BC Boat Show, the largest in-the-water boat show on the West Coast!

The 29th annual BC Boat Show happening May 2-5, 2019 at Port Sidney Marina in Sidney BC is just days away, and we here at Van Isle Marina are happy to announce we have added two more vessels to the list of boats we will be displaying this year.

Hosted by the British Columbia Yacht Brokers Association (BCYBA), the BC Boat Show is a huge draw for boating enthusiasts from all over the West Coast. The show is perfect for seasoned and beginner boaters alike. Enjoy displays of the latest in marine supplies, equipment, and information while touring a wide variety of new and previously owned boats.

Among the more than 200 boats that will be for sale and on display during the BC Boat Show, Van Isle Marina will be showcasing the following yachts at this year’s event:

  • 43’ Riviera Open Flybridge 2019
  • 32’ Back Cove 2018
  • 42’ Tiara Open 2004
  • 34’ Sea Ray Sundancer 2006

Our experienced yacht brokers will be happy to tour you around our boats on display. Find us at the corner of the main dock and E dock.

Here is a bit of a teaser of what we’ll be showcasing:

43 Riviera Open Flybridge 201943' Riviera Flybridge 2019

The Riviera 43 Open Flybridge from Australia’s most awarded luxury boat builder incorporates great function and style within a supremely comfortable hull. Included over three levels of living space and large cockpits, this yacht has two designer staterooms, two bathrooms, a full galley with a breakfast bar, saloon, optional laundry, side decks, optional BBQ area, and plenty more handcrafted, well-designed features. The bright, airy, open flybridge features a hardtop, regular lounge, L-shaped all-weather forward lounge, wet bar, and spacious helm.

When it comes to propulsion, the proven Volvo Penta Inboard Performance System (IPS) has allowed Riviera designers to create a fresh accommodation layout on the new 43 Open Flybridge. With all major engineering positioned well aft, enormous gains are made with beam-width space amidships.

Cruising at 28 knots with a top speed of around 31 knots, the 43 Open Flybridge has a range of 340 nautical miles from its 476-gallon tank. And of course, handling the new 43 Open Flybridge in close-quarters is made care-free via the use of the integrated joystick control.

This particular boat is equipped with 2x 12″ Garmin Glass Bridge GPS screens, integrated GRID controller autopilot helm. Garmin GSD 26 CHIRP sounder and transducer, 4 KW Open Array Radar.

People are changing the way they boat, and Riviera’s new designs reflect this transition.

Don’t miss your chance to do a walkthrough of the impressive 43 Open Flybridge at the BC Boat Show to experience this stunning vessel in person.

Learn more about the Riviera 43 Open Flybridge we will have on display at the BC Boat Show.

32 Back Cove 201832 Back Cove at the BC Boat Show

We’re confident the 32 Back Cove yacht will be a popular stop for BC Boat Show attendees! Like all Back Cove Yachts, the Back Cove 32 has a practical elegance and style that pay homage to early Maine lobster boats. This award-winning, head-turning Downeast-style model promises dependability and exceptional fuel efficiency from a single-diesel Volvo D6 370 mhp electronically controlled engine and marine gear, straight-forward systems, and expert construction.

The Back Cove 32 features an advanced prop pocket hull design and a single-level deck from transom to companionway, bringing the social spaces of the cockpit and pilothouse into one. A galley-up design opposite a versatile settee, complete with fully equipped galley rounds out the upper level. Down below, a private master stateroom with a double island berth allows for a more secluded area.

Additional features like a wood-grain steering wheel, charging stations for your electronics, swimming platform, LED lighting throughout, and interior and helm deck speakers, are proof that Back Cove has thought of everything with this luxury model. The attention to detail and sensible nautical design that has gone into the Back Cove 32 yacht ensures reliability and unprecedented comfort during every trip out on the water.

Learn more about the 32 Back Cove we are bringing to the BC Boat Show.

Van Isle Marina is the exclusive dealer of Riviera and Back Cove Motor Yachts in Western Canada and we look forward to showing you why we are so drawn to their boats at the upcoming BC Boat Show!

In addition to having new yachts for sale, the Van Isle Marina team also specializes in previously owned yachts and will be bringing two such yachts with us to the show:

Tiara 4200 Open 200442' Tiara 4200 2004 at the BC Boat Show

The Tiara 4200 Open is the ultimate sportfishing vessel that feels luxurious, spacious, and stylish all at once. This well-maintained and recently updated model sleeps up to five people and comes with a fully equipped galley, luxury master stateroom, salon, BBQ area, sound system, multiple flat screen TVs, a convertible settee, a convertible dinette, swimming platform, and the list goes on!

For the fishermen on board, the 42’ Tiara comes with four each rod holders, livewell, curved companion seat with station, fish box with macerator, and a live bait well. The cockpit wet bar also contains plenty of prep and storage space for your daily catches.

Updates include recently upgraded cockpit upholstery, new domestic fresh water pump with inline filtration system, and new Hurley H20 dinghy davit system equipped with a new Zodiac 10′ Cadet RIB inflatable tender. This vessel is also equipped with all-new matching fenders and dock lines. She’s definitely ready for her upcoming appearance at the BC Boat Show!

Learn more about the 42’ Tiara Open we will have on display at the BC Boat Show.

34’ Sea Ray Sundancer 2006

Just in time for summer cruising this 34’ Sundancer 2006 has just been listed with us at Van Isle Marina. This Sea Ray offers stylish aesthetics for the jetsetter and power for the explorer combined in perfect harmony. Drive to the places only your heart knows, and when you arrive, entertain with ease in your optional transom gourmet center. First-class amenities in the cabin stretch from the island-style bed to the gorgeous salon and beyond; in the cockpit, conversation flows with ease.

The 34’ Sea Ray Sundancer 2006 we’ll be displaying at this year’s BC Boat Show offers an affordable, comfortable ride with lots of power from its low-hour (600) Mercruiser 370 hp V drive engines. It’s a great vessel for the price, featuring plenty of entertaining and seating space above and down below.

This Sundancer comes with a newly installed Garmin GPS 7610 Chartplotter and Garmin GMR Fantom 18 Radar, as well as all-new manifolds, PSS shaft seals, and starter motors. Other features include a swim grid, an enclosed canvas helm and NU Teak flooring in the cockpit. Note that this is a “big” 34-footer, with the actual length of the vessel coming in at 37 feet.

Learn more about the 34’ Sea Ray Sundancer coming to the BC Boat Show.

To learn more about these boats and others, join our brokers and thousands of other boating enthusiasts in Sidney for the BC Boat Show.

More Things To Do at the BC Boat Show

At the upcoming BC Boat Show, you’ll have the chance to tour a wide selection of power and sailboats on the water, including four of the yachts we have for sale right now at Van Isle Marina.

In addition to checking out all the boats, you’ll also have the chance to learn from on-site yacht brokers who are able to answer your boating questions. It’s also a great chance to meet other enthusiastic members of the recreational boating industry as well.

There will also be a tented showroom on land showcasing a wide selection of outboards, dinghies, navigation equipment, fishing gear and more.

A snack bar and floating beer garden will round out the festivities nicely!

BC Boat Show 2019 Show Hours

Join us during Show Hours:

  • Thursday, May 2 – 11:00 am – 7:00 pm
  • Friday, May 3 – 11:00 am – 7:00 pm
  • Saturday, May 4 – 10:00 am – 7:00 pm
  • Sunday, May 5 – 10:00 am – 5:00 pm

Buy Tickets to the BC Boat Show 

Day passes are $8 online or $10 at the gate. All-access passes for all four days are $20 and only available online. Special rates apply for children and seniors.

We look forward to seeing you in Sidney for the BC Boat Show! While you’re in Sidney, we hope you have time to check out some of the items on our list of 15 Things to Do in Sidney. Why not also make the trip up the coast to tour Van Isle Marina and all the current yachts we have for sale right now? We are located about 3 km north of the host marina for this year’s show.

Learn more about the BC Boat Show

Learn more about Van Isle Marina 



15 things to do in Sidney BC

15 Things to Do in Sidney BC

Wondering What To Do While You’re Visiting Sidney?

Many boating enthusiasts who come to the Pacific Northwest from far and wide to take in the area’s stunning scenery make a point of stopping in Sidney by the Sea – a seaside community in British Columbia, Canada.sidney pier in Sidney, BC, Canada

Sidney is located at the northern end of the Saanich Peninsula on the southern tip of Vancouver Island. The small town is where we here at Van Isle Marina call home.

Sometimes referred to as the gateway to Vancouver Island, Sidney is home to around 11,500 residents and is a popular tourist destination, especially during the spring and summer months. It also happens to be the only Canadian port-of-call in the Washington State Ferries system, with ferries running from Sidney to the San Juan Islands and Anacortes. Sidney is also just minutes away from the Victoria International Airport and Swartz Bay Ferry Terminal.

If you are planning a trip to Vancouver Island, our friendly Van Isle Marina staff recommend checking out the following attractions in Sidney, BC.

Waterfront Walkway

After you’ve experienced Sidney’s waterfront from your yacht, Sidney’s waterfront walkway is the next best way to fully experience the town’s beautiful shoreline. Along the 3.6-km walkway, you’ll find Beacon Park and the start of the Sidney Seaside Sculpture Walk that ambles south towards the Sidney International Ferry Terminal. On this self-guided tour, stop to take pictures of the public art and sculptures, such as the Board Dog, Eye of the Ocean, and Double Spinner.

Sidney Pierromantic pier in Sidney BC

Along the waterfront walkway in Sidney, you’ll also happen upon the town’s iconic fisherman’s pier where you will be able to grab a bite to eat or visit the fish market. Why not stay a while, cast a line, and see if anything bites? The pier in Sidney is also a popular spot for crab fishing.


Sidney is an excellent place to stock up on books for your boat! With its five independent bookstores, Sidney is known as Canada’s only “Booktown”. Each of Sidney’s independently owned bookshops has a unique identity and focal point, with experts behind the counter who have put together special collections of thousands of titles to choose from.

Lochside Trail

Sidney is conveniently located on the Lochside Trail a 29-kilometre multi-use path that connects the Swartz Bay Ferry Terminal to Victoria, where it connects with the Galloping Goose Trail. A great way to experience the Lochside Trail is to rent a bike in Sidney to head out on this trail that was formerly a railway line. You’ll zip past beaches and farmland, while exploring the suburban countryside.

BC Aviation Museum

For aviation enthusiasts, the British Columbia Aviation Museum is open seven days a week and features several aircraft and artifacts related to the history of aviation in Canada, with an emphasis on BC aviation history. The museum displays restored aircraft, engines, and pictures, photos and videos in addition to memorials of key figures of aviation history.Sidney Museum in Sidney, BC, Canada

Sidney Museum

The Sidney Museum features 8,000 artifacts and regularly updated permanent displays on local First Nations, industry, transportation, agriculture, and social history. Displays include a vintage kitchen, a vintage storefront, a rustic barn and a hands-on schoolhouse. In addition to its permanent exhibits, the Sidney Museum also features temporary exhibits. A schedule can be found on their website.

Wines, Beers & Ciders

Deep Cove Winery in Sidney BC

In and around Sidney, there are numerous vineyards and distillers around to help quench your thirst, including Victoria Distillers’ new waterfront distillery in Sidney, the Sea Cider Far & Cider House in Saanichton, the Roost Vineyard Bistro in North Saanichton, and Deep Cove Winery, also in North Saanichton.

Roberts Bay

Enjoy an afternoon of hiking and birdwatching at Robert’s Bay and the Shoal Harbour Migratory Bird Sanctuary. You can birdwatch from your boat, or moor with us at Van Isle Marina and walk over to explore the area on foot. Other nearby sites include Island View Beach and Horth Hill Regional Park.

Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea Aquarium

The Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea on Sidney’s waterfront is a world-class, hands-on aquarium featuring 160 species of marine life, a marine mammal artifact exhibit, and a Coast Salish art collection. It’s a great attraction for kids and adults alike with an events calendar that includes everything from children’s activities to informative lectures and workshops about the Salish Sea.

Downtown Shopping

Be sure to leave time to explore all of downtown Sidney, where there are plenty of boutique shops featuring the work of local artisans and crafters. Enjoy an afternoon of strolling through each shop for some truly unique finds. Sidney shops offer something for everyone, whether you’re looking for special artwork for your boat, gifts for your loved ones, or functional items for your home.

Sidney Street Market

The Sidney Street Market has been going strong since 1999! If you’re lucky enough to be in Sidney on a Thursday evening between June and August, be sure to make your way downtown and stock up on fresh ingredients and local crafts from Island vendors.

Sidney Spit

Sidney Spit, located on the north end of Sidney Island,  is part of the Gulf Islands National Park Reserve. The area features stunning sandy beaches, wooded trails, and a host of birds and wildlife. There are campsites, dock spaces, and mooring buoys for overnight stays. Get there in your powerboat or kayak, or use the walk-on ferry service that provides access to the Island from May to September.

Sidney Whale Watching

The calm waters near Sidney make the region an excellent place for whale watching. Watch from the privacy of your own boat, or book through Sidney Whale Watching.

BC Boat Show & Other Annual Events

Sidney hosts a wide range of annual events throughout the year, including the 2019 BC Boat Show in May, where members of the Van Isle Marina team will be offering tours of our boats. Check Sidney’s featured events calendar to see what else will be happening in town during your trip.

Van Isle Marina & Sea Glass Waterfront Grill Sidney by the Sea, Sidney, British Columbia, Canada

As a bonus item on our list of Things to Do in Sidney, BC, we thought we might as well include ourselves! Take a walk on our docks and check out all the boats we have moored here. While you’re here, we hope you also check out the Sea Glass Waterfront Grill, which serves up contemporary west coast dining.

The boating experts here at Van Isle Marina are very familiar with Sidney, and we would love to answer any questions you might have about the town itself, and how to navigate to nearby communities and attractions, whether by car or boat. We look forward to welcoming you to our docks and the quaint seaside region we call home.


Anchoring Mooring Docking - Van Isle Marina

Anchoring, Mooring & Docking

Learning the (Getting) Ins and Outs of Boating

Let’s look at the differences between anchoring, mooring, and docking. While they all refer to ways of securing your boat in place when necessary, these 3 nautical terms all mean something slightly different.

An essential part of learning how to navigate a new vessel is learning all the options you have for stopping your boat whenever the need arises, such as when you’re:

  • Preparing for an overnight at sea
  • Waiting for a storm to pass
  • Stopping to cast a line
  • Taking a swimming break
  • Retiring the boat for the season
  • Getting fueled up

To secure your yacht in place for any length of time, your choices include anchoring, mooring, or docking the boat. All these terms refer to securing your boat in position on the water – for hours, days, or months at a time.

Anchoring Your BoatAnchoring - Van Isle Marina, Sidney BC

Anchoring your boat refers to dropping a large heavy object that is attached to your boat into the water, where it latches itself to the seabed with hooks and suction to keep the boat in place. You can anchor your boat anywhere if you have an anchor cable (known as an anchor rode) that’s long enough. To figure out how long your anchor rode should be, multiply the deepest water you might anchor in by eight.

Many modern motor yachts come with built-in anchoring systems. For example, like on most Riviera luxury yachts, the anchoring station on board the Riviera 57 Enclosed Flybridge is located at the bow, concealed from view, and comes with a remote control, fresh and saltwater washdown outlets, and a rope locker.

Having your yacht come with an anchoring station takes the guesswork out of which size and weight of anchor is best for your vessel, but there is a greater science behind anchoring that you’ll want to be aware of if you’re a new boat owner, especially if you’ll be anchoring in varying types of sea beds.

For additional anchoring security, many boaters carry two anchors of different styles – a fluke/Danforth style and a plow/scoop variety. The type of seabed you’re navigating, such as mud, grass, sand, coral, or rock, will determine which anchor is most suitable to use. Research your anchoring options before sailing too far from shore and make sure you’re confident with how the process works.

Mooring Your BoatMooring - Van Isle Marina, Sidney BC

Mooring refers to lassoing, tethering, tying, or otherwise securing your boat to a fixed object, such as a mooring buoy, rather than dropping an anchor to secure your vessel anywhere you fancy. You can moor your boat to a mooring buoy, dock, quay, wharf, jetty, or pier.

If mooring at a dock or pier with many other boats, such as at Van Isle Marina, there is a chance your boat will be occupying a dock or dock space that is the width of your boat, rather than the length. However, you will always have your own strip of docking walkway for easy loading and unloading.

Mooring your boat (sometimes called berthing) is done a few different ways and might take some trial and error until you perfect this skill. Mooring in a tight space amongst many other boaters proves to be intimidating for many new boaters.

To moor a boat at a mooring buoy out in open water, you’ll need something to grab hold of the buoy with, such as a boat hook or a line. You can either lasso the buoy with your line and pull your boat towards it to further secure it or use a boat hook to reach out and grab the buoy.

At these types of mooring locations, there will most likely be the mooring anchor, mooring chain, and mooring buoy – all you need to supply is the line or the hook to help your boat attach to the mooring area.

  • mooring anchor – this is a regular anchor in a fixed position that keeps your boat steady while it is being moored. Use one that is three times the weight of your service anchor.
  • mooring chain – this line connects the anchor to the floating buoy. We recommend three times the length of depth, and a quarter-inch larger than your service chain.
  • mooring buoy – a floating device that connects to the anchor and marks the place where the boat is moored.

If you find a vacant mooring anchor and buoy, simply pull up as close to it as possible and attach your line and mooring buoy accordingly – using your lasso technique or the boat hook. If the buoy is not public property, be prepared to vacate at short notice if the owner turns up. To tell if the buoy is strong enough to moor your yacht, consider the size of boats on similar buoys nearby and use your best judgment.

If you have enough hands on-deck, backing the boat up will likely get you close enough to the mooring point via the stern rather than the bow, making things a little simpler, depending on the shape of your boat.

Van Isle Marina offers moorage for boats of all sizes at competitive rates per square foot.

A Word on Rafting Up: Sometimes you might come across boats that are tied together on the water. This is known as “rafting up” and is essentially a boat moored to another boat. It can come in handy when every other moorage station is full, in emergencies, or if you’re just looking to socialize with another boat on the water. If you’re looking to raft up with another boat, whether it’s moored already or you’re both out on the open sea, the proper etiquette is to ask first, and have your fenders in place and an anchor ready to drop.

Docking Your BoatDocking - Van Isle Marina, Sidney, BC

Docking your boat refers to pulling your vessel up to a dock as parallel as you can, and then using ropes (dock lines) and nautical knots to secure (fasten) the boat to the dock.

In addition to the docking line, to dock your boat safely, you’ll require four or more fenders – large plastic or rubber devices that act as a buffer between the boat and the dock or pier and other boats, protecting both from damage. Using a couple large fenders close together at the front of your boat when coming into dock can act as a bumper, further protecting your yacht during this procedure.

When you’re docking a boat, the boat will be close enough for guests to easily disembark the vessel onto the dock (land). Docking usually means the length of your boat (bow and stern) will be secured to the dock, giving you a maximum amount of space for loading and unloading of supplies, as well as maintenance and cleanup of your vessel.

Docking is made easier when there is someone already on the dock to help you, and when the winds and the tide are cooperating. However, just like parallel parking a car, docking a boat gets easier and easier each time you do it. At Van Isle Marina, one of our experienced boaters can show you how it’s done.

Van Isle Marina in Sidney, BC is your go-to boat marina in the Pacific Northwest. We love to help fellow boaters just like us learn more about all the ins and outs of boating, including anchoring, mooring, and docking. If you’re interested in buying or selling a boat or moorage at our marina, give us a call or stop by to find out why so many people love to moor with us.


What people have to say about mooring with Van Isle Marina:

Impeccable facilities, moorage for 100’+ yachts down to small fishing boats, always helpful and alert staff, 24 hour video security, full service boatyard, large dry stowage yard, two sided fuel dock, Canada Customs dock, pumpout dock, laundry, showers and the best restaurant in town all located just 15 minutes from Victoria International Airport (YYJ) and on the door step to one of the best cruising grounds on Earth.  ~ EZBob Vincent


Great spot for moorage. Friendly staff, excellent facilities with updated docks.  ~ Scott Hutchinson

33 Different Types of Fishing - Van Isle Marina

33 Different Styles of Fishing

33 Ways to Fish – from Angling to Trotlining

When you find the fishing technique you prefer over all other styles, it’s quite easy to forget that other styles of fishing even exist! But at Van Isle Marina, we believe it’s never too late to try something new. If you’re new to the world of fishing, or just looking for another type of fishing style to master, check out our overview of the different types of fishing out there.

As a community of enthusiastic boaters, our favourite way to fish involves anything off a boat. Whether it be angling, jigging, trolling, or fly fishing, we believe fishing from a boat is most effective because it gives you more access to different species of fish and ups your chances of a bite. Fishing on a boat is also comfortable and fun! Fortunately, many of these styles of fishing included in our list can be done from a boat.

33 Fishing StylesAngling on a 43 Riviera Open Flybridge

Angling – refers to using a hook attached to a line to catch fish. Angling is almost always done with some type of bait and sinker on the hook. It can be done on the shore, off a dock, or on a boat.

Bank Fishing – a style of angling off a river bank or a similar shoreline, usually with a fishing rod, or less commonly, nets, traps, and spears.

Bottom Fishing – this angling technique refers to fishing on the bottom of the seabed, usually for groundfish like suckerfish, bream, catfish, and crappie. A weight is added to the end of your line or rod.

Casting – this refers to using a flexible fishing rod to throw (cast) your fishing line out, over, and into the water. Casting is a sport all on its own, regardless of any fish that are caught, with tournaments marking competitors on their accuracy and distance.

Chartered Fishing – refers to fishing with or without a tour guide aboard a boat that you have hired for the duration of the trip. Charted fishing excursions can involve any number of techniques listed here.

Commercial Fishing – fishing for profit. The commercial fishing industry is heavily regulated by Fisheries and Oceans Canada, a federal governing body.

Droplining – refers to dropping a long fishing line straight down, without casting far off into the water. A dropline often has several hooks attached to it, although not as many as a longline. It’s a form of angling, meaning there is hook and bait involved, as well as a weight at the bottom and a float at the top.Fishing Water Summer Bucket Boy Overalls Outdoors

Fly Fishing – refers to a style of fishing in which artificial flies are used to lure fish to your line. It’s an older method of angling, particularly effective for trout, salmon, bass, carp, and more. Fly fishing is commonly done off the shores of river banks or standing right in the river.

Freshwater Fishing – fishing in lakes and rivers using any technique. Freshwater fishing is heavily regulated in BC. Learn more about freshwater fishing licences and regulations in British Columbia

Hand-Gathering – Hand-gathering is the act of fishing with the simplest set of tools – your hands. There are many styles of hand-gathering fishing, such as simply picking up shellfish or clam digging at the beach. Pearl divers are also hand-gatherers, and divers can also fish for lobsters using just their hands.

Handlining – a type of fishing using a single fishing line that is held in your hands. It can be done from boats or from the shore, mainly for catching groundfish.

Ice Fishing – refers to fishing with lines and hooks through a small opening in a frozen body of water.

Jigging – a popular style of angling in which a jig is the chosen type of fishing lure. A jig consists of a hook molded into a lead sinker that is covered by a soft coloured rubber.

Kayak Fishing – this angling technique refers to fishing off the side of a kayak. Special considerations must be made on what equipment to carry, and how it will be fitted to the small-sized vessel.

Kite Fishing – a unique style of angling, kites can be used for trolling a lure through water and provide people without boats or people with mobility issues greater access to hard to reach bodies of water. This type of fishing is more common in places such as the Pacific Islands and Australia.

Longlining – this commercial fishing technique involves the use of a long heavy fishing line that has hundreds of baited hooks hanging from it via branches, a.k.a., “snoods”. Longlining is typically done on boats called longliners that use a special winch to haul in the line and operate in deeper waters. Longlining is a common method used to catch swordfish, tuna, halibut or sablefish.

Netting – a style of fishing using nets to capture many fish at once. It’s the main method of commercial fishing. There are many types of net to use, including:

  • Cast nets: round, weighted nets, also called throw nets.
  • Drift nets: nets that are not anchored.
  • Hand nets: small, hand-held nets that remain opened using a hoop.
  • Gill nets: a special net a fish cannot pass through without hooking its gills on the mesh.
  • Trawl nets: large nets that are towed through the water by a boat called a trawler.

Noodling – a style of hand-gathering fishing in which the “noodler” sticks their arm in a catfish hole, hoping for a bite. It’s dangerous, and therefore illegal in some states.

Pitch Fishing – a method of angling which involves intentionally casting your line and lure out at a lower angle so that is enters the water quietly, so as not to scare the fish away.

Recreational Fishing – fishing solely for fun. Recreational fishing is an overarching type of fishing that involves any number of techniques listed here, especially saltwater fishing and freshwater fishing.

Remote Control Fishing – picture a floating drone rather than a flying drone, with a fishing rod attached to it, and you get a good idea of what remote control fishing is all about.

Rock Fishing – a style of angling in which you are fishing off the edges of rocky jetties and cliffs. This is considered a highly dangerous type of fishing.

Saltwater Fishing – fishing in salt waters (oceans). Also called “tidal waters fishing”. To fish in salt waters in BC, you must get a tidal waters fishing licence.

Slabbing – used to catch bass, this line fishing technique involves constantly lifting and dropping a flat lead lure painted to look like a baitfish. To be most effective, the fishermen must first locate a school of fish using a fishfinder.

Spearfishing – refers to any form of fishing that involves impaling the fish using a spear on a long pole. Spearfishing is usually done in shallower waters when the fish are visible. It requires you to be quick and precise with your movements. You can spearfish off a boat or by wading into the water.

Spears can be simple or complex, ranging from bow and arrow style, harpoons, Hawaiian slings, trident-type spears, and modern spearguns:

  • Bowfishing: involves using a bow and arrow to kill fish in shallow water from above.
  • Harpooning: involves using a long spear-like tool often with barbs at the end.
  • Pole spears: involves using a sling attached to the spear.
  • Hawaiian slings: involves using a sling separate from the spear (slingshot or an underwater bow and arrow).
  • Tridents: tridents are spears with three prongs rather than a single prong.
  • Gigging: involves using small, trident-type spears to kill bullfrogs.
  • Pike Poles: an older form of spearfishing, particularly used during ice fishing. Instead of a spearhead, two smaller, curved spikes were used.
  • Spearguns: used for fishing and target practice, spearguns are deployed by divers underwater. There are threaded, lined, and break-away varieties.

Sportfishing – refers to fishing competitively to see who can catch the heaviest fish, or who can catch the most fish. Sport fishing often involves large cash prizes and bragging rights for the winner.

Surfcasting – refers to fishing from the shores of a saltwater beach. Surfcasting is a style of angling that requires a long surfcasting rod and the ability to cast a large distance.

Tenkara Fishing – a Japanese style of fly fishing (angling) that was first done with a bamboo pole and no reel. Modern tenkara fishing rods use a tapered or level line and are mostly telescopic and made of graphite.

Trapping – refers to the sinking of baited traps to the bottom of the seabed in the hopes fish swim into the trap. The traps resemble large cages and are commonly used for crab and lobster fishing.

Trawling – the process of dropping a large net off the side of a slow-moving boat called a trawler.Water Seagulls Fishing Boat Birds Sky Ocean Sea

Trolling – a line fishing technique that involves slowly pulling one or more baited lines through the water. It can be done effortlessly off the side of a moving boat, or from land as you cast your line as far as you can and slowly reel the line back in.

Trotlining – trotlining is a line fishing technique that is a lot like droplining, but the trotline’s hooks are suspended horizontally in the water, rather than vertically. This fishing technique is good for fishing across rivers.

While we here are Van Isle Marina on Vancouver Island love a lazy afternoon of fishing from shore every now and then, we believe there’s no better feeling than reeling in a big one onto your motor yacht.

If you’re on the market for a new fishing boat, check out our selection of fishing boats for sale. We invite you to learn more about our yacht sales process or come and see our marina in Sidney, BC.

For tips on when to use lures or live bait, check out our Lures vs Live Bait debate.

No matter what style of fishing you love the most, when you eventually catch one or two, you’re going to have to know how to clean it to preserve its flavour. Review our Guide to Cleaning a Fish

See a style of fishing not mentioned here? Contact us and let us know!

2019 BC Boat Show

 Sidney, British Columbia Hosts the 2019 BC Boat Show

Van Isle Marina is looking forward to welcoming you onboard our boats during the 29th annual BC Boat Show, happening May 2-5, 2019 at Port Sidney Marina in Sidney, BC. Hosted by the British Columbia Yacht Brokers Association (BCYBA), the BC Boat Show draws huge crowds of enthusiastic boaters from British Columbia, Alberta, and Washington state.

More than 200 boats will be on the water and for sale during the BC Boat Show, returning to our quaint, seaside town of Sidney. Van Isle Marina is excited to be showcasing the 43’ Riviera Open Flybridge 2019 and 32’ Back Cove 2018 at this year’s event.

Here is a closer look at what we will be bringing down to the show:

43 Riviera Open Flybridge 2019

The Riviera 43 Open Flybridge is classically designed and extremely easy to operate. It’s perfect for fishing or blue-water cruising and features three levels of living space and large cockpits. The 43 has two designer staterooms, two bathrooms, a full galley with a breakfast bar, saloon, optional laundry, side decks, optional BBQ area, and plenty more handcrafted, well-designed features. The flybridge stair ladder ascends to a bright, airy, open flybridge with a hardtop, regular lounge, L-shaped all-weather forward lounge, wet bar, and spacious flybridge helm.

As for propulsion, the 43 Riviera Open Flybridge is equipped with a Volvo Penta Inboard Performance System (IPS). Cruising at 28 knots with a top speed of around 31 knots, the 43 Open Flybridge has a range of 340 nautical miles from its 476-gallon tank. The integrated joystick control makes handling in close-quarters simple and delightful!

Step inside the 43 Open Flybridge at the BC Boat Show to experience everything this modern luxury motor yacht has to offer, including two 12″ Garmin Glass Bridge GPS screens, integrated GRID controller autopilot helm, Garmin GSD 26 CHIRP sounder and transducer, and 4 KW Open Array Radar.

32 Back Cove 2018 

The 32 Back Cove 2018 is an award-winning, head-turning Downeast-style luxury motor yacht with classic good looks and exceptional fuel efficiency – from a single-diesel Volvo D6 370 mhp electronically controlled engine. Owners appreciate this model’s modern straight-forward systems and expert construction. This vessel’s single-level deck from transom to companionway brings the social spaces of the cockpit and pilothouse into one, with a private master stateroom below.

The 32 Back Cove is modeled after distinctive early Maine lobster boats. It was designed with customer-preferred design features in mind, building on the same concepts that the brand has become known for: motor yacht cruising in affordable and easily maintained yachts. You’ll be impressed with the Back Cove 32’s practical elegance and lines of this Downeast-style motor yacht.

For the 32 Back Cove, skilled boat builders crafted a warm and inviting interior using American cherry, finely finished with satin varnish. This award-winning, head-turning model comes equipped with the factory optional hardback enclosure for comfortable year-round cruising, and many more add-ons are available.

Van Isle Marina is the exclusive dealer of Riviera and Back Cove Motor Yachts in Western Canada, and we love showing off these models every chance we get, including at the upcoming BC Boat Show!

To learn more about these boats and others, we hope you will join our brokers and thousands of other boating enthusiasts in Sidney for the BC Boat Show. Come for the boats, stay for the amazing amenities and views Sidney has to offer.

Things to do at the BC Boat Show

  • Tour a wide selection of power and sailboats on the water.
  • Learn from on-site yacht brokers who are ready to answer your boating questions.
  • Walk through the tented pavilion on land for a wide selection of outboards, dinghies, navigation equipment, fishing gear and more.
  • Take a break with a visit to the snack bar and the floating beer garden.
  • Meet and network with other enthusiastic members of the recreational boating industry.

“Sidney is a unique and exciting seaside town on Vancouver Island and is at the centre of the most beautiful recreational cruising waters in the world. We have plans to make this more than a boat show – more like a festival for all to enjoy,” says Steven Threadkell, BC Boat Show manager of this year’s event.

BC Boat Show 2019 Show Hours

  • Thursday, May 2 – 11:00 am – 7:00 pm
  • Friday, May 3 – 11:00 am – 7:00 pm
  • Saturday, May 4 – 10:00 am – 7:00 pm
  • Sunday, May 5 – 10:00 am – 5:00 pm

We look forward to seeing you at the show! If you’ll be coming for the show from out of town, we hope you will also make the trip up the coast to Van Isle Marina so you can see all of the yachts we have for sale right now – we are located just 3 km north of the host marina for this year’s show.

Learn more about the BC Boat Show

Learn more about Van Isle Marina