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

Pursuit OS355 Offshore at Van Isle Marina

Introducing the 2020 Pursuit OS 355

The 2020 Pursuit Offshore 355 Has Arrived at the Van Isle Marina Sales Dock

As Western Canada’s exclusive dealer for Pursuit Boats, the sales team here at Van Isle Marina is pleased to welcome the latest Pursuit power boat model to our sales dock – the 2020 Pursuit Offshore OS 355.  We will be showcasing this stunning vessel at the upcoming Vancouver International Boat Show from February 5-9, 2020 in Vancouver. To tide you over until then, we hope you enjoy a sneak peek inside this exciting addition to our sales dock.

Key Features of the 2020 Pursuit Offshore 355Pursuit Boats - Offshore 355 (OS 355) - Back side

The Pursuit OS 355 is the mid-size model in Pursuit’s Offshore Collection, with the additional models being the OS 325 and the OS 385. This model’s styling is timeless and classic while introducing a few modern features that are designed as much for offshore cruising as they are for fishing and other water sports.

We know you’ll enjoy all the cleverly disguised storage features and convertible seating and amenities on board, including the electrically actuated convertible berth/dinette in the cabin. And for safety’s sake, the fire suppression system on board adds peace of mind. Let’s check out everything the OS 355 has to offer:

Hull
Pursuit power boats are known for their hand-laminated hulls, infused fibreglass and foam-filled structural grids, and moulded hull side frameless tempered glass windows. The OS 355 also comes with Pursuit Fresh White gelcoat and a 5-ply resin-infused composite transom system with a patented transom reinforcement grid.

Designed right into the hull are transom platform extensions and a boarding ladder.  There is a dedicated transducer location, bow thruster, and 1,100-gph bilge pump with an automatic float switch.

Power

Pursuit Boats - Offshore 355 (OS 355) - motors

The newly arrived OS 355 is equipped with twin Yamaha XTO Offshore 425 hp 5.6 L V8 four stroke outboard engines and direct fuel injection. You’ll also get custom built fuel lines with mechanically crimped fittings and a Yamaha water-separating fuel filter with primer bulbs for each engine.

Cockpit

The wide-open, self-draining cockpit of the Pursuit OS 355 offers up a lot of space for fishing, as well as fold-away transom seating for entertaining. Here you’ll also find moulded port bridge lounge seating with aft and forward facing options and foldable armrests. (All the cockpit seating is upholstered with Dri-Fast foam and mesh backing.)

Within the cockpit there is also a JL Audio entertainment system and a mini galley with a sink, cutting board, electric grill, storage, and refrigerator/freezer with fibreglass lid. On the floor you’ll find the cockpit machinery access hatch and nearby there is a freshwater wash with hot/cold mixing valve and pull-out sprayer at the transom door.

Helm

With our new OS 355 you get a truly appointed enclosed helm station where you will find the centre-mounted stainless steel steering wheel, main switches, bow thruster joystick, 12V panel with illuminated Carling rocker switches, compass, waterproof stereo remote, and Yamaha Command Link Plus Display. Factory options selected on this build are the factory-installed Garmin Package (Dual GPSMAP 8612 [1XSV], Airmar B175M 20 Degree 1KW Chirp Transducer, NMEA 2000 Starter kit, Pursuit Custom Dash Panel, Yamaha Gateway w/cable, VHF 315, and VHF Antenna), and Garmin Radar Open Array GM 424xHD2, You’ll have comfortable access to everything from your swivelling captain’s chair with its drink holders and fold-away armrests and footrest.

Hardtop

Pursuit Boats - Offshore 355 (OS 355) - front

Another great feature of the OS 355 is its fully integrated moulded fibreglass hardtop that covers the helm station and comes with an integrated visor; dedicated radar, antenna and outrigger locations; and an optional, electronically actuated, one-touch sunshade that offers everyone on board additional comfort and protection from the sun.

Windshield

One of the stand-out features of the OS 355 is its custom windshield system with optically clear laminated glass, tempered side glass with infused fibreglass frame, and an electrically actuated centre vent window. The windshield system comes complete with pantographic windshield wipers, a freshwater washer system, and a three-piece drop curtain.

Within the windshield area there is also integrated life jacket storage, integrated overhead glove boxes, screened ventilation hatches, a horn, and a trumpet.

Cabin

Pursuit Boats - Offshore 355 (OS 355) - Galley

The beauty and comfort of the OS 355 continues down below in the cabin. A moulded acrylic access door with a secondary framed screen door leads to your cabin entry steps with your custom handrail and wood treads. Down in the cabin you will find custom solid wood tongue and groove floor accents, drainage and sound-damping insulation, and interior air-conditioning with a reverse cycle heat and sound shield.

The stand-out feature in the cabin is the electrically actuated V-berth seating section with its fixed cushions that converts to a queen berth. This area also triples as the dining area, with the solid wood table with power adjustable pedestal. Here you can take time to eat, socialize, sleep, or just relax and enjoy your 28-inch LED TV with JL Audio stereo speakers.

All around you in the cabin there will be storage, including the forward gunwale storage shelves, forward outboard storage compartments, in-floor storage, mid-berth hanging locker, mid-berth horizontal storage, and cedar-lined hanging locker. The cabin area is rounded out nicely with the forward hardwood framed accent mirror and the forward curtained hull side windows to port and starboard.

Head

The starboard designer bathroom is enclosed in fibreglass and features a Corian countertop, glass bowl designer sink, wood-framed entrance door, full length mirror, full height linen closet, towel rack, vanity storage, toilet, and shower. The door to the linen closet pulls double duty – just slide it over and it acts as the privacy door to the shower.

Galley

The port galley is gorgeous and fully equipped with modern appliances and touches. You’ll have access to everything you need to prepare gourmet meals anywhere you go in your OS 355, including a Corian countertop and backsplash, stainless steel sink with cutting board cover, upper and lower cabinets, stainless steel fridge and microwave, and dual burner glass cooktop.

Fishing Features

Rounding out our roundup of key features on board the Pursuit OS 355 is all of its fishing features, including multiple stainless steel rod holders, a 28-gallon recirculating livewell, under gunwale rod storage, additional horizonal rod storage in the cabin, insulated fish boxes, and a cockpit tackle centre. All these features and more make this model perfect for fishing trips.

The OS 355 is now available in the Pacific Northwest through the team here at Van Isle Marina. Contact one of our friendly, knowledgeable yacht brokers for more information.

The Pursuit Promise

Pursuit Boats - Offshore 355 (OS 355) - Front side

Pursuit Boats are designed, developed, and manufactured in the United States. Each model comes with yacht-quality amenities and transferable warranties. In addition to Pursuit’s Offshore models, the company also has an impressive line of award-winning dual console models, including the DC 295, which will also be showcased at the Vancouver Boat Show, alongside the OS 355 and OS 325.

See more Pursuit Boats available through Van Isle Marina.

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

Miami International Boat Show 2020

Miami International Boat Show 2020

Riviera to Debut the 505 SUV at the Miami Yacht Show in February

2020 Miami International Boat ShowPremier yacht builder, Riviera Australia, has an impressive lineup of yachts heading to the Miami International Boat Show next month. The company’s highly anticipated yacht lineup is always a gorgeous display, especially this year with the long-awaited world premiere of the all-new 505 SUV playing a starring role.

“Whether it’s fishing, diving, paddle-boarding, or simply relaxing with family and friends in the total luxury of the mezzanine, the new 505 SUV offers the best of all worlds and will be widely welcomed when she is unveiled at the Miami Yacht Show from February 13-17, 2020,” said Riviera Australia owner, Rodney Longhurst.

Joining the 505 SUV out on the water in Miami will be an additional six models from Riviera. Here is a closer look at the boats Riviera will be displaying at the show. All of these boats will become available in the Pacific Northwest this spring via Van Isle Marina.

Riviera 505 SUV – World PremiereRiviera yachts 505 SUV

Van Isle Marina first introduced you to the Riviera 505 SUV in October 2019, back when Riviera first announced it was nearing completion. The 505 SUV is a multi-functional cruising yacht with three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a large cockpit, and a fully covered mezzanine for comfort and privacy.

You’ll also love this model’s exceptionally redesigned hull and bowspirit. Excellent power-to-weight ratios, impressive fuel efficiency, and exhilarating bluewater performance and handling capabilities make this one a truly impressive model. Standard power comes from twin six-cylinder Volvo Penta D8 IPS 800 turbo diesels developing 600hp (441kw) apiece, mated to joystick controls (helm and cockpit) and twin 16-inch Volvo Penta Glass Bridge screens.

Additional Riviera Yachts Headed to Miami

Riviera 6000 Sport Yacht Platinum Edition

Riviera 6000SY (Sport Yacht) Series II Platinum Edition: For the driver who appreciates performance, this flagship of the Sport Yacht Collection combines a sleek, distinctive design with an exhilarating sporty performance and sports-inspired helm. With a hull length of 57 feet, the 6000SY features three beautiful staterooms and three designer bathrooms in the Presidential layout, or four staterooms and three bathrooms in the Classic design.

Riviera 4800SY (Sport Yacht) Series II Platinum Edition: The Riviera Sports Yacht 4800 has a hull length of 45 feet and features two beautiful staterooms and two designer bathrooms, putting her right in the sweet spot for cruising couples and young families. The large, flowing indoor and outdoor spaces of the 4800 result in a highly impressive sports yacht. Everything about the Series II is new, including a new cockpit wet bar, new galley benches, new saloon and cockpit lounges, new headlining, new fabrics, and much more.

Belize 66 Daybridge: The Belize 66 Daybridge offers a choice of three or four stateroom designs with three luxury bathrooms and the option of an additional crew quarters or utility room. The interior layout options and remarkable internal volume, superior level of appointment and craftsmanship, along with her exceptional planning and offshore performance, really set Belize apart.

Riviera 575 SUV: With a hull length of 56 feet, the Riviera 575 is the largest in the Riviera SUV line, featuring a grand-scale saloon, a substantially sized cockpit, and seating for up to four people at the helm with additional starboard side helm seats. Like the 525 SUV, the smartly designed one-level living layout of the 575 includes three luxurious staterooms and two designer bathrooms.

Riviera yachts 395 SUV

Riviera 395 SUV : The Riviera 395 SUV is 39 feet in length and has two staterooms, one bathroom, and plenty of convertible, custom features. This model feels so spacious with its smartly designed, one-level living layout. It’s the perfect option for new boaters, or those who are downsizing.

Riviera Open Flybridge 39: Joining the 43 and 45 Open Flybridges, this new style of flybridge combines class-leading sports looks and performance, with a sporty open flybridge and sports-influenced open cockpit. She’s compact and incredibly nimble, finely powered and superbly crafted. Enjoy two superbly appointed staterooms and a designer bathroom – all finely done up in true Riviera style.

Riviera Celebrates 40 Years of Boat-Building Excellence

In addition to the world-wide debut of the 505 SUV, Riviera Australia is also celebrating 40 years of boat-building excellence this year. “I am very much looking forward to 2020,” said Rodney. “We have three world premieres scheduled for the year as part of our 40th year celebrations, which all start in February in Miami Florida.”

Boat owners all over the world enthusiastically welcome every new model Riviera puts out, which Rodney says further inspires his team to continue to innovate and create quality yachts of distinction. Such constant innovations from Riviera are just one of the countless reasons why we here at Van Isle Marina are proud to be exclusive dealers of their luxury motor yachts.

Riviera’s Passion and Promise

This generation of motor yachts is being hailed as the finest the boatbuilder has created. “I am proud to say that our current model range of 20 individual yachts is the most refined that Riviera has ever created,” said Rodney. “This truly is a testament to our team’s in-depth research and development processes and the relentless pursuit of quality and excellence. Our passion is to deliver the boaters boat. The most seaworthy, comfortable, and opulent boating experience, both at anchor and at sea.

“Boat owners the world over have enthusiastically welcomed our new models which further inspires us to continue to innovate and create quality yachts of distinction,” added Rodney. “We look forward to showcasing our latest yachts at the Miami Yacht Show, which will allow boaters to experience for themselves our superior new models that are among the very finest in the world.”

About the Miami Boat Show

The Miami International Boat Show, happening February 13-17, 2020 at the Miami Marine Stadium, will feature more than 1,400 boats, making it the one of the world’s biggest destinations for boating enthusiasts looking to discover what’s new in boating and experience the newest makes and models. The show is produced by the National Marine Manufacturers Association, the world’s leading association representing the recreational boating industry.

Discover Riviera in Western Canada

Can’t make it down to Miami? Van Isle Marina, located in Sidney, BC near Swartz Bay on Vancouver Island, is Western Canada’s exclusive authorized dealer of Riviera motor yachts. Riviera Yachts, including those making their first appearances at the Miami Boat Show, are one of our many areas of expertise, and we would be happy to share more information with you about experiencing a Riviera for yourself. Learn more about our yacht sales process.

You can also check out the Vancouver Boat Show, happening February 5-9, 2020, which will also have Riviera Motor Yachts in the water.

2020 Vancouver Boatshow

2020 Vancouver International Boat Show

Van Isle Marina will be Showcasing Riviera and Pursuit Models at this Year’s Show

The highly anticipated 56th annual Vancouver International Boat Show, happening February 5-9, 2020 at BC Place and Granville Island in Vancouver, is fast approaching – and we here at Van Isle Marina are excited to be returning for another year to display our 2019 Riviera and Pursuit boats this year.

Brought to recreational boaters in part by show owners, the Boating BC Association, and producer, Canadian Boat Shows, the Vancouver International Boat Show is a world-class show that draws large crowds of boating enthusiasts from all over the Pacific Northwest.

The show is the province’s largest showcase for the recreational boating industry and brand new products coming up in 2020! It is suited for experienced and beginner boaters alike – with entire sections and exhibits dedicated to new boaters, and even to those who have never stepped foot on a boat before!

Throughout this 5-day show, hundreds of boats will be on display at two locations: inside at BC Place, and outside on the water at Granville Island. You’ll find Van Isle Marina staff at Granville Island (G-Dock) where our brokers will be happy to tour you around our boats on display.

We will be proudly showcasing these amazing boats at this year’s Vancouver International Boat Show:

Learn more about each of the boats we are bringing to the show:

2020 Pursuit OS 355Pursuit Yachts - Offshore 355

The 2020 Pursuit OS 355 arrived at our sales dock in December 2019, making it eligible for our New Dealer Discount. This 35-foot model has been expertly designed and has so many unique and special layout and design touches, including a single-piece optically clear windshield, large and stylish hull-side windows, electrically actuated convertible berth/teak dinette, hidden storage space seemingly everywhere, and a wide variety of seating arrangements including a starboard-side folding gunwale seat.

As for power, the OS 355 comes with twin Yamaha XTO Offshore 425 hp 5.6 L V8 four stroke motors with direct fuel injection. Owners will also appreciate this model’s complete and robust Garmin navigation package, joystick control, and heaps of features for fishing, including rod holders, tackle storage, and a cleverly disguised livewell.

2020 Pursuit OS 32532' Pursuit OS325 Offshore 2020

The 2020 Pursuit OS 325, now available at our sales dock and eligible for our New Dealer Discount and Dealer Financing, is a perfectly sized package of innovation and excellence. Like all Pursuit Offshores, the 325 delivers finely engineered features combined with an elegant, yacht-caliber exterior.

At the Boat Show in Vancouver, enjoy this 32-foot model’s interior hardwoods, solid stock trim, modern fabrics, teak bridgedeck table, cockpit chill plate, cockpit grill, canvas upgrade, underwater lighting, 3-piece drop enclosure, fishing features, and port-side folding under gunwale seat. This model also comes with a high-end navigational equipment package from Garmin and twin F300 600 hp (447 kw) engines.

2020 Pursuit DC 29529' Dual Console Pursuit

The 2020 Pursuit DC 295 arriving in January 2020, making it one of our newest models on offer. It is also eligible for our New Dealer Discount. But more than just a discount, this model comes with tons of other notable features and perks. First off, the Pursuit DC 295 has won awards in the dual console category, catching the eyes of judges for its unparalleled style, superior design, performance, and amenities.

Features of note aboard the 29-foot 2020 Pursuit DC 295 include her integrated hardtop, crystal clear tempered windshield, convertible seating (including bow seating and port-side gunwale seat), Garmin navigation system, fishing features, and seemingly endless storage space. The DC 295 runs on twin F300 600 hp (447 kw) engines. The wide-open layout allows plenty of space for water sports, fishing, diving, and entertaining.

The model we are bringing to the show also comes several factory options, including an insulated cockpit refrigerator and grill, fiberglass cockpit table, bow table with bow filler, underwater lights, upgraded side curtains, drop curtain, and a bow tonneau cover.

43 Riviera Open Flybridge 201943' Riviera Flybridge 2019

The 43 Open Flybridge from Riviera – Australia’s most awarded luxury boat builder – is perfect for cruising, fishing, and entertaining. It features plenty of space for guests with three levels of living space, large cockpit, mezzanine lounge, two designer staterooms, two bathrooms, a full galley and breakfast bar, saloon, wide side decks, and optional BBQ and laundry areas. Upstairs on the open flybridge you’ll find a hardtop, regular and L-shaped lounges, wet bar, and spacious helm.

The 43 Open Flybridge, like other Rivieras in its class, comes with a highly regarded Volvo Penta IPS, and standard power via twin Volvo Penta D6-IPS600s delivering 435 hp (320kw) each. This allows for a top speed of around 31 knots and a range of 340 nautical miles from its 476-gallon tank. Owners will also appreciate this model’s easy joystick control and complete navigational system from Garmin.

Van Isle Marina is the exclusive dealer of Riviera and Pursuit Power Boats in Western Canada and we are excited to show off everything that drew us to these beautiful boats at the upcoming Vancouver Boat Show! Don’t miss your chance to do a walkthrough of these impressive boats and experience these stunning vessels in person – everyone who tours a Riviera yacht or Pursuit boat ends up falling in love, and we can’t wait to show you why.

More Things To Do at the Vancouver Boat Show

If you’ve been to the Vancouver Boat Show before, you know it’s more than just a chance to see some beautiful boats. For us, it’s not just the hundreds of boats we look forward to seeing at the Vancouver Boat Show – it’s all the seminars, demonstrations, new product displays, prizes packages, and networking with other boating enthusiasts that we enjoy, and know you will too!

In addition to the boats – both on display at BC Place and on the water at Granville Island, don’t miss the more than 125 presentations to choose from throughout the week, including seminars, workshops, and cooking demonstrations. The Boat show is a family friendly event, with additional exhibits like Twiggy the Squirrel, Women’s Day, and the UBC Sailbot (autonomous sailboat) Engineering Team. There will also be free boat rides taking place, emergency spill response educational opportunities, and tours of the RCM-SAR’s New Falkins Class Type II Vessel.

2020 Vancouver International Boat Show Hours

From February 5-9, 2020 the Vancouver Boat Show runs:

  • Wednesday to Saturday from 10:00am to 8:00pm
  • Sunday from 10:00am to 5:00pm

Note that the Granville Island Floating Show closes at 5:30 each day.

Tickets

Tickets to the 2020 Vancouver Boat Show are available online or at the door. Day passes are $15. Two-day passes for $20 or five-day passes for $25 are also available. Special rates apply for children and seniors. Rates include free rides via shuttle buses and water ferries from BC Place to Granville Island and back again throughout the show.

We look forward to meeting you at Granville Island, G-Dock for the Vancouver Boat Show!

Learn more about the Vancouver International Boat Show.

Learn more about Van Isle Marina – we are one of the largest full-service marinas in British Columbia.

Whale Watching on Vancouver Island

An Introduction to One of Vancouver Island’s Most Popular Activities

Vancouver Island is home to spectacular whale watching opportunities, with numerous companies offering tours up and down the Island. But if you have your own boat, you can easily

types of whales around vancouver island

become your own personal whale watching tour guide. The best part is that whale watching can be done almost anywhere around the Island – and you might even spot some without even trying that hard.

Although it’s possible to see whales at any time of year around Vancouver Island, the best time for dedicated whale watching around Vancouver Island is May to October. This is also when you’ll come across countless whale watching operators while out on your boat. If you see a whale watching tour group all with their binoculars out, you’ll know you’re also about to approach some majestic creatures!

Types of Whales Around Vancouver Island

The most common types of whales to watch out for around Vancouver Island include resident and transient Orcas, humpback whales, and Pacific gray whales.

Orcas

Orcas, also known as “killer whales”, are black and white toothed mammals that are actually members of the dolphin family. They are the smallest “whales” on this list; a male orca is 5 to 7 metres long and weighs around 6 tonnes, while a female orca is 3 to 5 metres long and weighs about 3 to 4 tonnes. Their dorsal fins can get to be around 2 metres high, so they’ll be quite easy to spot. They also aren’t afraid of slow-moving, quiet boats and are actually known to swim right up to lucky boaters and kayakers. whales around vancouver island - orcas

There are two main categories of orcas living around the Island: resident orcas and transient orcas. Resident orcas (both northern residents and southern residents), tend to stay in one area, while transient orcas move around frequently.

Where to find them: Resident orcas are commonly found around the Gulf Islands, the Southern Coast near Victoria, the Strait of Georgia near Vancouver, and the Johnstone Strait (Campbell River, Telegraph Cove). There are approximately 80 “northern resident” orca whales who live and travel around Northern Vancouver Island, while there are approximately 220 “southern resident” orcas living around Southern Vancouver Island.

There are also around 260 transient orcas that are most common around the northern part of Vancouver Island, including near Campbell River, Telegraph Cove and Port Hardy. Some have also been known to be near southern Vancouver Island as well (Victoria, Oak Bay, Sidney, and Sooke).

You’re more likely to spot resident and transient orcas on the east coast of the island, as well as the southern and northern tips of the island, rather than the west coast.

The best time to view orcas in the Pacific Northwest is from May to October.

 

Humpback Whales

whales around vancouver island - humpback whaleHumpback whales are the largest whales living around Vancouver Island, with lengths varying from 12-16 metres and weighing nearly 80,000 pounds! In addition to their sheer size, which exceeds the length and weight of a fully loaded school bus, humpback whales are also known for their unique sounds and songs, and beautiful breaches.

A humpback whale’s long pectoral fins and knobbly head give it a distinctive body shape that’s greyish on top with a whiteish underbelly.

Where to find them: Humpback whales near Vancouver Island are most common about 30 miles off the shores of Ucluelet, Bamfield and Tofino (Barkley and Clayquot sound). They can also be spotted around Telegraph Cove and Port McNeil.

The best time to view humpback whales in the Pacific Northwest is from May to September.

 

Pacific Gray Whales

Pacific gray whales are medium to dark gray or black in colour and can grow to be up to 13-15 metres. The females are slightly larger than the males (the opposite is true for orcas). Adult gray whales have a mottled appearance caused by scratches, and barnacles and orange sea lice that make a home of their skin. Gray whales do not have dorsal fins, so instead be on the lookout for their vertebral bumps or “knuckles” along their lower backs.vancouver island whale watching - gray whales

Where to find them: Pacific gray whales are mainly found up and down the west coast of Vancouver Island, as this is their annual migratory zone. They can also be found around the southern tip of the Island (Victoria and Sidney). Pacific gray whales aren’t typically found on the east coast of Vancouver Island, as this is not their migratory path.

The ultimate time to spot a Pacific gray whale is between March and April. During this time, around 20,000 gray whales are migrating from Mexico (where they have babies) to Alaska (where they feed on cold-water crustaceans and more).

A Few Whale Watching Best Practices

As of 2019, along the south coast of BC, the DFO is asking boaters to stay at least 200 metres away from southern resident whale populations between November 1 and May 31, and at least 400 metres away from southern killer whales between June 1 and October 31 – about the length of 4 football fields.

You are also expected to reduce your speed to less than 7 knots and avoid fishing when you’re within 1,000 metres of a killer whale. Areas to be aware of include Gulf Islands, the Strait of Juan de Fuca and the Mouth of the Fraser River.

In general, when you see whales and wish to get closer:

  • Approach them from the side, rather than the front or the rear.
  • Approach slowly, avoiding sudden changes in speed or direction.
  • Shift your motor into neutral or idle upon your approach.
  • Stay as quiet as you can. This means no echo sounders, horns, whistles, revving motors, shouting, or loud music.
  • Do not disturb resting pods.
  • Travel at low speeds and in the same direction when travelling parallel to whales.
  • Don’t trap whales too close to the shore.
  • Don’t come between whales and the shore.
  • Don’t feed or touch the whales.
  • Be mindful of other boats in the area. Keep your distance until the boat ahead of you has moved on.

See the DFO’s webpage on watching marine wildlife for more information and helpful infographics.

Pacific Rim Whale Festival

If you’ll be in the area and wish to learn more about whales on Vancouver Island, check out the 33rd annual Pacific Rim Whale Festival happening March 20-28, 2020 at the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve, Ucluelet and Tofino on Vancouver Island’s west coast. The festival is an annual spring celebration that marks the typical return of the migratory gray whales as they make their way to the Artic Ocean.

Additional Wildlife Viewing Opportunities

While whale watching, you’re likely to spot plenty of additional wildlife in the area, including bald eagles, dolphins, porpoises, seals, otters, sealions, and countless seabirds. Read more about the other wildlife viewing and birdwatching opportunities on the Island.

Buying a Whale Watching Tour Instead

If you’d rather try whale watching with an experienced tour guide before going for it on your own, there are many whale watching companies to choose from. Typically, tours are 3 to 5 hours long, with many promising a 95% chance or more of spotting whales. Some companies offer different types and sizes of boats. Aim to arrive 30 minutes early so as not to miss your scheduled departure time, and dress in warm layers to beat the chill of the ocean air.

Many boats have washrooms on board and are wheelchair accessible. Don’t forget your binoculars and camera – preferably one with a great zoom!

At Van Isle Marina in Sidney, BC, we offer a wide variety of boats and motor yachts that would be perfect for your next whale watching adventure. Check out our selection of new and used yachts and boats for sale, or come see us in person and let us show you around.

Old Boating Superstitions

Old Boating Superstitions

19 Things Boaters Used to Be Superstitious About

At Van Isle Marina, we have rounded up some of the most popular superstitions held by boaters. Some of these superstitions are meant to ward off bad luck, while others are meant to bring good luck to everyone on board. Many of the following superstitions date back to the earliest days of sailing – although, like most superstitions, some of their origins remain either unknown or unconfirmed.

Do you abide by any of these old superstitions while onboard your motor yacht or boat?

Bad Luck Omens

These items were said to bring bad luck, and therefore were banned from being on board.

  1. old boating superstitions - bringing bananas on boardBringing Bananas on Board

Back in the day, bananas brought boaters more than just bad luck. They also brought the breeding grounds for spiders and perished too quickly, leading to unpleasant rotting containers of fruit.

The notion of bananas being bad luck on boats is said to have started in the 1700s, during the height of the trading empire between Spain and the Caribbean, where several of the ships that disappeared were carrying banana cargos at the time of their disappearance.

  1. Changing a Boat’s Name

Changing a boat’s name is considered a huge no-no that can lead to bad luck. So, if you purchase a pre-owned vessel, it’s best to leave her name alone to avoid bad luck. The reason is based on Greek mythology, where Poseidon is said to keep a record of every vessel’s name.

If you must change the name of your boat and you are superstitious, be sure to carry through with the ceremony that involves removing all traces of the boat’s name from public record. (A little tough in the age of the Internet, however!) The paperwork with the old name ought to be burned in a wooden box, and the ashes thrown into the sea with the outgoing tide.

  1. Saying the Word “Goodbye” When Departing

Ancient mariners thought that saying the word “goodbye” actually doomed the voyage. Of all the superstitions on this list, this one is still quite popular. It’s a little bit like telling an actor to “break a leg” instead of wishing them “good luck.”

  1. Whistling Towards the Windold boating superstitions - whistling in the wind

Boaters have long believed that whistling towards the wind will “whistle up” stormy weather. We wonder if whistling on the accommodation deck poses the same risk?

  1. Redheads

It used to be believed that redheads in general were unlucky. They weren’t allowed on board, even as guests, and even a boater seeing a red-headed person right before setting sail was considered bad luck.

  1. Women

Having women onboard was also believed to be unlucky. Despite many boats being named after woman, and the presence of female sculptures being used to adorn the bows of vessels, for a time it was thought that women angered the seas, which led to dangerous voyages.

Women were also seen as distractions to ancient mariners, keeping them from their duties, which also led to dangerous voyages.

  1. Never Set Sail with Someone Who Has Debts to Payold boating superstitions - seeing a shark

If there were no other signs of bad luck to blame when things go awry on a vessel, mariners might default to blaming any seaman on board who hasn’t settled his debts before setting sail.

  1. Seeing a Shark or Manta Ray

Seeing a shark’s fin swimming near your boat was said to be a bad omen; it signified that death was near – and not necessarily by the jaws of the shark. Seeing a manta ray was just as nerve-wrecking.

  1. Setting Sail on a Thursday or a Friday

When it comes to sailing, it’s not just Friday the 13th that should be avoided – it’s all Fridays. The superstition of Friday being considered an unlucky day to start a voyage is said to have religious roots, with some people believing it’s likely because of Jesus Christ being crucified on a Friday.old boating superstitions - never set sail on a Fridays

Thursdays are also considered by some to be bad sailing days because Thursdays are “Thor’s day” – Thor being the Greek god of thunder and storms.

Good Luck Omens

These items and routines were said to bring good luck, and were therefore encouraged to be on board or practiced.

  1. Setting Sail on a Sunday

Old sailing superstitions state that Sundays are the luckiest day to set sail.

  1. Tattoos & Piercings

Gold hoops were considered not just good luck, but they also signified when a boater had sailed around the world or crossed the equator. Many boaters also believed nautical tattoos were good luck, with both piercings and tattoos warding off evil spirits.

  1. Stepping onto a Boat with Your Right Foot

Which foot you use to take the first step onto your boat before a journey is said to bring either good luck or bad luck. The right foot is the good luck foot, while stepping on with your left foot first is to be avoided.

  1. Having Cats on Boardold boating superstitions - having cats on board

Cats served the important function of rat control onboard cargo ships back in the day. Seeing one or inviting one onto your vessel was inviting good luck to come your way (and less rats!). On the flip side, a cat thrown overboard meant extreme bad luck or even death was on the horizon. Boaters strove to keep their cats content and happy for this reason.

  1. Seabirds & Dolphins

Seeing an almighty albatross was considered good luck, which meant that killing one was definitely bad luck. Likewise, swallows and gulls were also considered good luck birds. The souls of perished boaters were said to live in seabirds, so their presence was welcomed.

Seeing dolphins swimming in line with your boat was also a sign of good luck.

  1. Pouring Wine on the Deck

In the earliest days of sailing and yachting, pouring wine on the deck was said to bring good luck. Nowadays it just sounds like a mess and a waste of wine!

  1. Hanging Horseshoes

Hanging a horseshoe on a ship’s mast was done to turn away stormy weather.

  1. Tossing Coins Overboardred sky at night sailors delight

Throwing a few coins into the sea as a boat left a port was said to be the same as paying a small toll to Neptune, the Roman god of the sea, to ensure a safe voyage.

  1. Seeing Red Skies at Night

Seeing a red sky at night, as in the phrase, “red sky at night, sailor’s delight; red sky in morning, sailors take warning” is still considered a popular superstition, and perhaps the only one on this list based on science. A red sunset is said to indicate stable air and high pressure coming from the west. On the other hand, a red sky at dawn is a marker for rain and stormy seas.

Learn more about the history of yachting.

If you’re in the market for a new boat or yacht, there is plenty to choose from here at Van Isle Marina. We specialize in Riviera Yachts and Pursuit Boats and also showcase a wide variety of pre-owned yachts. Come visit us in Sidney, BC near Swartz Bay Ferry Terminal!

Quick & Delicious Salmon Recipes

10 Ways to Prepare Your Salmon Catch

At Van Isle Marina, we eat a ton of salmon – and we are constantly impressed with how many different ways there are to prepare it. From baked, grilled, smoked, and canned, salmon is a source of endless meal ideas.

There are 5 types of pacific salmon that draw anglers from around the world to our region, with Chinook, Coho, and Sockeye being prized the most for their flavour and texture. Here are our top recommended ways to enjoy pacific salmon – whether it’s from your own fishing expeditions, gifted to you by friend or family, or otherwise picked up from your local fish market or grocery store.

Easy Honey Garlic Baked Salmon

You’ve probably had tons of honey garlic chicken, but the essence of honey garlic sauce can also be applied to salmon and the results are amazing. This recipe is an easy, one-pan wonder that’s sure to impress everyone at the table. Best of all it can be whipped up and pan seared in 15 minutes!

You’ll Need:

Easy Honey Garlic Salmon

  • 4 salmon fillets
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 4 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • lemon juice & wedges
  • salt & pepper

Get the full recipe from Café Delites.

Maple Salmon

This recipe is similar to the honey garlic style salmon as mentioned above, but maple syrup is used in place of honey, and there is no added fat.

You’ll need

  • maple salmon recipe1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

Get the full recipe from Allrecipes.com

Baked Salmon with Garlic & Dijon

This healthy salmon dish is low in sugar but high in flavour. With just a few ingredients, a high temperature, and a short roasting time, this baked salmon turns out both juicy and flaky! In just 20 minutes you’ll end up with a dish that tastes like it is straight from a professional chef’s kitchen.

You’ll Need:

Baked Salmon with Garlic and Dijon

  • salmon fillet
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 3 garlic cloves pressed
  • 1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • lemon slices
  • salt & pepper

Get the full recipe from Natasha’s Kitchen.

Cedar Plank Salmon

This adapted recipe is inspired by the First Nations’ traditional method of preparing salmon threaded on cedar stakes while over an open fire.

You’ll Need:

cedar plank salmon recipe

  • salmon fillets
  • olive oil
  • lemon or orange juice and zest
  • chopped fresh basil
  • cedar planks slightly longer and wider than the salmon fillets
  • salt & pepper

Get Robert Clifton’s full recipe from the Pacific Salmon Foundation.

Cilantro Lime Salmon

Cilantro lime salmon is a refreshing way to enjoy fresh or previously frozen salmon. It’s easy to pull off in a single skillet.

You’ll Need

  • 2 tbsp. olive oilcilantro lime salmon recipe
  • salmon fillets
  • salt & pepper
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 c. low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1/4 c. lime juice
  • 2 tbsp. honey
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 1/4 c. chopped fresh cilantro

Get the full recipe from Delish.

Classic Baked Salmon

This five-ingredient baked salmon recipe is perhaps one of the most standard ways to prepare salmon . It’s perfect for when you’re not sure if you’re cooking for a cilantro-loving crowd or not. With the butter, lemon, and dill, there is no going wrong with this one!

classic baked salmon recipe

You’ll Need

  • salmon fillets
  • 1/2 cup salted butter melted
  • 4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 8 garlic cloves crushed
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh dill

Get the recipe from The Stay at Home Chef

Salmon Chowder

Salmon chowder is great for feeding a lot of people at once. It’s a comfort food that goes a long way and tastes great heated up the next day if it doesn’t get devoured the same day. Chowders are versatile soups where almost anything can be added to the standard creamy base. Bacon, corn and potatoes truly elevate this salmon chowder.

You’ll Need

  • 1/2 pound red potatoes
  • 1/2 pound sliced bacon
  • 2 cups chopped scallions
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen cornsalmon chowder recipe
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic (3 cloves)
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • dried hot red-pepper flakes
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • 5 pounds of salmon fillet
  • salt & pepper
  • fresh lemon juice

Get the full recipe from Epicurious.

Superfood Salad with Pan-Seared Salmon

Adding salmon to any basic salad is a fool-proof way to turn a salad into a meal. However, there are certain ingredients that will truly help bring out the flavours in a plain baked fillet that’s been prepared with just olive oil and salt and pepper. The flavour in this dish comes from its homemade vinaigrette.

You’ll Need

  • superfood salmon salad recipesalmon fillets
  • 1 ½ cups kale, chopped
  • ½ cup cooked quinoa
  • ½ of an avocado, chopped
  • ¼ cup pomegranate arils
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon honey (or to taste)
  • 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • salt & pepper

Get the full recipe from Alaska from Scratch.

Less Quick But Still Delicious

Salmon Cakes

With a few helping hands in the kitchen, this could be a quick recipe, but on its own it’s considered an intermediate technique to preparing salmon. The trick is in getting the right texture, which takes the right cook time and chopping everything to uniform size.

  • fresh salmon
  • olive oil
  • salt & pepper
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 small onion
  • 4 stalks small-diced celerysalmon cakes recipe
  • 1 small red pepper
  • 1 yellow pepper
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 tablespoon capers, drained
  • 1/4 teaspoon hot sauce (recommended: Tabasco)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons crab boil seasoning (recommended: Old Bay)
  • 3 slices stale bread, crusts removed
  • 1/2 cup good mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 extra-large eggs, lightly beaten

Get the full recipe from The Food Network.

Smoked Salmon

Smoked salmon is a delicious way to preserve your extra salmon if you have a little bit of time on your hands. Choose from regular or candied hot-smoked salmon, depending on your preference. If you’re serving a large crowd, the smoked salmon is always the first item to disappear off the buffet line!

smoked salmon recipe

You’ll Need

  • salmon fillets
  • a smoker (Traeger, Bradley, Little Chief, etc.)
  • wood
  • brining salt
  • syrup for basting
  • brown sugar from brining

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

Canned Salmon

Canned salmon is a great way to preserve freshly caught salmon for the months to come. For the most thorough run-down for canning salmon, check out this article on how to can salmon. To avoid contamination of the jars, it’s important to follow the method precisely as outlined.

Once you have canned your salmon, you can enjoy it straight from the jar or on sandwiches, or in salads, pitas, pastas, and quiches. Check out the Food Network’s 15 Delicious Ways to Use Canned Salmon.

If you’re using freshly caught salmon for any of the above recipes, be sure to review our quick guide to Cleaning Fish On a Boat.

Is your boat too small for all the fish you’ve been catching? If you’ve been thinking about upgrading your salmon fishing game, at Van Isle Marina we have a wide range of yacht services and yachts for sale moored at our docks. Check out our selection online or come and see us in person. Find us at 2320 Harbour Road in Sidney, BC near Swartz Bay Ferry Terminal.

 

Sailing Around the world in a yacht

Tips for Long Range Cruising

Sailing Around the World? Here’s How to Prepare

Before taking your motor yacht or sailboat out on the open ocean for weeks, months, or years at a time, there are a lot of important things to consider. Here is a list of things you need to do to prepare for life on the open sea.

Read More: Important Items to Bring on Your Boat

  1. Communications Plansailing around the world on a yacht
  • Inform your family and friends back home of your approximate travel itinerary. This is mainly so they don’t worry about your whereabouts.
  • As cellphone fees can be extraordinary out at sea, plan ahead by expanding your data plan. And keep in mind that relying on a cellphone alone will not be adequate for long range cruising.
  • Ensure you have a working VHF radio onboard and that everyone knows how to use it. A VHF is essential for weather updates, making or responding to mayday calls, and communicating with your fellow cruisers. Make sure your EPIRB (emergency position-indicating radio beacon) is also in working order.
  1. Paperwork
  • Ensure you have acquired all the necessary paperwork required to operate your boat. This includes your Registration papers (registration required if leaving Canada) , boat insurance, VHF operator’s certificate, and personal photo identification (passports) for everyone onboard.
  • Research any applicable visa requirements for the destination countries you’ll be visiting for long periods of time.
  • Plan to obtain all of the paperwork you need well before your intended cast off date to avoid disappointment if paperwork isn’t filed in time.
  • Make sure your financials are in order. Pick up foreign currency if you can ahead of time, and let your credit card companies know you’ll be travelling.
  • Consider any additional paperwork, such as for your pets.
  1. Pack the Right Provisions
  • Stock your yacht with specialty foods you won’t be able to get in other parts of the world that you might be craving. Some examples include your favourite condiments, coffee and teas, cereals, candies, chocolates, canned soups, and sodas.
  • Pack produce that has a long shelf life, like apples and oranges, carrots, celery, and onions, while avoiding produce that perishes quickly, like bananas.
  • You can typically source staple foods like rice and beans from your destination countries.sailing around the world tips - life jacket
  • Remember that going to restaurants while moored or anchored is one of the major expenses of sailing around the world that can be drastically reduced by preparing as much as you can onboard your yacht.
  1. Toiletries and Medications
  • Planning to have enough of the right toiletries and medication on board might take more foresight than you’d think. It takes time to book appointments with your doctor and get prescriptions filled, depending on your physician. Don’t leave this to the last minute!
  • Don’t overstock items like over the counter medications, as these have expiration dates. You might also be able to find common OTC medications at your destination countries for much cheaper.
  • Check the contents of your First Aid Kit and find out who on board your boat is familiar with everything in it. Does more than one person on board have First Aid training?
  1. Mechanical, Electrical,& Plumbing
  • A boat mechanic can be hard to come by when you’re at sea, so do all you can to learn about the mechanics of your boat. You want to be able to troubleshoot and repair your yacht’s engines and mechanical systems yourself as much as possible. Take classes, watch YouTube videos, and find other boaters who can give you a rundown on your boat. Tinker on land as much as possible prior to your trip.
  • Don’t leave home without the tools and spare parts to get jobs done quickly on the go.
  • Study your boat’s sink, shower, and toilets to understand how they operate and what to do if there are leaks or clogs.
  • Your yacht’s electrical system powers everything from your lights and appliances to your navigational instruments. Study boating manuals and know what batteries on your model need to be prioritized, and how long they last. Again, try for hands-on tinkering where possible.
  1. Entertainment Options
  • Think about how you’ll spend your downtime on the boat in between ports and pack up whatever you’ll need for rainy days, including books, board games, cards, laptops, movies, music, and more.
  • Find out ahead of time what your fellow passengers are most looking forward to during the trip. If your goals aren’t all that aligned, it might be worth reconsidering the duration of the trip, or postponing the trip until all parties are “on board”, so to speak.
  • If you’ll be working or otherwise checking in with the office from time to time, make sure you have all the supplies you need to earn a living while at sea if need be.
  1. SafetyChecks
  • Ensure everything you need for safety’s sake is accounted for. This includes life rafts, life jackets, that First Aid Kit as mentioned above, fire extinguishers, a working radio (also mentioned above), and the right anchor for the seabeds you’ll be navigating.
  • Safety also means ensuring handrails are screwed tightly in place, there are no tripping hazards anywhere, and there are no burned out exterior or interior lights.
  • Debrief everyone who will be travelling with you on the location of all safety equipment on board.
  1. Consult Your Fellow Cruisers
  • Before setting out on the journey of a lifetime, ask other boaters for their tips and suggestions. They can be especially helpful when it comes to favourite destinations, routes, durations of stays, dangerous areas, expensive cities, and so on.
  • Experienced boaters have up-to-date information as well as the wisdom of trial and error. Learn from them! If you’re new to the yachting community, start by talking to your yacht broker, chat up other boaters entering the marina and at trade shows, and check out online forums.

Be Sure the Boating Lifestyle is Right For You

enjoying life yachting around the world

There are so many things to love about life on a yacht, but it’s understandably not for everyone. Cruising can be considered physically and mentally challenging at times, especially if you’re not used to being away from home for long periods.

Before journeying out for weeks or months at a time, be absolutely certain that yachting for long durations is the right choice for you. Ask yourself, do you have a passion for the outdoors and will you be happy constantly being at the mercy of Mother Nature?

Experiment with any long range cruising “thresholds” you might have by staying close to shore for extended periods at a time before heading out for longer ocean crossings to see how you manage.

When yachting, you might have to contend with things like:

  • sea sickness (yourself or your passengers)
  • cooking and sleeping while the boat is rocking
  • not being able to follow a strict schedule
  • not being able to make quick trips to the mall or grocery store
  • missing family and friends back home
  • anxiety around stormy, rough oceans
  • never feeling like your clothing is completely dry
  • giving up your regular spa treatments and gym membership

Fortunately, today’s modern yachts provide so many luxuries and comforts that long range cruising can be made ultra-comfortable. From laundry machines to dishwashers and smartphone chargers, to enclosed decks and enough storage for all of life’s necessities on board, modern luxury motor yachts present today’s boaters with everything they need to experience life at home while out at sea.

Many of the yachts for sale at Van Isle Marina are suitable for long range cruising, whether that’s up and down the coastline, or across continents. We hope the above suggestions help you plan for smooth sailing and the trip of a lifetime. Contact us for more information on any of the above or to learn more about our boats for sale.

Central Island Hiking Trails

Top 10 Hiking Destinations on Central Vancouver Island From North to South and everywhere in between, Vancouver Island is home to countless world-class hiking trails for all skill levels. Below is a list of Van Isle Marina staff’s favourite hiking destinations around the Central part of Vancouver Island. We offer this post as a complement […]

VHF Marine Radio Etiquette

VHF Marine Radio Etiquette

10 Basic Rules of Radio Etiquette When Using Your Yacht’s VHF Radio

If you’re new to the boating community, familiarizing yourself with some simple radio etiquette will help you feel more confident when out on the water. Van Isle Marina has you covered with our handy beginner’s guide to VHF radio etiquette.

But before we get to the etiquette, there are 2 main housekeeping rules:

1. Never Leave Shore without a VHF-FM Radio Onboard

Motorboat operators, and especially yacht operators, should never leave the shore, dock, or marina without a VHF-FM radio on board their vessel. VHF stands for Very High Frequency, and when you’re out at sea, a VHF radio is your primary way to send and receive distress calls to and from the Coast Guard and other boaters.

Why Your Cellphone Won’t Cut It – VHF radios are still the preferred communication method for boaters, despite everyone having a smartphone these days. They are more reliable than cell phones out on the open sea because they can withstand rough weather, are wired to your boat’s battery so they are always charged, and consistently provide more reception than cellphones. They are of large benefit to boaters because they can reach a larger audience than a cellphone, and you don’t have to memorize any phone numbers to communicate with other boats.

2. Take a VHF Course & Get Certified

It’s better for all boaters if every operator of a VHF marine radio is trained up on how to use one. That’s why, as required by the Radio Communications Act, all VHF marine radio operators must carry a Restricted Operator

VHF marine radio etiquette

Certificate (Maritime). Get your certificate, often referred to by its abbreviation – ROC(M) – through the Canadian Power & Sail Squadrons (CPS), which handles training and testing for Industry Canada.

Find a VHF marine radio course in your area. The training course will prepare you for a short exam and go more in depth on the etiquette mentioned here, as well as show you how to use the device.

Note that you don’t need an ROC(M) to just listen to weather updates over your radio.

Now, let’s move on to radio etiquette.

10 Basic Rules to Marine Radio Etiquette

1. Keep chatter to a minimum on open channels.

On a VHF radio, channel 16 is an open channel, where all conversations are essentially public and overheard by other boats. You’re not on a private phone call when you’re speaking over a VHF radio. Keep side conversations about dinner plans on general-use channels like 68 or 72. Or better yet, use your cell phones for these types of plans.

2. Be aware of the working channels for your area and keep the right ones clear.

For example, a local water taxi company might use a specific channel to run their business, so try and keep it clear, simply out of courtesy. This will happen naturally if you abide by rule #1 regarding keeping chatter to a minimum in general. Commercial craft and drawbridge operators will also have their own dedicated channels they prefer, so keep them clear as well.

Channel 16 is reserved for maydays and other warning calls, so it’s also definitely one to keep clear.

3. To indicate you’re done speaking and awaiting a response, say “over”.

The word over is used to signify that your sentence is over and that you are now waiting for a reply. Of all the radio etiquette out there, this might be the one rule you already knew about, as it’s featured on TV and the movies constantly. However, it’s easy to forget to say it after awhile, so make it a habit right from the start.

4. When you are finished with the conversation, do not say “over and out.”

Contrary to popular belief, “OVER” and “OUT” are never used at the same time, since their meanings are mutually exclusive.

5. When you’re first calling on another boat, repeat the name of the boat you’re calling three times.

…Then repeat the name of your boat three times as well. For good measure, also mention the channel you’re using, and remember to conclude with “over”. For example, this would be a proper way to contact a vessel named Annabelle: “Annabelle, Annabelle, Annabelle, this is Christine, Christine, Christine, channel 1-6, over.” It may seem wordy, but it’s proper VHF radio etiquette.

6. When responding to another boat who has called you, state their name, then your name.

The other boater will know right away that you received their message and are now responding. Saying their name back right away grabs their attention immediately. There is no need to state their name and then your name three times each. Once is fine when you’re responding to a call.

For example, to respond to Christine, the response would simply be, “Christine, this is Annabelle. Over.”

7. Learn and use the NATO phonetic alphabet.

When you’re having to communicate single letters, use the NATO phonetic alphabet so that the person receiving your message is absolutely clear on each letter you’re speaking. This means familiarizing yourself with the “Alpha”, “Bravo,” “Charlie,” “Delta,” names that refer to letters. It’s a universal language when out on the water.

8. Read numbers as single digits.

Another universal standard for VHF radio use is reading out single digits instead of longer more complex numbers. So, it’s clearer and easier to understand “one-six” to refer to channel sixteen, and “six-eight” referring to channel sixty-eight. This especially helps when there is a language barrier amongst boaters.

9. Know about the types of calls you’ll hear

There are  three main types of calls you’re likely to overhear on your VHF radio: securité, pan-pan, and mayday calls. Knowing the severity of each one of these calls and how they affect you is important. Likewise, when making these types of calls, using the right call at the right time is more than just proper etiquette – it’s proper efficiency!

  • Securité (a French word, pronounced “securitay”) calls are meant to alert all nearby boaters to something. This is an informational call or message, and nothing more. For example, a commercial ship leaving a dock might broadcast on channel 16 the fact that they are on the move. Other times, the Coast Guard will broadcast securité messages too, such as missing navigation marks, upcoming storms, or debris in the area. There is no true danger, but something to be mindful of.
  • Pan-pan (pronounced pahn-pahn) calls are meant to alert all nearby boaters when there is an emergency onboard a vessel, but it is not a life or death situation. Pan-pan calls are not a call for help, although they do signify that something significant has happened on board, which may lead to an all-out mayday call. The Coast Guard and other nearby boats are made aware of the situation but do not provide immediate rescue.
  • Mayday calls are broadcast when there is a catastrophic event, such as a sinking vessel, a fire on board, or someone on board requiring immediate medical assistance. The proper etiquette here is to not abuse the use of a mayday call. Use it as a last resort only! If you hear a mayday call and are close enough to respond, you must do so.

10. Watch your language

While we’re on the topic of etiquette, we thought it would be worth it to mention avoiding foul language. Remember, your conversations on VHF radio are heard by other boaters, so it’s best to be respectful and watch your language. Keep it clean out there!

The above guide to radio etiquette covers the basics and is a good place to start if you haven’t spent much time operating a vessel before. However, there is still much to learn when it comes to the use of your radio and yacht’s navigational system. (See housekeeping rule #2 above about taking a course and getting certified).

Van Isle Marina’s yachting experts will be happy to provide you with more radio tips for any of the boats you’re interested in at our marina. Contact us to learn more about touring our marina and our new and used boats.

10 Attractions on Vancouver Island

10 Attractions on Vancouver Island

Visiting Vancouver Island for a Few Days?
Here are Some of the Most Popular Attractions to Check Out

From North to South, Vancouver Island is home to many world-class tourist attractions. Below is a list of Van Isle Marina staff’s top recommendations. If you’ll be visiting the island by boat, you can moor your boat at our marina before or after you set out to see more of what our Island has to offer (see our yacht park rates to learn more).

1. Butchart GardensTourist Attractions on Vancouver Island - Butchart Gardens

Located a short distance from Victoria in Brentwood Bay, Butchart Gardens is a 55-acre garden that is tended to by a team of more than 50 gardeners. The garden oasis is home to at least 900 plant varieties and has a history going back 100+ years. Give yourself at least two hours to experience everything Butchart Gardens has to offer. It’s even more enchanting if you can make it during the holiday season.

Tourist Attractions on Vancouver Island - Royal BC museum2. Royal BC Museum

In downtown Victoria right by the city’s inner harbour, the Royal BC Museum showcases 550 million years of natural history and 9,000 years of human history in BC. Inside there are 7 million artifacts, specimens, and documents waiting for you, making this destination one of Canada’s leading museums and research centres. Be sure to take in an IMAX feature while you’re there.

3. BC Parliament BuildingsTourist Attractions on Vancouver Island - BC Parliament Buildings Legislature

The BC parliament buildings are also in Victoria and are home to the legislative assembly of British Columbia. The buildings date back to 1864, and free tours are offered throughout the year. Visitors can also enjoy an afternoon in the park in front of the grounds, taking pictures and picnicking. This impressive site is a top attraction in BC’s capital city. You’ll find the BC parliament buildings in Victoria’s downtown inner harbour, next to the museum.

It’s worth noting that Victoria’s inner harbour is a Vancouver Island attraction on its own, with the picturesque Fairmont Empress Hotel, horse-drawn carriage rides, stunning views, whale watching excursions, harbour ferries and much more on offer.

Tourist Attractions on Vancouver Island - Coombs Market Goats on the Roof4. Coombs Old Country Market

The Old Country Market in Coombs is home to the world-famous Goats on the Roof – which is exactly what it sounds like! Above the market are 2-3 goats living in peaceful harmony as thousands of shoppers browse the market below. The market is open daily from March to December, offering tourists and locals alike a huge selection of baked goods, deli delights, ethnic foods, children’s toys, local produce, and housewares.

Coombs is a small town in Central Vancouver Island on the Alberni Highway, near Parksville and Qualicum Beach. While the market is the focal point of the town, there are more shops and restaurants towards the back of the market, making a stop in Coombs more than just a quick pit stop.

5. TofinoTourist Attractions on Vancouver Island - Tofino Aerial Beach

Located on the West Coast of Vancouver Island, Tofino is a small coastal village that people come from around the world to experience. There is plenty to do in Tofino, including whale watching, kayaking, shopping, craft beer tasting, golfing, biking, hiking, fishing, and storm watching. There is beach on one side and plenty of forest nearby. Choose from a wide range of accommodations, or better yet, bring your boat!

Tofino is also a foodie’s paradise, with many top chefs establishing restaurants in the resorts.

Near Tofino there is also the breathtaking shorelines of Long Beach, Chesterman Beach, Mackenzie Beach, and others – with Long Beach being the longest sandy beach on the West Coast. Not far from Tofino is another town called Ucluelet, with equally beautiful beaches.

Tourist Attractions on Vancouver Island - Cathedral Grove Douglas Firs

6. Cathedral Grove

On your way to Tofino, you’ll drive through Cathedral Grove, an old growth forest just outside of Port Alberni. Cathedral Grove is easy to miss if you’re driving too fast and not looking out for the huge, 800-year-old ancient Douglas firs and the red cedars. So, slow down and be on the lookout for parked cars and tall trees on the side of the highway.

Cathedral Grove is perfect for nature lovers and great for kids. It features well-maintained walkways, well-marked trails, free parking, and plenty of photo-worth backdrops. Challenge yourself and try to get an entire tree in one frame!

7. Horne Lake CavesTourist Attractions on Vancouver Island - Horne Lake Caves

Horne Lake Caves on Central Vancouver Island near Parksville / Qualicum give you a unique opportunity to really get inside the island. At this provincially managed park, deemed “Vancouver Island’s hidden jewel” there is a wide variety of tour options on offer, catering to all different skill levels.

See more caves to explore on Vancouver Island.

Tourist Attractions on Vancouver Island - Wildplay Victoria & Nanaimo8. Nanaimo & Victoria WildPlay

WildPlay in Nanaimo is an adventure park offering the Island’s only river canyon bungee jumping opportunity, along with an aerial obstacle course, ziplines, and a primal swing. It’s a not-to-miss attraction for the thrill seekers in your group, opened during the spring and summer. And if you’re in Victoria, there’s a WildPlay there as well!

9. Duncan Totem PolesTourist Attractions on Vancouver Island - Duncan Totem Poles

Duncan, known as The City of Totems, is home to more than 40 totem poles located throughout the town. 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 each totem before experiencing them in person.

Duncan is the economic hub for the Cowichan Region of Vancouver Island. Take in its heritage buildings and huge mix of restaurants and shops as you experience the totems.

Tourist Attractions on Vancouver Island - Chemainus Murals10. Chemainus Murals

Stick to the main highway on Vancouver Island and you might miss the seaside community of Chemainus – but it’s definitely worth a trip off the beaten path! Chemainus is known as The City of Murals. There are 44 murals in the small town, many of which are 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.

Along with the murals, Chemainus offers the famous Chemainus Theatre, tons of shopping, family owned restaurants and cafes, antique shops, artisan shops and several small parks. It gets bustling in the summer months, leaving us to believe the secret’s out with this island attraction!

More to See & Do

We suggest combining any of the above attractions with one or two of our recommended South Island Hiking Trails before picking up your boat from our marina – to give your legs one last workout on land before setting sail again. Then, if you still have time, be sure to check out the area’s boat-only access beaches for further Vancouver Island exploration.

And finally, if you’re coming to visit us here at Van Isle Marina in Sidney, BC, but don’t have time to explore more of Vancouver Island, there is plenty to see and do right here!

Read more: 15 Things to Do in Sidney, BC

The above attractions are just some of the exciting things Vancouver Island has to offer. Ask our staff for more ideas, including all the best places to experience by boat. Van Isle Marina is one of the largest full-service marinas in British Columbia – we know our boats and the island very well. Check out our new and used yachts and boats for sale.