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

Riviera Yacht Owner Spotlight

Riviera Yacht Owner Spotlight

Riviera Yacht Owners Sandy and Beth Seney

Riviera Yacht Owners - Beth and Sandy Seney

Riviera Yachts are designed and built in Queensland, Australia, at the largest luxury yacht building facility in the Southern Hemisphere.  Their yachts are highly sought after around the world for their high performance, fuel efficiency, luxurious finishing touches, smart layouts, and soft-riding, sure-footed hulls.

As Western Canada’s exclusive authorized dealer of Riviera Australia motor yachts, we at Van Isle Marina are here to help you find the best Rivera model to meet your needs, just like we helped Sandy and Beth Seney, who were recently featured in Experience, Riviera’s digital magazine.

Riviera & Belize Yachts

Avid motor yacht enthusiasts from Vancouver, BC, the couple shared their story of how they came to be the proud owners of a brand new Riviera 52 Enclosed Flybridge. Our team at Van Isle Marina was pleased to support them in their journey to becoming Riviera owners.

“We saw the Riviera 52 at a local boat show and immediately decided she was what we wanted,” Sandy recalls of how they decided which motor yacht would meet all of their needs.Sandy and Beths Riviera 52 Enclosed Flybridge

One of the standout features of the 52 Enclosed Flybridge model that appealed to Sandy and Beth was the internal staircase to the flybridge, as well as the glass-enclosed flybridge itself. “No more plastic windows!” Sandy noted.

The flybridge of the 52 also features forward and rear lounges, a wet bar, and twin seats in the helm – another standout feature for the couple, who appreciate that there is no helm station in the saloon, giving them more space in the living area.

Additional features on the Riviera 52 Enclosed Flybridge motor yacht include three staterooms, two bathrooms, large boarding platform, barbeque and wet bar station, laundry closet, wide side decks, anchoring station, rear glass bulkhead, premium finishes, the best brands in audio and video equipment, and joystick steering that makes operating this model extra simple. In all, the layout of Riviera’s enclosed flybridges offer plenty of space, with the galley aft and dinette and lounge forward all on the same level.

“And we can’t get over how fast she is with the twin Volvo Penta engines and pod drives,” Sandy adds, referring to their Volvo Penta D11-IPS950s delivering 750 hp each.

The inverter, generator, and water capacity of Sandy and Beth’s desired yacht was also important to them, given they seldom go into marinas or tie up to docks. “We prefer to anchor somewhere on our own,” Sandy says.

Sandy and Beth named their new Riviera 52 Enclosed Flybridge ‘Sweet Thing’, after an expression Beth’s mother once used to describe Sandy. She tells Riviera magazine: “My mother referred to everyone as either a ‘sweet thing’ or an ‘interesting character’. It was not good to be known as an ‘interesting character’! “Fortunately, she referred to Sandy as a ‘sweet thing’. Hence the name,” Beth shares.

After selecting the 52 Enclosed Flybridge out from a crowd of other boats during a boat show, the pair enlisted the services of Van Isle Marina to help them acquire the yacht and make it theirs. They visited the Riviera yard in Australia on a number of occasions, taking a keen interest in the build of their investment. Riviera offers this option to owners who have bought brand new and are customizing their models, which is all part of the exclusive Riviera Experience.

The couple spent some time inspecting the build of their new yacht as she was being built at the company’s headquarters in south-east Queensland, Australia. Their final visit to the yard was to sea trial the motor yacht before her delivery to Canada. With the sea trial proving more than successful, the last step was simply waiting patiently for her delivery.

Sandy and Beth’s motor yacht was delivered to us here at Van Isle Marina, where we presented it to our very happy clients who were eager to get out exploring. And with all the comforts and conveniences Riviera is known for, it’s easy to see how Sandy and Beth were able to spend eight weeks out on the water exploring the Pacific Northwest upon receiving their Riviera.

One of their first anchorages was Princess Louisa Inlet, a small narrow fjord nearly 100 nautical miles north of Vancouver. Then they headed north to Desolation Sound, a vast, protected waterway with seemingly endless small islands to navigate.

Continuing north, they traveled through Johnstone Strait and on to the Broughton Archipelago, leading toward Pierre’s Echo Bay Marina. These are just a few of several stops the pair made during their maiden voyage – the first of many to come.

Sandy and Beth look forward to sharing their Riviera with their children and their grandchildren this summer as they explore even more of the hidden gems around the west coast, especially all the protected and spectacular bays, inlets, and sounds that make up the waterways of the Pacific Northwest.

Riviera Yacht Owners RendezvousAnnual Riviera Rendezvous

If you decide to follow Sandy and Beth’s path and come to own a Riviera yacht, you’ll be joining a growing group of ecstatic yacht owners who meet regularly to share their adventures and boating knowledge. One such event is called the annual Riviera Rendezvous that takes place each year in June.

At this highly anticipated event, dozens of Riviera yacht owners meet up for an entire weekend to catch up with old friends and welcome new Riviera yacht owners into the family. The 2019 Riviera Rendezvous took place on June 7-9 with Emerald Pacific Yachts in Roche Harbor, a sheltered harbor on the northwest side of San Juan Island in San Juan County, Washington.

Check out the recap from the 2019 Riviera Rendezvous.

As always, the Riviera Rendezvous was an outstanding success bringing together Riviera owners from the Pacific Northwest to enjoy a festive weekend together. With more than 160 people and 44 Riviera Yachts in attendance, proud owners celebrated the ‘Silver Screen’ as movie stars with a potluck, dock parties, seminars, and a catered dinner. It was entertaining and an excellent opportunity to connect with the Riviera family.

The entire Van Isle Marina team is looking forward to celebrating Riviera’s 40th anniversary at the next Riviera Rendezvous happening in June 2020.

Read More: 8 Things You’ll Love About Living on a Yacht

Riviera’s 15th Motor Yacht

Riviera has 14 – soon to be 15 – different motor yacht models available across 5 distinct collections, including the Open and Enclosed Flybridge Collections, the Sport Yacht and the Sport Motor Yacht Collections, and the SUV Collection. As Western Canada’s exclusive authorized dealer of Riviera Australia’s luxury motor yachts, Van Isle Marina’s yacht brokers would be pleased to present you with more information.

You can also read about each of Riviera’s models on our website.

To help you discover what type of Riviera yacht may be right for you, Van Isle Marina is here to help. Please contact one of our Yacht Sales Brokers, call us at 250.656.1138, or come to Sidney BC to see us in person. We look forward to showing you our boats!

5 types of pacific salmon in british columbia

Kinds of Salmon in BC

The 5 Types of Pacific Salmon in British Columbia Waters

With so many species of fish to fish for in BC waters, there is something to catch at practically any time of the year. One of the most popular fish that draws anglers to our region is salmon. You’ll find this post on the different types of salmon helpful if you’re planning a trip to the Pacific Northwest, or if you are a local who just wants to freshen up on your familiarity of the 5 main types of Pacific salmon in British Columbia.

What Makes a Salmon a Salmon?

It’s no secret that British Columbia is best known for our salmon fishing, both freshwater and saltwater. So, what makes a salmon, a salmon? The name “salmon” covers several species of ray-finned fish in the Salmonidae family. (Trout, char, grayling, and whitefish are also in the Salmonidae family and will be covered in a future post).

Pacific salmon are anadromous, which means they are born in freshwater streams, then migrate to the ocean for most of their lives before returning to the same freshwater stream in which they were born, to reproduce (spawn). Pacific salmon are also semelparous, which means they die after reproduction and become a food source for other life forms in BC’s coastal ecosystems.

There are 5 Pacific salmon species indigenous to the coastal waters of British Columbia. They are Chinook, Chum, Sockeye, Coho, and Pink. There are also two additional species of Pacific salmon – masu and amago – that are indigenous to Asia and cannot be found in BC. It should also be noted that Pacific salmon are distantly related to Atlantic salmon but have different amounts of chromosomes.

ChinookDifferent kinds of salmon in BC - Chinook Salmon

Chinook Salmon (also called “King” or “Spring” salmon) are the largest and rarest of the Pacific salmon, weighing upwards of 50 kg and measuring up to 40 or more inches long. Chinook that weigh over 30 lbs are called “ Tyee”. Tyee salmon are highly sought after and popular amongst anglers because they are big, strong, and taste great – especially when grilled or prepared as smoked salmon. You can identify chum by their dark mouths, black gums, and V-shaped, silver tails that are often covered in spots. Anglers are allowed to catch up to 30 chinook per year and must log each catch.

Saltwater chinook fishing is best done from your boat or yacht between May and September using baitfish like herring or anchovies. Lure casting, trolling, and float fishing are all common methods used to catch chinook, whether you are on a boat or fishing for chinook salmon from lakes and rivers as well.  Use big spoons, jigs, hootchies, or spin ‘n’ glows to get started.

Chum5 Types of BC Salmon - Chum

Chum Salmon (or “Dog” Salmon, nicknamed for their canine-like teeth) are the second largest of the Pacific salmon and are easy to spot due to each of them having a dark horizontal stripe running down each of their sides. They also have large pupils, white jaws, and a somewhat forked, spotted tail. Chum can be 20 inches long or more and weigh 10 to 30 lbs. They are strong and highly abundant, but not as tasty as the other Pacific salmon. They are best when poached or steamed to enhance texture and taste.

Chum can be caught in saltwater before October, when they start to migrate back to freshwater between October and December. Note that they are easier to catch than they are to reel in, and for this reason, a heavier rod, reel, and line are recommended. Try out various techniques like drift fishing with a float, spinning with spoons or spinners, or trolling in the ocean using hootchies.

SockeyeTypes of Salmon in British Columbia - Sockeye Salmon

Sockeye Salmon (or “Red” salmon) are medium-sized, silver/blue salmon that have small black speckles on their bodies. When they migrate back to their home streams, the bodies of sockeye become reddish in colour with bright green heads. They have pink gums, large eyes, and slightly forked tails without spots. Sockeye measure about 24-32 inch long and weigh around 6-18 lbs. They are delicious fish, with grilling and eating raw as sushi or as a salmon poke bowl being very popular.

Around the Vancouver Island region, sockeye salmon fishing season is usually July to early September. You will have a lot of success trolling for sockeye in the Georgia Strait and the mouth of the Fraser River using colourful hootchies or spoons.

CohoTypes of salmon in BC - Coho Salmon

Coho Salmon, also commonly known as “silvers” or “bluebacks” because they stay a nice chrome colour for almost their entire lives, are the most populous of the Pacific salmon. They are modestly sized, at 20-24 inches long and topping out at around about 25-30 lbs. They have white mouths and gums and a squared tail. Coho are a favourite amongst anglers because they are tasty and a tad tricky to catch with their aggressive behaviour and acrobatic skills.

Coho salmon fishing in both ocean and rivers is common. They like to hang out in kelp beds in search of smaller fish. A number of techniques can be used to target coho salmon, with trolling, spincasting, mooching, flyfishing, and barfishing all offering their own perks. Silver or copper spoons and spinners are recommended.

5 Kinds of BC Salmon - Pink Salmon


Pink salmon are the smallest of the five Pacific salmon, weighing in at just 4-7 lbs each. Their flesh is a nice pink colour, meaning they are aptly named. Mature male pinks have a large, humped back and large oval black spots on their backs and V-shaped tail fins. Pink salmon are the only salmon without silver in their tails.

Despite their smaller size, pinks are a popular sportfish for beginners because they readily bite at all kinds of lures and flies and are light enough for young children to have no problem reeling in. A lightweight fishing rod and line is all that is needed, as well as any type of colourful artificial lure. Pink salmon fishing season is from July to September.

Learn More

For an illustrative guide to these 5 pacific salmon species, check out the Pacific Salmon Foundation’s salmon poster. All proceeds go to charity.

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

No matter what type of salmon you set out to catch, make sure you’re aware of the freshwater and saltwater fishing regulations put forth by the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO).

Finally, find out how to prepare any of the 5 species of Pacific salmon with these great salmon recipe suggestions.

Read More:

If you need a new boat or yacht for salmon fishing in BC, Van Isle Marina has a wide range of yacht services and yachts for sale moored at our docks. We’ll also share our favourite spots for catching salmon by boat. Check out 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.

A Guide to Anchoring Your Boat (1)

Anchors Part 2 – Anchoring Your Boat

A Guide to Anchoring Your Boat

Learn what is involved when it comes time to anchor your motor yacht

Knowing how to anchor your boat when necessary is an essential boating skill. In part two of our two-part post on anchoring, we’ll provide some tips & tricks on how to anchor your boat.

How to Anchor Your Boat

There are three main components to anchoring a boat, including:

Choosing the Right Anchor

We covered how to choose the right anchor in Part One of our two-part series on anchoring. To recap, there are several types of anchors available, and it’s important to pick the right kind based on the type of seabed you’ll be covering (sand, rock, seaweed, coral, etc.). Choosing the right anchor has more to do with the seabed below than the size of your vessel.

Choosing the Best Spot to Anchor

A big component of anchoring your boat successfully is knowing where to best anchor the boat so it is safe and secure. Doing so comes down to good old-fashioned intuition, as well as knowing what’s below you. Let’s jump right into it…

First, refer to your charts to know the depth of the water below. Aim for a flat bottom that is suitable for your anchor type. In a perfect world, you end up finding a spot that is soft and weed-free, where the water is calm and there isn’t a lot of wind.

If the area is crowded with other boaters, you’ll also need to be mindful of other boats in the area, making sure your boat’s swing radius won’t intersect with other boats. If possible, ask other boat owners where their anchors are dropped and how long their rodes are if you can’t tell.

Measuring Your Rode

To know if you have enough rode to anchor securely, measure the depth at your desired location from your bow (not the water surface) to the bottom, and multiply by 7, or by 5 is you have a heavier, all-chain rode.

The resulting number is the scope, and it refers to the ratio between the length of your rode and the distance from the bow to the bottom. The scope indicates approximately how far your boat will drift from your anchor. Increase your scope to 10:1 or more for stormy conditions. The longer the scope, the more horizontal your rode is, and the more tightly you will be anchored.

Knowing that if the wind or current changes, your boat could swing every which way from the anchor point, so keep a wide berth from all obstacles (a complete radius from the anchor point). Before dropping anchor, double check there are no hidden shallow areas within your anchor radius.

Also remember to check the weather and tide information so you’re not caught off-guard. If high winds are expected in the time you’ll be anchored, or if a loose anchor could cause a collision with other anchored boats in the area, use your heavier storm anchor. For most situations, your general purpose main anchor will be enough. In extremely rough seas, consider anchoring both your bow and your stern if possible.

Dropping Anchor

With the perfect spot selected, it’s time to drop your anchor. Approach your selected spot slowly from downwind and stop the boat when you’re on top of the selected spot. Allow the current or wind to move you back slightly away from the spot.

Before dropping anchor, determine and let out how much rode you’ll need, then use a cleat hitch to tie it at that distance. Drop your anchor over the bow slowly, keeping the anchor rode tight at first to avoid tangling your rode. This also helps you aim the anchor until you feel it hit bottom. Slowly let out the rode at about the same speed as the boat is moving.

Once one-third of the rode has been let out, cinch it off and let the boat straighten. Your boat will probably turn across the current or wind as you move. This will straighten the rode you’ve let out and gently set the anchor into the bottom. If your boat won’t straighten out, your anchor is drifting and you need to try again. Pick another spot if possible, if multiple attempts fail.

Continue to let out the scope and straighten the boat twice more. Uncinch the anchor rode and let it out as the boat once again drifts backward. Cinch it again once a total of 2/3 the rode length has been played out. Let the boat’s momentum straighten it out and set the anchor more firmly. Repeat this process one more time, letting out the rest of the rode length you determined was necessary.

Tie off the line around a bow cleat and voila!

Snubbing the Anchor

To further ensure you’re anchored, you can give the anchor a final hard set by reversing hard until the rode straightens out. This sudden jerk will jam an already set anchor even more firmly into the seabed. This is called snubbing the anchor.

Making Sure You’re Anchored

To make sure you’ve anchored successfully, select a couple of stationary reference points on land. Note their positions relative to each other from your perspective, then reverse your boat until the rode straightens and allow your boat to drift back to a stationary position. The two objects you had your eye on should be in the same position relative to each other as they were before you reversed.

For peace of mind, we recommend taking compass bearings immediately after anchoring, and then 15-20 minutes after anchoring to make sure you’re anchored. For even more peace of mind, many GPS units have an alarm to alert you if you drift.

Anchoring Safety Tips

  • Be careful your hands or feet don’t get caught in the rode.
  • Wear a personal flotation device when dropping or retrieving an anchor.
  • Instruct passengers whenever you’ll be anchoring.
  • Keep kids and animals out of the anchoring area.
  • When using more than one anchor, do not drop an anchor from the stern before anchoring the bow – doing so could cause your boat to capsize.
  • To make sure you stay anchored during an overnight trip, try to find a stationary object that is lit to use as a reference point. Otherwise, use a GPS unit that will alert you if you start to drift.

Learn More: See how anchoring is different than mooring and docking.

To learn even more about anchoring your boat, we recommend talking to your local boating experts. The team here at Van Isle Marina in Sidney, BC are here to help you anchor your new boat with confidence. Give us a call or stop by to learn more about how we can help you develop your boating skills.

Boat Only Destinations Around Vancouver Island Canada

Boat Access Only Tourist Spots

Best Boat Only Destinations Around Vancouver Island

Who doesn’t love the beauty and serenity that a secluded beach, only accessible by boat, provides? At Van Isle Marina, we love spending days or weeks at a time aboard our boats exploring the Pacific Northwest, particularly the many islands and coves around Vancouver Island.

Sometimes, the best places are stumbled upon by accident, when you weren’t even looking for them, but there are a few places that should definitely be on your boating bucket list. Here are our top places around Vancouver Island that you can only get to by boat:

Snake Islandsnake island - accessible by boat only

Snake Island, about 6 km from Nanaimo’s Departure Bay, is a small, uninhabited island that’s popular with kayakers and canoers. Directly in the path of BC Ferries, be on high alert when navigating this region. Snake Island offers amazing diving experiences, a little lighthouse, a large population of harbour seals, beautiful sandstone overhangs, and great birdwatching opportunities.

Rugged Point Marine Park

If you’re looking for plenty of park amenities such as camping, canoeing, fishing, windsurfing, and hiking, check out Rugged Point. This provincial park is located on the west coast of northern Vancouver Island on the southwest end of Kyuquot Channel in the mouth of Kyuquot Sound. There are a variety of safe places to anchor at Rugged Point, or in nearby Dixie Cove, making this a popular destination for boaters.

Clayoquot Wilderness ResortClayoquot, Vancouver Island, Canada

For a night or two on land, consider a stay at the seasonally-operated Clayoquot Wilderness Resort – an “all-inclusive eco-safari resort” about 30 minutes by boat from Tofino. At this wilderness retreat you get the chance to stay in one of 25 great white canvas, fully-equipped prospector-style tents, and enjoy artfully prepared coastal gourmet cuisine, a spa and more.

Broken Island Group

The Broken Group of Islands in the middle of Barkley Sound is nestled in the Alberni Inlet and close to the Pacific Rim National Park – one of Canada’s most acclaimed parks. Allow several days of boating here, where you’ll enjoy 50 kilometers of fine sand beaches at the national park before or after exploring the Broken Group Islands. If you’re into fishing, check out Eagle Nook Resort for world-class, all-inclusive salmon and fishing charters. Located amongst the Broken Group of Islands and accessible only by boat or seaplane, this remote 5-star fishing vacation is certainly something you’ll want to add to your itinerary.

Grant Bay

Grant Bay, located on the northwest coast of Vancouver Island near Port Hardy, is a white sand secluded beach that technically can be accessed by a drive and a hike, but we believe it’s much more fun to bypass all that by using a boat.

To get there from Winter Harbour, where there is a boat launch if need be, bear right at Mathews Island, continue up the inlet, bear left, tie up safely on the beach and follow the trail through the forest about 30 minutes. You’re there when you see a wide expanse of West Coast sandy beach. You might also see whales and sea otters, both of which are common in the area.

Sandy Island

Sandy Island Marine Park, known locally as Tree Island, is located on the northern tip of Denman Island. Access is boat-only, or by foot from Denman Island at low tide. Sandy Island offers great birdwatching and sandy beaches suitable for sunbathing and swimming.

Ahousahtboat only access to Ahousaht Flores Island

Ahousaht, located in a small bay on the east side of Flores Island in Clayoquot Sound, is the largest of the Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations with more than 2,000 members. At Ahousaht you’ll also find the Clayoquot Sound Biosphere Reserve, home to a diverse ecosystem and a rare ancient temperate rain forest. Take a reprieve from life at sea. Moor the boat and take a stay at the Aauuknuk Lodge or the Lone Cone Hostel and Campground located on Meares Island.

Vargas Island Provincial Park

Vargas Island Provincial Park in Clayoquot Sound is located immediately northwest of Tofino and west of Meares Island on the west coast of Vancouver Island. This park offers great paddling, camping, and wildlife viewing. Also be on the lookout for Gray whales around Ahous Bay in the spring.

On the shorelines of Vargas Island, you’ll see an exposed rocky coast, sandy beaches, sheltered channels and bays, an intertidal lagoon, and ancient sand berms – rows of crescent-shaped sand mounds that indicate earlier sea levels.

Desolation Sound Marine Provincial ParkDesolation Sound - accessible by boat

Chances are you’ve already heard about or been to Desolation Sound Marine Provincial Park – a boater’s paradise, with its calm waters, vistas, and more than 60 km of shoreline to discover. There are three major destination anchorages that make up Desolation Sound: Prideaux Haven, Tenedo’s Bay and Grace Harbour. This place is popular, but there is plenty of room for everyone.

Refuge Cove

Refuge Cove in the heart of Desolation Sound is a remote community of around 30 full-time residents with a great summertime burger joint, general store, and campsites. They also offer free four-hour moorage, or overnight stays for a small fee.

Roscoe Bay and Squirrel CoveSquirrel Cove - arrive by boat

While near Desolation Sound, we also recommend visiting nearby Roscoe Bay and Squirrel Cove, both northwest of Desolation. Note that swimming in Roscoe Bay isn’t recommended. Instead, take a 1-2 hour hike and enjoy a freshwater swim at nearby Black Lake.

Lasqueti Island

Lasqueti Island lies off the east coast of Vancouver Island in the Powell River Regional District. It has a population of around 500 people who all live off-grid. There are no public campgrounds on the island, but there are numerous provincial parks on the perimeters of the island, including Squitty Bay Provincial Park. The waters around this area are ideal for cold water scuba diving.

Protection Island

Protection Island, about a 15-minute ferry ride from the harbour city of Nanaimo, is home to around 350 full-time residents. The main mode of transportation on the island is golf carts. On Protection Island you’ll definitely have to check out the Dinghy Dock pub, which is Canada’s only floating pub. There are also tons of beaches and wildlife viewing opportunities on this small island.

New Castle and Gabriola Islands

Also in the Nanaimo area is New Castle Island, a popular place for kayakers who are launching from Nanaimo, and Gabriola Island, or Isle of the Arts, which is a small town of around 4,000 people, including many artists.

Mudge Island

Between Vancouver Island and Gabriola Island you’ll also find Mudge Island, a small island with 50-65 full-time residents and a public park (South Beach), but no ferry service or stores. Mudge is on the northern tip of Dodd Narrows, which means strong currents, whirlpools and back eddies, so proceed with caution! Also be mindful of the reef running through nearby False Narrows.

Hot Springs Coveboat or plane only access - Hot Springs Cove, Vancouver Island

Hot Springs Cove in Maquinna Provincial Park northwest of Tofino in Clayoquot Sound – a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve – are geothermal hot springs backed by amazing scenery. To access the hot springs, anchor the boat and then enjoy a 2km walk along well-maintained boardwalks and wooden stairs through lush rainforest to get to the natural hot springs. There, you can take a long soak.

Additional Destinations Recommended by Pacific Yachting

In addition to the items on our list, check out Pacific Yachting’s 7 Best Boat-Access-Only Beaches in the Gulf Islands, which features:

The boating experts here at Van Isle Marina are very familiar with these and many other great destinations for boating in the Pacific Northwest. We’d also love to hear about the places you love boating around Vancouver Island! We look forward to welcoming you to our docks and helping you find the best new or pre-owned boat or yacht to match your boating lifestyle.

Different Types of Anchors

Anchor Types – Part 1

Different Types of Anchors

Learn about the different styles of anchors and how to select the right anchor for your motor yacht

Knowing how to anchor your boat when necessary is an essential boating skill. In part one of our two-part post on anchoring, we share an introduction to selecting the right anchor for your boat.

Anchoring Your Boat

Anchoring your boat refers to securing it in place in the open sea for hours, days, or months at a time without the use of a dock or a moor. (See our guide to understanding the differences between anchoring, docking, and mooring). There are many instances when you might need to anchor a boat, including:

types of boat anchors

  • Spending the night at sea
  • During stormy weather
  • Taking a fishing or swimming break
  • Getting fueled up
  • Retiring the boat for the season
  • Relaxing to enjoy the scenery

How Many Anchors Do You Need?

Anchoring your boat involves 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 you’re legally allowed to if you have an anchor cable, known as an anchor rode, that’s long enough (multiply the depth of your desired location – from the top of your bow to the bottom of the seabed – by 7, or by 5 if you have a heavier, all-chain rode to determine the scope).

Most luxury motor yachts come with built-in anchoring systems located at the bow and concealed from view, which takes the guesswork out of which size and weight of anchor is best for your vessel, but if you’ll be anchoring in rough seas and/or varying types of sea beds, we recommend carrying an additional anchor or two of varying styles and sizes.

For example, your boat’s main anchor is a great, all-purpose anchor for extended periods. However, if you’ll be making frequent stops and anchoring often, an anchor one or two sizes smaller that’s easy to deploy and pull up would be considered an asset.

Likewise, a storm anchor one or two sizes larger would provide more peace of mind during rough weather or for overnight stops. In addition, it’s always good to have at least one heavy backup in case you lose an anchor, or for situations where it’s wise to use two anchors.

Choosing the right anchor

There are several different types of boating anchors available. Each one is designed for various types of sea beds (i.e., mud, grass, sand, coral, or rock). The type of seabed you’re navigating will determine which anchor is most suitable to use. For motor yachts in the Pacific Northwest, a fluke/Danforth anchor is considered a general-purpose anchor. Carrying both a fluke anchor and a scoop style anchor is recommended.

types of anchors - fluke anchor

Fluke Anchors

The modern fluke anchor, also called the Lightweight or Danforth, works in both soft mud and hard sand. Once made out of iron, today’s fluke anchors are aluminum, lightweight and consist of two flat, pointed, pivoting flukes that extend at a 30º angle from the anchor rod. Fluke anchors stow flat and have an excellent holding-power-to-weight ratio. Fluke anchors are those iconic-looking anchors most recognized by the general population (i.e. non-boaters). They are not suitable for grassy or rocky surfaces.

Plow and Scoop Anchors anchor styles - plow anchor

Plow or scoop anchors are single point anchors that are good for grass, mud, and sand. Similar to fluke anchors, both plow and scoop anchors are heavier and have a plow-shaped wedge attached by a swivel to the shaft.

Mushroom Anchorstypes of anchors - mushroom anchor

Shaped like an upside-down mushroom, mushroom anchors don’t have any way of gripping the seabed; rather, they are heavy and burrow under sediment, which is where their holding power comes from. Mushroom anchors should only be used for small boats like inflatable boats, rowboats, and canoes in heavily weeded areas for short stops only.

Specialized Anchors

Additional anchors on the market include the Grapnel, Herreshoff anchors, Delta, and Claw:

  • Grapnel: a shank with four or more tines small enough to hook into rocky bottoms. Best used in rocky bottoms.
  • Herreshoff: has small diamond shaped flukes or palms and can be stowed in 3 pieces.
  • Delta: a plow anchor with a rigid, arched shank that is self-launching.
  • Admiralty or Fisherman Anchor: the classic anchor design that consists of a central shank with a ring or shackle for attaching the rode.
  • Bruce or claw anchor: a claw-shaped anchor that is a variation of the plow design intended to have more staying power. Best used in rocky bottoms.

If you’re unsure of what style of anchor is best for your boat, always consult with a boating expert. One of our boating experts at Van Isle Marina will be happy to answer your questions.

Anchor Weight

The size of anchor you’ll need for your vessel will be specified by the boat’s manufacturer. Note that for larger boats, a working anchor and a storm anchor are recommended, with the storm anchor being twice as heavy as the working anchor. For 30’ boats, a working anchor weight of 700 lbs is recommended, and for 60’ boats, that number jumps to 2,000 lbs for the working anchor.

We recommend using a larger anchor than specified if there is an unusual amount of weight being carried on your boat. The physical size of the anchor and its type is more important than its weight, but always go for a larger anchor when in doubt.

Anchor Quality: Although they might not seem like it, anchors are an important piece of safety equipment – always buy high-quality anchors. If you are buying a pre-owned anchor, inspect it for rust, poor welding lines, and other inconsistencies in the metal.

Deck Cleats and Rollers: You also need to have the right type of deck cleats or anchor rollers for your anchors. If you may have a bow roller mounted on your boat already, just know that each roller is only suitable for specific types of anchors. If you don’t have an anchor housing on your boat already, make sure you have strong, sturdy deck cleats for tying the anchor to.

Anchor Chain or Rope?

With your anchor selection made, it’s time to pick the anchor line you’ll attach your anchor to. This line is called the anchor rode, and is typically metal chain, nylon rope, or a combination of the two.

Metal Chain is more expensive but requires less replacement over the years. It also helps to drop the anchor more quickly.

Nylon is strong, easy to manipulate, and relatively cheap to use. It also works well during sudden wind and current changes. However, it can snag or tear more easily and need to be replaced more often than chain.

Many boaters opt for using a combination of both materials and are more concerned with having the rode be of sufficient diameter. For example, aim for nylon rope should be 3/16″ (4.8mm) in diameter for a vessel under 10′ (3m) in length and 3/8″ (9.5mm) for a vessel under 20′ (6m). Increase the diameter by an additional eighth of an inch for each additional 10 feet of your vessel length.

When you buy a boat or yacht through Van Isle Marina, our boating experts will help familiarize you with your yacht’s anchoring system, so you feel confident you are prepared for anything when out on the water.

Give us a call or stop by to learn more about how we can help you develop your boating skills.

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.