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

What is a Yacht? (History, Types of Yachts, Styles and Sizes)

side view of yacht

In this article, we explain the definition, history and origin of the word yacht, and break down some of the more common types of yachts along with various styles and sizes.

Yacht Definition & Origin

The word yacht comes from the Dutch word “jacht”, which means to hunt, and refers to the quick and lightweight sailboats the Dutch navy used to pursue pirates and other enemies in shallow waters. Today, the word takes on a very different meaning. While there is no strict definition of the word today, a yacht is generally considered as a boat used for pleasure, whether you’re cruising open waters, racing or island-hopping for the weekend. Typically, we consider a boat to be a yacht if it has an overnight cabin onboard, is more than 33 feet long, and generally looks nicer than your average vessel.

Pleasure boats have been around for hundreds of years, which is no surprise when you consider our options for transportation around that time. Without planes, cars, bikes or scooters, humans turned to the one form of transportation they knew well for pleasure – the ship.

Sailing Yacht History

sailboat on open water

Sailing yachts have been a thing since at least the beginning of the 1660s in Europe, when King James of England commissioned a sailing yacht for his son Henry, the Prince of Wales. But it was Charles II, the Kind of Scotland, who brought the term “yacht” into the mainstream after spending time exiled in the Netherlands. Once Charles got home, he began commissioning royal yachts left and right.

Steam Yacht History

Steam Yachts also have quite the history, which started as massive and luxurious sailing yachts with steam auxiliary engines. These yachts were much larger, and carried full crews complete with a cook, captain, engineer, stewards and deck hands. By the late 1700s, screw propellers were installed and the engines became far more efficient. Eventually, compound engines came about and persisted until the internal combustion took over.

Power Yacht History

Powerboats with 4-stroke gas engines were first developed by Nicolaus Otto and Gottlieb Daimler in 1876. Then in the 1900s, diesel engines became the more popular option because of their lower cost and improved reliability.

Yacht Types

Today, yachts fall into one of two general categories – sailing yachts and motor yachts.

Sailing Yachts

A sailing yacht is a leisure craft that relies on its sails for the primary method of movement, made from natural, synthetic or carbon fibers. Sailing yachts are split into two main categories: cruisers and raisers.

Cruising Yachts

A cruising yacht is designed for comfort above anything else. These yachts are ideal for overnight and lengthy journeys, typically equipped with all the comforts of home, including full kitchens (galleys), bathrooms (heads) and beds. They’re also designed to be slightly easier to maintain.

At the smaller end, we have what’s called as a “trailer sailer”. These yachts are generally shorter than 25 feet, and can be pulled by the average car. But anything shorter than 33 feet is considered a small sailing yacht. The next level is 33-45 feet, referred to as near-shore yachts. Offshore yachts are the largest category, including vessels larger than 45 feet.

Racing Yachts

racing sailboat on water

A racing yacht is designed with performance top of mind, rather than comfort. World Sailing, the governing body for the sport of international sailing, recognizes 11 different classes of sailing yachts, but each share some general characteristics.

On a racing yacht, aerodynamics is prioritized. These yachts come in a variety of shapes and weights, but performance is the underlying motivation for all. Similar to aerodynamics but underwater, hydrodynamically efficient hulls allow boats to pull through the water with minimal drag or extra motion. Finally, for peak performance, these sailing yachts typically use full-battened Kevlar or carbon fiber sails.

Motor Yachts

Motor yachts come in all shapes and sizes, built with a variety of different materials. Generally speaking, they range from 30-130 feet in length, but there are superyachts out there exceeding 500 feet (that’s over 150 metres!).

The hull of a motor yachts comes in three basic styles. A yacht with a full-displacement hull moves the water up and away, creating waves. These boats have the potential to be plenty powerful, but their speed is limited. Semi-displacement hulls are slightly faster, because they’re able to partially rise above the water. Last are the yachts with a planing hull. These yachts are the fastest, because of a flat underside and enough power to lift them onto the surface of the water.

motor yacht in the water

The majority of modern motor yachts have at least one diesel engine. A boat with two engines is certainly more expensive, but well worth it when you consider the reliability and increased handling/performance.

When it comes to motor yacht styles, there are many. Here’s a brief introduction to a few different motor yacht styles:

  • Sport Motor Yacht: These powerful crafts are built with a semi-displacement and planing hulls, making them fast boats great for weekend adventures and short trips.
  • Trawler Motor Yacht: A trawler is known for its more traditional style with a displacement hull, designed for medium distance passage-making.
  • Cruising Motor Yacht: A cruising yacht is built for comfortable longer distance travel, equipped with a displacement hull.
  • Expedition Yacht: Similar to a cruising motor yacht, expedition yachts are built with a displacement hull for long distances, but these crafts specialize in passage-making in remote areas.
  • Mega Luxury Yachts: The mega luxury yachts is what you see and hear about on TV and in magazines. They’re hundred of feet long, designed for dozens of family and friends, and reserved for the super-rich.

luxury yacht near the shore

  • Sports Fisherman Yacht: These yachts have semi-displacement or planing hulls for quick fishing trips where you need to be able to move well. On a sports fisherman yacht, there will also be extra space for fishing gear and large fish.
  • Lobster Yacht: A lobster yacht is similar to but quicker than a trawler, built with a semi-displacement or planing hull. These yachts get their name from their unique style – looking like classic Maine lobster boats.

If you’re looking for a new yacht, browse our current listings of sailing and motor yachts at Van Isle Marina. You can also visit us in Sidney at 2320 Harbour Road to see our stock in person, and our staff will be happy to help you out.

winter conditions in forest

How to Winterize Your Boat

winter conditions in forest

Once per year, it’s essential that boat owners take the proper steps to winterize their vessel. In order to prepare a boat for the next warm weather boating season, the winterization process commences at the end of the previous season, typically September or October if you’re in the Pacific Northwest. Even if you’re a year-round boater, scheduling a maintenance check-up before winter should be on your mind.

Winterization is possible to do yourself if you have the right facility, tools and know-how, but the easiest way to tackle the winterizing of your boat is by taking advantage of boat maintenance and storage facilities at your local marina.

In this article, we’ll break down the complete winterization process for boat owners – everything from why it’s mandatory to procedures, products, tools and maintenance services you’ll need.

Why Winterize Your Boat?

If you live in a part of the world where temperatures drop below freezing, winterization is absolutely mandatory for boat owners. Regardless of whether your boat is parked on a lake, ocean or driveway, it will be prone to danger once the temperature sinks.

The biggest risk that comes with freezing temperatures is water being trapped in different components of your boat. Most seriously, if water is trapped and frozen in your boat’s engine block, water tank or other on-board plumbing, you could be in for some very expensive repairs.

That’s why a little winterization maintenance is always worth the price tag, which dwarfs the cost of replacing parts and expensive repairs.

Prep the Engine

closeup view of boat engine

The engine is a critical component of your boat that’s susceptible to damage over the winter when temperatures drop, making it a great place to start. If you can, inspect your engine for any wear and tear, which should be addressed before long-term storage. If you notice cracks or stiffness in the fuel lines, they should be looked at and potentially replaced before you store your boat.

Once you’ve checked the engine for damage, a great place to start is flushing the engine, because any excess fluid left in your engine will be left vulnerable to freezing or corrosion. Using water muffs, flush your engine until it reaches the ideal operating temperature specific to your boat’s make and model. You’ll also want to do you best to clean the engine components of dust and debris.

After that, one of the best tools you have to winterize your engine is a fogging spray. When applied to the engine’s powerhead and rubber components, this type of product layers a defensive compound on top of your engine that protects against harmful rust and corrosion.

Aside from the fogging spray, you’ll also want to make sure you’re armed with engine grease. All parts of your boat’s engine should be greased in preparation for winter, including all pivot points, seals, and the prop shaft. Then be sure to replace your oil filter, we should be replaced at least once per year.

When you’re completely finished with the boat winterization process, your engine should then be covered with a tarp or canvas sheet for the winter.

Winterizing the Fuel Tank

driver's seat in boat

Your fuel tank is extremely vulnerable to winter conditions. To start, you’ll want to make sure you’ve used up all (or nearly all) of the fuel on your last boat trip of the season, and drain it of any leftover water. Then it’s time to refill your engine with oil and prep it for winter, starting with running your engine and flushing it out.

When refilling your boat engine with fuel, be sure to make sure it’s ethanol-free, and not quite filled to the top. It’s important to leave a little room in the tank in case the fuel expands during the winter. As you’re filling your tank, you’ll also want to add in some type of fuel-stabilizer while following the brand-specific guidelines. Having your tank full (almost) will eliminate excess air in the tank and eradicate the opportunity for condensation to form.

Once the fresh fuel is in, you’ll be safe from acid build-up, and the fuel will be nicely stabilized for your first ride of the new boating season. Adding a fuel stabilizer to your fuel tank is extra important if your boat has a carburetor instead of fuel injection, because untreated fuel left in a carburetor can oxidize quickly and cause problems down the road. Just make sure to run your boat for a while to distribute the fuel before you store it for the winter.

Flush, Drain & Refill Fluids

aerial view of boat on water

Similar to your fuel tank, your engine cooling system, plumbing system, and any other system holding water needs to be winterized to prevent freezing, expanding water, rust and corrosion. First flush your systems, then ensure everything has been completely drained. After everything has been drained, your fluid should be replenished to normal levels. That includes oil, coolant, steering fluid, transmission fluid, and outdrive oil.

To address your water system, you’ll also want to flush it filling the tank with clean water, opening all the taps, and pumping the fresh water through the system until the tanks are drained and the anti-freeze is removed. After that, it doesn’t hurt to mix some bleach to a gallon of water (about an eighth of a cup of bleach for each 10 gallons in the system), mix it and pour it in. But if your boat has aluminum water tanks, you’ll want to go with a non-chlorine sanitizing product and flush the water through repetitively until you don’t smell any chlorine. Once the flushing of the water system is complete, re-fill the tank with clean water and you’re good to do.

Pre-Winter Cleaning

yacht on the water

Once the vital components of your boat have been prepped for winter, it’s time to give your boat a clean to finish the season. The boat cleaning phase is for aesthetics, but it can also prevent headaches down the road. Doing a proper clean, wax and waterproofing will prevent dirt and buildup to make spring painting easier and prevent long-term damage to the hull.

Dirt, stains and other build-up will only worsen if you leave them during the winter. A pressure washing along with an acid-based hull cleaner will not only deal with dirt and grime but barnacles and other marine life.

When you’re finished cleaning, it’s time to apply a fresh layer of waterproofing and a coat of wax to the exposed fiberglass some extra protection.

Prep for Storage

Once your boat has been full winterized, it’s time to find a safe place for boat storage to complete the process. To start, you’ll need a durable boat cover like a canvas sheet or even a waterproof tarp. When the boat is covered, you’re ready to store your boat for the winter. The main goal is to shield your boat from moisture and precipitation, so a dry storage situation will be best while you wait for the Spring.

 

If you’re ready to store your boat for the season, contact us today to inquire. Although our crew does not winterize boats, we are able to recommend a variety of specialized trades who regularly work in our yard and would be happy to take care of the winterization process for you.

view of Victoria and harbour

Things to Do in Victoria, British Columbia: The Boat Traveler’s Guide

view of Victoria and harbour

Located at the southern tip of Vancouver Island just off Canada’s west coast is the charming city of Victoria. With a population just under 400,000, Victoria is a smaller city with a very small (and walkable) downtown core that attracts nearly 4 million tourists per year. But why in Victoria?

Why Victoria?

Victoria is an especially desirable destination for nearby boat travelers, who can make the relatively easy trip from the United States or mainland BC, find a boat marina, and explore the city on foot. There’s also a cruise ship port that empties thousands of visitors everyday (during the warmer months) into the downtown core.

flowers in bloom and architecture in Victoria

One reason why Victoria is able to attract so many visitors is its alluring British colonial past and visually appealing façade, complete with old architecture, countless gardens, character homes and stunning harbour. And when you factor in the city’s very dense selection of restaurants, bars and attractions all within walking distance, it’s easy to see why people love visiting Victoria.

Another reason why people flock to Victoria is its unique climate. If you’re unfamiliar with Victoria weather, you might expect cold temperatures and snow, like typical Canadian cities. But Victoria, along with other destinations on the southwestern coast of Canada, enjoy a pleasantly mild climate. That means tolerable winters with minimal snow and temperatures that hardly ever drop below -5 degrees, and summers that are equally mild, rarely seeing heatwaves hotter than 30 degrees.

Victoria is also a quite deal drier than other destinations, like our not-so-far away neighbour, Vancouver. Despite being just around 100km apart from each other, Victoria’s yearly rainfall of 58cm dwarfs the yearly total of 146cm over in the big city.
So you’ve decided to make the trip to Victoria. What is there to do? In this article, we’ll be your personal guide to the city, detailing everything from the best restaurants to hotels to must-see attractions.

Mooring

Van Isle Marina bird's eye view

If you’ve arrived in Victoria by boat, the first thing you’ll need to arrange for is mooring. At Van Isle Marina located in Sidney, about a 30-minute drive from downtown Victoria, we offer moorage on a nightly, monthly and annual basis. We can store boats up to 200-feet in our 500 open and covered berths.

But aside from just a place to leave your boat while you set off exploring, you’ll probably be looking for a place that can provide other services. At Van Isle, we can haul your boat out for repairs, new paint or other maintenance. We also have a full-service fuel dock, a yacht park full of boats for sale, and the Sea Glass Waterfront Grill.

Transportation

double-decker bus in Victoria

Transportation is an important factor to consider before you arrive in Victoria, because there is no high-speed or underground transit system. If you’re getting here by water, you’re probably arriving at the BC Ferries Swartz Bay Terminal, or at a marina like Van Isle. Both the ferry terminal and the marina are very near each other – about a 30-minute drive or a 45-minute bus ride from downtown Victoria. If you choose to hire a taxi or Uber, expect to pay more than $100. The bus on the other hand will take slightly longer, but will only cost $2.50 and will drop you directly downtown. If you’re arriving from the airport, expect about the same since its located near the ferry terminal.

If you’re arriving by cruise ship, you’ll be faced with a roughly 25-minute walk to reach the downtown core. There should be a number of shuttles taking you to and from, but if the weather’s nice, you can also take a more exciting and scenic rickshaw cab.

If you’re arriving from Port Angeles or Seattle, you will be whisked straight to Victoria’s Inner Harbour – right in the middle of the action. From here, you can remain 100% on foot, and as long as you don’t plan on leaving downtown, you’ll never need a car, bus or taxi.

The downtown core of Victoria is rather small and extremely walkable. But if you want to explore the Breakwater, Beacon Hill Park and other attractions that are still in town but a little far on foot, consider hopping on a bus, hiring an Uber, or catching a rickshaw or taxi.

Accommodation

Empress Hotel in Victoria

If you’re hoping to stay near the major attractions in Victoria, there are plenty of hotels in the downtown core and James Bay neighbourhood. Many will offer stunning view of the Inner Harbour, plus walking distance proximity to all the best restaurants, shopping, and attractions.
The Fairmont Empress is one of Victoria’s most iconic buildings, sitting right at the edge of the Inner Harbour. Named after Queen Victoria, this massive hotel was constructed beginning in 1904, and remains one of the most popular hotels on Vancouver Island.

Near the Empress in the downtown core, you’ll find a variety of smaller hotels that put you right in the middle of the action for shopping, restaurants and bars. Try Hotel Rialto, Chateau Victoria or the Victoria Regent Waterfront Hotel. If you move south towards the Parliament Buildings and other major attractions on the border of James Bay and Downtown, you’ll find much larger hotels like the Hotel Grand Pacific and the Inn at Laurel Point.

If a vacation rental is more your speed, there are variety of apartment units on Airbnb that are available as private rooms in shared homes or entire homes.

Restaurants

inside of restaurant in Victoria

Victoria is home to the highest number of restaurants per capita in all of Canada, so you’ll be sure to find something to your taste. From ramen bars to upscale Italian restaurants and sushi spots, there’s really something for everyone. If you prefer staying near the marina and ferry terminal in Sidney, try the Sea Glass Waterfront Grill. With incredible marina views, they’ve got full dinner, dessert and lunch menus with plenty of seafood.

If you’re looking for the best of the best in downtown Victoria, there are a few notable options you need to check out. Pagliacci’s is a Victoria favourite known for Italian dishes, fun décor & live music. Il Terrazzo is a level fancier with brick fireplaces and an expansive wine list. Finn’s is another awesome spot that backs onto the harbour with a large patio, specializing in seafood, steaks & classic cocktails.

If you’re looking for something a little more casual in town, Red Fish Blue Fish is a great spot down on the harbour serving dockside seafood, but only open during the warmer months. 10 Acres Commons and Bistro is another cozy spot near the harbour, split into two parts – Commons for the waterfront patio and full cocktail menu, and Bistro for farm-to-fork meals. If you’re looking for Asian cuisine, try Ghost Ramen for some terrific ramen or Gozen Sushi Bar for some of the best sushi.

Bars

inside of a bar in Victoria

Despite its small size, Victoria is home to an incredible bar scene. If you’re in the mood for wine, try the new Tourist Wine Bar for a selection of local and imported wine, or Bodega for some delicious Spanish wine and tapas. Wind Cries Mary is another spot to venture for more upscale vibes, where you’ll find a huge wine list, romantic patio and fancy cocktails.

If you’re on the hunt for a cocktail bar, there are dozens of great options offering everything from quaint and cozy vibes to a more rustic atmosphere to trendy and upscale. Little Jumbo is a cozy but chill cocktail bar with an elevated cocktail menu. Tora Tiki is a retro-style bar with exotic cocktails and surf music. And if you want some views of the city, try Vista 18 on the 18th floor of the Chateau hotel.

Attractions

view of Butchart Gardens in Brentwood Bay

Victoria has plenty or popular tourist attractions that are all reachable on foot, clustered around the downtown core and James Bay neighbourhoods. But if you want to get out more and tour the Victoria streets filled with character homes and gardens, try one of the double-decker tour buses.

One of the main attractions in Victoria is the Inner Harbour. One of the most beautiful in the world, the Victoria Inner Harbour is packed with recreational vessels, ferries, whale watching boats and small cruise ships, and is surrounded by other attractions, restaurants and bars. It’s also the place to be in the summer months for festivals, live music and sunset viewing.

The harbour is flanked by two of Victoria’s most iconic architectural landmarks and tourist attractions – the Empress Hotel and BC Parliament Buildings. The Royal BC Museum is also right there in the harbour, the sprawling Beacon Hill Park is 15-minute walk away.

Another major attraction that will require a car or bus to get to the is Butchart Gardens. Located in Brentwood Bay, this National Historic Site of Canada receives nearly a million visitors. There are roughly 5 hectares of gardens, which makes for a truly beautiful walk. The summer is the best time for checking out the gardens, but during the holiday season the gardens transform into a must-see winter wonderland.

If you want to check out more of Victoria’s charming colonial flavour closer to town, stop by the Craigdarroch Castle, a beautifully restored National Historic Site leftover from the Victorian-era. There’s also the stunning Carr House for art and literature enthusiasts, and the Pendray Inn and Tea House.

Victoria’s Chinatown is another must-see, located right in the middle of downtown. The colourful streets are lined with Chinese grocery stores and restaurants plus trendy coffee shops and shops. And be sure to take a stroll down the famous Fan Tan Alley, the narrowest commercial street in North America that’s packed with artisan shops.

Coffee

inside of coffee shop in Victoria

The city of Victoria is no slouch when it comes to coffee shops. There are seemingly countless places to find a good cup of coffee or fancy latte. In the downtown core, some of the most popular are Discovery Coffee, with yellow branding, three locations and incredible locally-made pastries, and Habit Coffee, a cozy spot for a meeting with excellent coffee.

For a more historic spot to get your morning joe, try Murchie’s Tea and Coffee. Located right on Government Street in the main tourist zone, this spot is over 100 years old and is stocked with cakes, sandwiches and other treats.

Further down Government Street by the harbour is another fantastic spot called Milano. This trendy shop has an Italian feel with west coast design features, and is known for amazing espresso. Here you can sit along the windows or on the patio and take in all the action of Victoria’s busiest walking street.

Entertainment

inside of performance theatre in Victoria

As a centre of culture, arts and music, Victoria has plenty of venues and things to do that will keep you entertained no matter how long your stay is. The Royal Theatre and MacPherson Playhouse are two of the busiest venues for musical performances, comedy shows and plays. The nearby Belfry Theatre in Fernwood is another excellent place to catch a live performance.

For live music, there are bars and special venues that provide nightly entertainment. Darcy’s Pub, Hermann’s Jazz Club, The Duke Saloon and Bard & Banker are some of the best bars to enjoy live music. To catch live shows from touring artists, check out what’s playing at the Capital Ballroom, the Alix Goolden Performance Hall or the Victoria Event Centre.

If you’re looking for something a little outdoorsy, Victoria has plenty to offer with mountains, hiking trails, rivers and lakes a short car ride away. But if you’re new in town and would rather stay downtown, the whale watching tours leaving from the Inner Harbour are bucket list-quality.

 

If you’re thinking about visiting Victoria by boat, Van Isle Marina is your one-stop-shop. We’ve got places to moor, and can provide full maintenance services for boat owners. We’ve also got a restaurant, haul-out services, and everything a boat owner could need. Contact us today to inquire.

maintenance being done

Essential Off-Season Haul-Out Services for Your Boat

yacht park haul outs

Summer is for spending as much time as possible on the water. But when your island-hopping excursions and weekend fishing trips are wrapped up for the season, it’s time to get started on critical boat maintenance and upkeep.

The fall and winter seasons are the ideal time to take care of your boat and show it some love by getting everything taken care of in preparation for next summer. At Van Isle Marina, you will have access to a full assortment of haul-out maintenance services to keep your boat in peak condition and looking fantastic. In this article, we’re going to break down each of those essential services.

Battery Servicing

boat sailing on water

When you’re ready to haul your boat out for the season, the battery is one of the first things that will need to be looked at. After all, without a proper functioning battery, you aren’t going to have a great time out on the water. If you properly maintain your battery, you can expect 4 or 5 full seasons of boating without needing to replace it.

One of the main problems we often encounter with batteries is components coming out of place due to the vibrations and movement of your boat. Battery cables can come loose and cause engine failure, plus the nuts holding down the battery can come ajar. We don’t service batteries directly here at Van Isle Marina, but we’re a hub for many different skilled trades with various specializations (including batteries), so we’d be happy to refer you to a specialist located on site.

Fuel Systems Maintenance

fuel station

Your fuel systems are another area that need attention to ensure your boat runs smoothly all season long. Plus, of course, the type of fuel you put in your boat makes a difference. Fuel blended with ethanol can cause all sorts of problems, such as erosion of plastic, rubber and metal. It can also cause your engine to run too hot and exhaust the valves.

At Van Isle, we offer both diesel and ethanol-free premium gasoline, with a variety of other fuel additives available for sale in our fuel dock store. While we don’t service engines ourselves, we’d be happy to refer you to an on-site team that specializes in engine maintenance.

Power Washing

storage facilities

Power washing is essential maintenance for any type of boat that’s been on the water. Regular service can help your boat look sparkly clean, but power washing does far more than help your boat aesthetically.

Out on the water, your boat is exposed to plenty of harmful elements that can cause damage if left untreated, such as oxidation, humidity, bird droppings and even just the salt in the water. Plus, if you’re travelling in certain areas, your boat can also be exposed to hard water, acid rain and smog. Microplastics in the water are also known to breed parasites which can affect not only people and fish, but your boat too.

When you’re finished with your annual boating season, head to Van Isle Marina to get your boat fully cleaned and detoxed. When power washing a boat, we focus on the hull to scrub away marine growth build up. We can also detail other areas of your boat, or refer you to an on-site boat detailing specialist.

Bottom Painting

boat hauled out

A fresh coat of paint for your boat is great off-season maintenance to tick off your checklist. Not only will your boat look excellent with a new coat, marine paints such as epoxy, enamel, and anti-fouling can also provide another layer of protection.

That’s because marine paint isn’t like any other paint you’d use around the house – it’s designed to withstand the harsh conditions out in the ocean. If you use the right paint, it’s actually resistant to both water and salt, which means you’ll be able to defend against high levels of moisture, corrosive environments and even UV radiation. Marine paint is similar to sunscreen for our skin. By protecting against all of these elements, you can dramatically increase the integrity of your boat and its lifespan.

The main purpose for using anti-fouling paint is that it slows the growth of marine organisms from growing on the surface of your boat, while also facilitating the detachment of marine life when the boat starts moving.

Contact our marina maintenance experts when you come to get your boat serviced. Stop by Van Isle Marina and we’d be happy to apply a new coat of paint and replace the zincs on your boat.

Dry Storage

view of Van Isle Marina

When your boat has been treated to its full maintenance routine for the season, you’re going to want a secure space to store your boat until you’re ready to use it again. As opposed to leaving it in a driveway or parking lot, a storage facility for your boat like the one at Van Isle Marina is far more preferable. Our area is fenced, complete with a security system, and it is monitored by cameras to ensure boat owners have peace of mind when their boat is stored. Check out our full list of dry storage features.

At Van Isle Marina, we can accommodate trailers with unlimited ramp access, plus all boats up to 70 feet in length. Our dry storage prices vary per foot. Depending on the amount of time you need storage for we can offer monthly rates, and special rates & packages for annual storage customers. Contact us today to learn more about our dry storage facility and all other essential haul-out maintenance services for your boat.

OS35 model cruising with passengers in the back

5 Reasons to Consider Buying a Pursuit Offshore Boat

Life in coastal British Columbia is nothing short of spectacular. From the appealing mild weather to the stunning BC scenery dotted with quaint islands, lush forests and towering mountain ranges, we’ve got plenty to explore. But in order to fully take advantage of everything this beautiful province has to offer, you’re going to need a boat – and not just any boat.

Pursuit’s line of offshore boats are perfectly designed for exploring the coast of BC and its surroundings. Their award-winning offshore boats are designed with comfort top of mind. Completely safe in the open ocean, these boats will allow you to live, work and relax for extended periods of time, both securely and enjoyably.

In this article, we’re going to highlight some of the key reasons to consider buying a Pursuit boat for your weekend fishing trips, romantic island getaways, family day trips and everything in between.

Comfortable for Long Trips

view of the rear seats from the back

One of the biggest selling points for Pursuit’s line of offshore boats is the comfort level, meticulously designed and built for weeks long and even months long trips. Ranging from 32 feet – 46 feet, the offshore line provides true live-aboard space for you and your passengers.

In each model, you’ll find berths in either the forward or aft sections (or both), which will allow 2-4 people to sleep comfortably. You’ll also find a fully functional galley complete with maple cabinets, a glass cooktop, microwave and stainless-steel refrigerator, along with an enclosed head with a stand-up shower.

But aside from the galley and head, which will provide you the functionality of home, Pursuit’s offshore boats also come standard with various entertainment options, from the JL Audio System to LED TVs.

Everything from the complete functionality down to the specially crafted upholstery will ensure you’re truly equipped for long, comfortable trips in a Pursuit offshore boat.

Fishing Capabilities

fishing with a rod

If you’re passionate about fishing or curious about diving into the hobby, coastal BC is an excellent place to be. And with a Pursuit offshore boat, you’ll have all the capability you’ll need. Like all Pursuit models, the offshore line comes standard with plenty of rod holders, live wells, fish boxes, tackle storage and cabin rod storage space. To learn more, check the specifications that are available with each Pursuit offshore model.

Along with specific features designed for fishing, there are other aspects of the Pursuit offshore models that make them ideal for fishing. Standard in every model is an anchoring system, bow thruster and dedicated transducer location. There are also safety features built in that can go a long way when fishing, such as grab rails and anti-slip cockpit flooring.

Beauty in the Details

dining area in cabin

The Pursuit offshore series are highly functional boats designed for fishing and longer trips with family and friends. But that doesn’t mean that anything has been sacrificed when it comes to style and design. Front to back and top to bottom, the offshore series is beautifully designed and meticulously crafted.

Every model features a hand-laminated hull and moulded frameless tempered glass windows. When you custom order a Pursuit boat, you’ll have your choice of hull, helm, boot stripe and interior colour packages. And when you head down into the cabin, you’ll notice no detail has been left out. From the stainless steel and countertops to the upholstery to the luxurious head, the Pursuit offshore line exemplifies beauty in the details.

Purpose Built & Protected

control panel and front seat

For decades, Pursuit has been committed to designing and building high quality offshore boats. Whether you’re buying an offshore boat or a model from one of their other lines like Dual Console, Centre Console or Sport, they like to say every Pursuit Boat is ‘purpose-built’.

While the term ‘purpose-built’ is usually applied to necessity, Pursuit boats are built with a very different purpose in mind – for romantic weekend getaways, beach days with the family and fishing expeditions with your friends. The purpose is bliss. And it’s evident in every stitch, fixture and surface.

But you don’t have to take our word for it. Pursuit is willing to put their money where their mouth is with the Pursuit Protection Plan. Regardless of which model you end up purchasing, each Pursuit boat comes standard with:

  • 5-year hull/deck structural warranty
  • 5-year blister-free warranty
  • 2-year limited warranty

As a new Pursuit boat owner, the Pursuit Protection Plan goes a long way in providing you with real peace of mind. After all, it’s a big investment. And you can rest easy knowing the manufacturer has your back.

Availability

OS325 model cruising side view

Pictured: OS325 model

Along with being one of the largest full-service marinas in the province, Van Isle Marina is proud to be the exclusive dealer of Pursuit Boats in Western Canada. So if you’re looking to purchase a Pursuit yacht, you’re in the right place. At our docks right now, we have a selection of both the OS325 and OS355 models.

The OS325 model is the smallest model in the offshore collection at 34 feet, but it is every bit of stylish and will comfortably sleep two guests. You’ll still find the hardwood, sleek stainless steel and LED TV. It’s got twin Yamaha F300 engines that give you cruising speeds of 30 mph and a fuel tank capacity of 370 gallons.

The OS355 model is the midsize offshore model at 38 feet, powered by triple Yamaha engines for an extra kick. This model sleeps four with a little more seating and storage, and a larger galley, TV and live well.

When it comes time to actually purchase your new boat, Van Isle Marina can provide some real peace of mind. Apart from our highly experienced Yacht Sales team, we offer the full collection of vessel documentation services, including:

  • Title & Lien Search
  • Closing Statement
  • Transfer of Funds
  • Bill of Sale
  • License Transfer
  • Casual Remittance Return Form

To browse our collection of Pursuit offshore boats, come visit our docks at Van Isle Marina. Located at 2320 Harbour Road in Sidney (Google Maps), in Tsehum Harbour, our marina is just minutes away from the BC Ferries Swartz Bay terminal and the Victoria International Airport. Reach us by phone at 250-656-1138 or contact us today!

Exploring Vancouver Island by Boat: From Van Isle Marina to Northern Vancouver Island

Best Places to See When Exploring Vancouver Island

 

Exploring Vancouver Island’s lush rainforests and beautiful beaches is a boater’s dream. Starting at Van Isle Marina on your map of Vancouver Island, BC, this guide to sailing Vancouver Island will highlight the best places to visit along the east coast culminating in northern Vancouver Island at the tip of Cape Scott Provincial Park.

 

No car, no problem. This guide to locations and activities has been carefully crafted with a boater in mind to be only a short paddle, walk or bike ride away. So, pull out your Vancouver Island map and follow along to chart your course of charming and unique destinations along Vancouver Island’s eastern coast. An adventure awaits.

8 Stop Worthy Spots from Van Isle Marina to Campbell River

Starting at Van Isle Marina on the tip of the Saanich Peninsula and heading north through the Southern Gulf Islands, you will find many interesting small towns to explore as well as stunning, wildlife-filled coastlines. Some recommended stops include:

While at Van Isle Marina – Borrow a courtesy bicycle for a quick ride to an outdoor activity that will appeal to everyone – Robert’s Bay Shoal Harbour Migratory Bird Sanctuary (750 m). Victoria Distillers (3 km) provides a taste of something local, while Glass Beach (3 km) will keep the treasure hunter occupied.

 

Explore the Float Homes at Cowichan Bay Village – Enjoy the slow pace as you wander the float-home lined bay, browse for unique trinkets and enjoy the fish & chips at The Rock Cod in North America’s first Cittaslow designated community.

 

Shop Salt Spring Island’s Farmers Market  Stock up on fresh local produce, mouth-watering baking, one-of-a-kind clothing, and internationally acclaimed art from one of the many friendly artisans at this famous Saturday market. Doggy daycare is available too.

 

Discover all the Murals in Chemainus – With over fifty murals and sculptures to guide you through the town of Chemainus, this community-driven art tourism experience provides a new twist on a walk around town.

 

Bite Into an Award-Winning Cinnamon Bun in Ladysmith – Take a short walk for a sweet treat. With nine cinnamon bun flavours to choose from and a host of house-made baked goods, there’s something to suit everyone at Old Town Bakery.

 

Bike Around Saysutshun (Newcastle Island) – This Marine Provincial Park, home of the Snuneymuxw people, is a stone’s throw away from Nanaimo. Rent a bike or walk the many hiking trails to see if you can find an elusive white raccoon foraging through a tidal pool. Saysutshun is one of the only known locations white raccoons have been encountered in British Columbia. Look for moon snails at low tides as you walk to Protection Island.

Explore the Malaspina Galleries on Gabriola Island – This unusual wavelike formation carved into the sandstone peninsula is an awe-inspiring landmark worth exploring. Best visited at low tide, the Malaspina Galleries are admission free and accessible to the public.

 

Shuck a Huge Fanny Bay Oyster – On your way to discovering the coastal trails on Denman Island and Hornby Island, anchor and visit the Fanny Bay seafood shop and get your hands dirty. Create your own tide-to-table experience with their fresh and sustainably sourced seafood and slurp-worthy oysters.

7 Adventures from Campbell River to Cape Sutil

Continuing the journey to northern Vancouver Island, travel through wildlife-rich waters where the island meets the mainland. Keep your eyes peeled for orcas, whales, sea lions, bald eagles and a plethora of other sea life while enjoying your journey between these recommended locations:

 

Sail Around Quadra Island – If sailing Vancouver Island’s iconic locations is on your bucket list, Quadra Island is the perfect destination. Renowned in the Pacific Northwest for its protected anchorages and accessible beaches, the island’s late-summer placid water is ideal for cruising. Weather systems at any time of the year make for exciting sailing in Quadra’s many open channels.

Whale Watch at Robson Bight – The barnacle-encrusted rocks of Robson Bight attract pods of orcas to this stretch of Johnstone Strait. Unfortunately, the ecological reserve is closed to the public. However, nearby Boat Bay or Growler Cove on West Cracroft Island make excellent whale-watching anchorages. Help keep these magnificent mammals safe by following the Federal Watching Guidelines.

 

Rent a Cottage at Telegraph Cove – One of eastern Vancouver Islands’ last boardwalk communities, Telegraph Cove, transports you to another time. Steeped in history, this colourful community of cabins still stands on stilts. Treat yourself to a night off your boat at one of the many charming rentals and enjoy the self-guided historical boardwalk tour. This convenient location provides access to paddling opportunities, outdoor adventures, and abundant Pacific marine wildlife in the Broughton Archipelago and Johnstone Strait.

 

Immerse Yourself in Culture at Alert Bay – Be sure to spend a Saturday on Cormorant Island to enjoy the T’sasala Cultural Group Dance Performance in the ‘Namgis Traditional Big House (July & August). While you’re here, marvel at the world’s tallest Totem Pole and immerse yourself in the rich history of the local people at the U’mista Cultural Centre.

 

Take a Wander Around Port McNeill – Take a break from exploring the Broughton Archipelago in Port McNeill – home to the world’s largest burl. Stroll the seawall and carry on downtown to Broughton Boulevard to view this thirty-ton bulbous growth taken from a Sitka Spruce.

 

Meet the Locals in Port Hardy – The Totems and Big Houses that stand tall amongst the towering Douglas Fir trees in Port Hardy connect you to the story of the Quatsino and Gwa’sala’ Nakwaxda’xw peoples. Grab a coffee at Café Guido and meander through the Hardy Bay Seawall and Carrot Park, wonderful places to chat with locals.

 

Plan an Adventure at Cape Scott Provincial Park – If you want to get out and stretch your legs after cruising the entire east coast of the island, the North Coast Trail provides a challenging multi-day adventure for experienced backpackers. The sea stacks at San Josef Bay and sandy beaches are a stunning stop-off for those more interested in a day trip. Find anchorage at Bull Harbour on Hope Island to prepare for your west coast adventure and ready yourself to round the cape if you’re circumnavigating the island.

 

Van Isle Marina – Excellence and Value in Every Marina Experience

Whichever locations you choose to explore on Vancouver Island, be sure to stop at the premier marina in the Pacific Northwest, Van Isle Marina. As one of the largest full-service marinas in British Columbia, our unparalleled personal service will meet all your needs. Let us know how Van Isle Marina can help you plan your trip sailing Vancouver Island.

 

We are located in Tsehum Harbour, just minutes from BC Ferries’ Swartz Bay terminal, and the Victoria International Airport. Directions by car, boat, coordinates and chart can all be found at vanislemarina.com.

 

broken group islands

Journey to the Broken Group Islands: Your Guide to Boating and Exploring This Stunning Destination

The Broken Group Islands: A Boater’s Paradise

Scattered at the mouth of Barkley Sound, between Ucluelet and Bamfield, the Broken Group Islands welcome travellers with stunning vistas and an incredible array of wildlife.

Consisting of over 100 islands, islets and rocky outcrops just begging to be explored, the Broken Islands Group offers adventures for boaters and landlubbers alike.

The Broken Islands form part of the traditional territories of the Tseshaht and Hupacasath First Nations, the Toquaht Nation and the Uchucklesahtbroken islands Tribe, each of whom has treaty rights involving the Pacific Rim Park National Reserve.

Benson Island is considered to be the birthplace of the Tseshaht First Nation and is believed to have been consistently occupied for at least 5,000 years. Honouring the cultural history of the island, the Tseshaht house post welcomes visitors to what was once the cultural center of the Tseshaht.

Whether you prefer to skim along the water in a kayak, take in the natural beauty from your sailboat, explore any of the many rocky beaches, or soak in the rich cultural history, a trip to the Broken Islands is one you’re sure to remember.

Read on for everything you need to know to plan a journey from Van Isle Marina to the Broken Islands Group.

Getting To the Broken Islands

While the Broken Islands Group are a part of the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve, they are naturally only accessible by boat.

If getting there by kayak is to your taste, you’ll find a convenient launch at Secret Beach Campground and Kayak Launch, which is about a 45-minute drive east of Ucluelet.

If you wish to explore by yacht, there are several marinas to launch from in both Ucluelet and Bamfield, but remember that none of the islands have docks, so you will need to be familiar with off-shore anchoring techniques.

A great way to combine travelling with sightseeing is by equipping your larger craft with a kayak or canoe. That way, you have the freedom to spend your time in the Broken Islands kayaking from island to island, exploring the shorelines and even pulling onto beaches for a while.

Tip: Research the area before you arrive and utilize a detailed Broken Islands map to plan mooring and exploring locations.

Note: If you’re hoping to launch from your Sidney, BC, Van Isle Marina base to travel up to Barkley Sound, you will need to plan for a trip consisting of several adventure-filled days. 

Camping in The Broken Group Islands

As part of the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve, camping in the Broken Islands is a great travel choice for outdoor adventure enthusiasts. broken islands kayaking

Campgrounds can be found on the following islands:

  • Gilbert
  • Hand
  • Turret
  • Gibraltar
  • Clarke
  • Dodd
  • Willis

Parks Canada insists that all camping be confined to these designated areas. While there are basic facilities, such as solar composting outhouses, you will need to bring your own water supply and take your garbage with you.

The Tseshaht Nation works with Parks Canada to share the beauty and history of their traditional territory with the public with initiatives like the Beach Keeper program. Continuing a cultural history of land stewardship, volunteer Beach Keepers are onsite to welcome campers and adventurers, as well as provide safety information and advice.

Note: Campers heading to the Broken Islands for their getaway will need to make sure they have a Backcountry Camping Permit in addition to a National Park Entry Pass, both of which can be obtained through the National Park’s online reservation system.

Tips for Camping on the Broken Islands

Since the campgrounds in the Broken Islands Group are nestled in the wilderness and offer only basic amenities, there are a few things you should bear in mind when planning to camp there:

  • Bring biodegradable soap
  • Hang tarps with rope, not nails
  • Make sure to store food and garbage safely away from wildlife
  • Dogs are not allowed unless they are service dogs
  • Pack out what you bring in

Broken Island Wildlife

The natural land and seascapes created by the Broken Group Islands are second to none, but the diverse wildlife is where the Broken Islands truly shine. Boaters and campers alike can spot grey whales, humpback whales, transient orca, mink, bald eagles, seals and sea lions, otters, and morebroken islands group shorebirds than anyone can count.

Scuba divers will be treated to a spectacular array of anemones, fish, crabs and sea stars as they explore the ocean floor. Also, while they might not be typical, cougars, wolves and bears are sometimes spotted.

Staying Safe Around the Broken Islands

The most important thing to remember when you visit the Broken Group Islands is that you are in a wilderness area that is subject to nature and fast weather changes.

With that in mind, there are a few safety tips to consider when planning your trip to the Broken Islands:

  • Use a cooking stove instead of cooking over a fire
  • Keep all fires below the high tideline
  • Keep all food and garbage safely stored
  • Check your campsite for dangerous trees before you set up
  • The Imperial Eagle and Loudoun Channels are prone to strong winds, making these difficult to travel by kayak or other small vessels
  • If the waters are rough, you should pull into the nearest campground instead of the one you planned on
  • Barkley Sound faces the open ocean, so it is prone to harsh ocean conditions, which can mean large swells, rough winds and strong currents
  • The Broken Group Islands are a maze of reefs, islets, islands, and submerged rocks, so navigation can be difficult. Carry a Broken Islands map and navigational tools such as a compass when on the water.
  • Be aware of other marine traffic in your area
  • As with any outdoor adventuring, exposure to the elements is a concern. Make sure you check the weather forecast for the area and bring appropriate clothing.
  • You are sharing space with wildlife, some of which include cougars, bears and wolves. Be mindful of your surroundings.

With a bit of preparation and a healthy dose of caution, you can enjoy an outdoor adventure in a truly stunning setting and return home with memories to last a lifetime.

Planning Your Broken Islands Journey from Van Isle Marina

At Van Isle Marina, our yacht sales team can help you find the perfect boat for your planned adventures.

Talk to one of our crew members onsite, or contact us today for assistance.

bc fishing regulations

BC Fishing Regulations: 6 Things You Need to Know Before Saltwater Fishing

BC Fishing Regulations

A Complete Overview of BC Fishing Regulations on the Ocean

The west coast of Canada is a fishing enthusiast’s paradise, and we all want to keep it that way. That’s why BC fishing regulations are designed to ensure that the resident species can be fished without being depleted too quickly. 

While fishing regulations may seem inconvenient to some, they act as on-paper stewardship for the marine ecosystem, ensuring fish populations remain strong for generations to come.

Read on to learn 6 things you should know before saltwater fishing on the west coast, including the saltwater fishing regulations BC enforces, licensing rules and the types of fish found in British Columbia’s coastal waters.

6 Things to Know About Saltwater Fishing in BC 

Even frequent anglers can’t be expected to remember all the fishing regulations for British Columbia. So, it’s always good to refresh your knowledge before going out on a fishing trip, especially for a species with which you are less familiar. 

As a starting point, here are five things you should know about before saltwater fishing in BC.

1. BC Saltwater Fish Species

BC’s coastal waters are home to a wide variety of saltwater fish species, including some considered “anadromous,” meaning that they spend part of their lifecycle in the ocean and in freshwater. saltwater fishing regulations

While fishing species like halibut, ling cod, albacore tuna and any of the 5 types of salmon are among the most popular to fish, there are many species that anglers are likely to come into contact with in the oceans off BC’s west coast.

This Department of Fisheries and Oceans fish identifier list for the Pacific region details the fish found in the area and how to identify them.

2. Fishing Licensing Rules in BC

By law, anyone who wishes to go fishing in British Columbia must have the correct license. To catch any species of shellfish or finfish, you will need a BC Tidal Waters Sport Fishing License. 

It is useful to know the following regulations connected to the use of a BC Tidal Waters Sport Fishing license:

  • The license is not transferable.
  • The license must be carried when fishing and produced on request by conservation officers, fishery officers or guardians. 
  • All retained halibut and chinook caught in a Management Area must be recorded on the license.
  • All retained ling cod caught in waters off the eastern coast and southern tip of Vancouver Island (Management areas 12-19 plus 20-5 to 20-7, and 29-5) must be recorded on the license.
  • BC salmon fishing regulations state that anyone intending to catch and retain any species of Salmon must have a Salmon Conservation Stamp in addition to their BC Tidal Waters Sport Fishing License. However, the stamp is optional if the angler intends to release all Salmon caught.

3. License Types and Fees

There are various saltwater fishing license options available depending on how often you plan to go ocean fishing. You must choose a non-resident license if you are not a resident of Canada. 

You can find details of the types of licenses available, their associated fee and an online license application here.

Note: Although children under 16 require a tidal water fishing license, it is free.

4. Saltwater Fishing Gear Restrictions

Since saltwater fishing often goes beyond the simple fishing rod and hook gear selection, there are regulations in place to specify and restrict how much and what kind of gear may be used in catching saltwater fish.

Looking for a new fishing boat? Read more about the best boats for fishing.
fishing regulations

Below is a quick breakdown of the restrictions and allowances surrounding using particular gear.

General

  • Gear restrictions and allowances are subject to change mid-season.
  • You can use multiple rods in coastal tidal waters, but only one rod is allowed when fishing in BC’s tidal rivers.
  • You may not use a sinker weighing more than 1 kg unless you use a downrigger line. In this case, the fishing line must be attached to the downrigger with a release clip.
  • A gillnet for smelt fishing may be at most 7.5 meters, with a mesh size between 25 mm and 50 mm.
  • Only one gillnet may be used at one time and must have a buoy with the owner’s details clearly marked on it.
  • If you use a dipnet to catch mackerel, smelt, sand lance, sardines or anchovies, it must measure at most 90 cm, with a bag no longer than 1.5 times that measurement.

Hooks

  • Barbed hooks, including triple-barbed hooks, may be used for all finfish except salmon and trout.
  • Barbless hooks must be used when fishing in the tidal waters of BC rivers.
  • Your line may only have one hook except for:
    • Multiple hooks may attach a piece of bait to the line, provided they aren’t intended to catch more than one fish.
    • Multiple hooks may catch mackerel, herring, anchovy, Pacific Sand Lance or Pacific Sardine.

Using Fish as Bait

  • Fish suitable for human consumption may not be used as bait in sport fishing.
  • Fish offal, mackerel, sardines, or herring may be used when baiting traps.

5. Be Aware of Daily Catch Limits

Catch limits protect local fish populations while allowing anglers to retain something from their catch. Because some fish species have healthier populations than others, daily limits for saltwater fishing in BC vary according to the species and the Management Area you are fishing in.

Always research daily catch limits for the area you are fishing in before setting off and remember to record all halibut, chinook and lingcod catches on your license.

6. Reporting Your Catch

To monitor the impact of recreational fishing on the species found in BCs oceans, DFO requires any BC Tidal Water Sports Fishing licence holder aged over 16 to report their complete catch, whether retained or not, for a fixed period.

For example, an annual license holder will be asked to report all catches for one specific month, indicated on their licence.

Participation in this recreational monitoring program is mandatory and a condition of being granted a license. 

Get On the Water and Catch the Big Onevan isle marina

Now you know the regulations and licensing requirements, it’s time to get out onto the beautiful west coast ocean and get fishing!

You can easily access the world’s best sports fishing from your southern Vancouver Island base at Van Isle Marina.

Do you need a new fishing boat to get you out to the best fishing spots? Our yacht sales team can help you find the perfect vessel. Contact us today to find out more.

kayaking vancouver island

Kayaking Vancouver Island: Top 6 Best Spots on The Ocean

If you enjoy sea kayaking, Vancouver Island is the place to be. From sandy beaches and hidden coves to mountain views, island archipelagos and an abundance of sea wildlife to spot – you can access all the stunning experiences from the seat of your kayak.

If you’re a yacht owner, you’re one step closer to the best places for kayaking Vancouver Island. Anchor up in a sheltered bay and put your kayaks in right there. The beauty of bringing your kayak on your vessel means you don’t have a long paddle to get to your chosen destination – you can spend your time exploring instead.

In this guide to sea kayaking Vancouver Island, we’ll explore the 6 best places to kayak from your boat and share some tips to make every experience memorable.

What Makes Sea Kayaking Vancouver Island Special

From short scenic paddles to multi-day adventure trips and everything in between., there is a multitude of sea kayaking opportunities to be found in all parts of Vancouver Island.

With stunning scenery, mild year-round temperatures and marine life at every turn, no wonder the Pacific Northwest is considered one of the bestsea kayaking vancouver island ocean kayaking locations in the world.

If you have had a dream to kayak with orcas, Vancouver Island is the perfect spot. Many of the waterways around the island are within feeding and migratory paths, and kayakers are often treated to the joyous sight of a pod of resident orcas emerging from the waves.

It’s not only whale watching that is possible from the water. Ocean kayaking around Vancouver Island is likely to get you up close and personal with marine life, including:

  • Humpback Whales
  • Gray Whales
  • Sea Otters
  • Sea Lions
  • Bald Eagles and other bird life

What to Know Before you Kayak Vancouver Island

Although you may be an experienced boater, there are some things to know before setting off on any kayak trip.

Weather – Vancouver Island weather can change often, especially on the west coast. Always check the marine weather forecast before setting out to avoid getting caught on the water.

Safety – According to the Transport Canada Safe Boating Guide, safety equipment required for human-powered vessels includes:kayaking nanaimo

  • A PFD for each passenger
  • A bailer or bilge pump
  • A sound signalling device (whistle)
  • A buoyant heaving line
  • A reboarding device, such as a float

Complete a kayak rescue course before you start ocean kayaking to learn lifesaving skills should you or someone with you capsize.

Be prepared – Plan ahead for any trip. Check maps and research the area you plan to paddle in, as some areas are only suitable for experienced kayakers due to strong currents.

6 Best Places to Go Sea Kayaking from Your Yacht on Vancouver Island

There are so many options for sea kayaking on Vancouver Island. However, here are our best suggestions that offer a variety of experiences for the confident kayaker or first-timer.

Kayaking Nanaimo

Nanaimo’s downtown harbour area offers interesting shorter kayak trips. When arriving on your yacht, either moor in the harbour or anchor up by Saysutshun (Newcastle Island). Beginners will enjoy looking for sea stars along the Newcastle Channel, while more experienced rowers can kayak around the island in a couple of hours. Look out for the resident albino raccoon which inhabits this marine provincial park.

Tip: End your day by paddling over to Canada’s only floating pub on nearby Protection Island for refreshments with a view.

Kayaking Deep Cove

Boaters with resident moorage at Van Isle Marina may enjoy a short day trip and paddle closer to home. Head north around the tip of the Saanich peninsula to Deep Cove. Situated on the peninsula’s west side, this sheltered cove is protected enough for beginner paddlers but large enough to test your arm muscles. Anchor up offshore and enjoy exploring the sandy shoreline.

Kayaking Quadra Island

kayaking quadra island

Quadra Island is located within the Discovery Islands on the eastern coast of Vancouver Island and is surrounded by the stunning scenery of the mainland mountain ranges. Quadra has two marine parks: Small Inlet and Octopus Island, which are ideal for exploration by kayak. There are plenty of protected bays to anchor up in while you enjoy getting closer to the secluded shorelines and rich forest greenery.

Tip: If kayaking the ‘inside passage,’ watch out for challenging tidal rapids and whirlpools that can develop in bad weather.

Kayaking Broken Group Islands

One of the most famous places to sea kayak on Vancouver Island is the Broken Group Islands.

Situated off the west coast, south of Tofino in the Pacific Rim National Park reserve, the Broken Group consists of 100 small islands featuring white sandy beaches, inlets and abundant wildlife.

Many people plan multi-night kayak trips in this area, making the most of wilderness camping opportunities on the islands. Arriving by yacht means you can anchor up directly within the islands and take short or longer explorative paddles. Mooring overnight is permitted with a valid Parks Canada pass, enabling you to explore this stunning area at your leisure thoroughly.

Tip: Weather is very changeable on this coast, and fog can roll in quickly. Stay alert to your surroundings and location.

Kayaking Johnstone Straight and Broughton Archipelago

Johnstone straight is the body of water found off the eastern coast of northern Vancouver Island and one of the best places to encounter orcas. During the summer, you can dock at Telegraph Cove, a historical waterfront resort formerly a cannery, a Canadian Air Force mill and a telegraph post.

This marina can accommodate boats up to 25ft and is a great starting point for half or full-day kayak trips with the incredible mainland mountains as a backdrop.kayaking deep cove

Note: The marina at Telegraph Cove does not offer electrical or water hookups. However, there are services such as a store and restaurant on land.

Tip: From Telegraph Cove, you can easily travel by boat into the Broughton Archipelago, the islands and islets between Northern Vancouver Island and the BC mainland. These islands offer opportunities to spot black bears and cougars on shore.

Kayaking Victoria

Another short trip from your Van Isle Marina base is downtown Victoria. Less experienced paddlers will enjoy the gentle waters of the inner harbour and gorge, which offer plenty of historical architecture to admire from your vessel.

Tip: Day moorage can be booked online with the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority.

Start your Vancouver Island Sea Kayaking Adventure from Sidney’s Van Isle Marina

Van Isle Marina’s location just north of Sidney, BC, is a great starting point to explore Vancouver Island’s many sea

kayaking opportunities. The staff at our state-of-the-art marina are always happy to share some great locations nearby for all of your adventures. .

If you’re looking for a new yacht to transport you and your kayak to our recommended paddling locations, our yacht sales team can help. Contact us today for more information on purchasing a yacht or mooring with us.

bc sport fishing

BC Sport Fishing for the Fun of It

All About Sport Fishing and How to Catch the Big One

Residents and visitors to British Columbia are lucky to have access to some of the best sport fishing waters in the world. 

BC sport fishing remains a popular pastime thanks to the abundance of sport fish that populate the local oceans, lakes and rivers. Whether you aim to catch and release or keep your catch, you are spoiled for choice for first-class sport fishing locations and fish species on the west coast of Canada.

Read on to learn more about sport fishing (also known as recreational fishing) and some of the best locations in British Columbia to try it out. We will also share what you need to know to make your next hunt for ‘the big one’ successful.

See our Sports Fishing Boats for Sale

All about BC Sport Fishing 

Sport fishing is any style of fishing done for the primary purpose of recreation or competition. In other words, it is for fun – not to make a profit or for commercial food distribution. Sport fishing usually takes place from a boat, although in some cases can be done from shore.cod fishing

Most sports anglers take part in the activity for the enjoyment of being in nature and the skill of a successful catch. Many sports or recreational anglers will choose to practice catch-and-release fishing, where special equipment is used not to harm the fish.

Many sport fishing competitions occur in saltwater and freshwater locations across BC each year, allowing anglers to show off their skills. The International Game Fish Association sets and oversees voluntary rules and guidelines for recreational fishing, including angling rules, world records, conservation and competitions.

What Species of Sport Fish Can You Catch in BC?

British Columbia is well known as a salmon fishing and halibut fishing hotspot, but there are many other sports fish species in saltwater and freshwater locations too. Although BC isn’t as well known for cod fishing, groundfish species, including Ling Cod and Pacific Cod, can be found in some areas.

salmon fishing

The sport fish species most commonly sought by recreational anglers in BC include:

  • Pacific Salmon – Chinook, Chum, Coho, Sockeye and Pink
  • Trout- including cutthroat and steelhead
  • Groundfish – including Halibut and Lingcod
  • Sturgeon – mostly found inshore or in large river systems

See this complete list of fish species found in the Pacific region for more information about and images of each species.

Where are Good Sport Fishing Locations in BC and Vancouver Island?

There are so many good sports fishing spots in British Columbia that you are spoiled for choice. Generally, your location will be determined by whether you wish to fish off-shore (saltwater) or in freshwater (lakes and rivers) and, of course, by the species, you hope to catch.

Here are some of the sport fishing spots we recommend:

Vancouver Island

The waters around Vancouver Island are well known for saltwater sports fishing with a mix of inshore and offshore locations. Almost any area around the island will have some successful big-catch fishing, but some well-known and popular sites include:

  • North West Vancouver Island – Known as the salmon highway, the areas around Kuyquot Sound and the Brooks Peninsulasport fishing are great for both salmon and halibut fishing.
  • Northern Vancouver Island – Visit Port Hardy and Cape Scott waters for good fishing opportunities for all 5 salmon species.
  • South West Vancouver Island – Sooke is a popular salmon fishing spot for those with less experience or who wish to stay closer to shore.  

Across British Columbia

Across the mainland of BC, there are plentiful opportunities for freshwater sportfishing in locations such as:

  • Fernie River – Located in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, this area is famous for Bull Trout fishing.
  • Nicola Valley – The many lakes of this region are perfect for trout fishing.
  • Fraser River – Well known for the chance to fish for the mighty Sturgeon – although there are strict catch and release rules for this ancient species.

Visit fishingbc.com for plenty of good suggestions for fishing locations and itineraries across Vancouver Island and the province.

What Do You Need to Know Before Sport Fishing in BC?

To ensure a fun and successful recreational fishing adventure, you should read the following recommendations:

Get the appropriate licence

Depending on where you plan to fish, you will require either a tidal (saltwater) fishing licence or a freshwater fishing licence

Don’t forget – you will need a salmon conservation stamp if you wish to retain any species of pacific salmon.

Know the local recreational fishing regulations

Make sure you understand British Columbia sports fishing rules and regulations before setting out on a fishing trip. This guide provides information about catch and release restrictions, catch limits and tagging and how to identify your catch and protected fishing areas.

Remember your catch limits 

If you plan to retain some of your catch, ensure you are up-to-date with the permitted catch limits for each species. Note that limits can vary in different areas. 

If in doubt, fishing equipment suppliers are a great source of information regarding local rules and the best locations for sports fishing.

How to Catch ‘The Big One’

Some things to bear in mind that will help you be successful in your quest to catch (and release) the big one:

  • Plan ahead: Make sure you research your preferred location, the species of fish you may catch there, and, most importantly, check the weather forecast
  • Get a reliable boat: Before setting off on any sport fishing trip, you must have a suitable boat and all the necessary equipment.

Recommended boats for offshore sports fishing include:

    • Centre console
    • Sports yachts
    • Walkarounds

catch and release

These types of sports fishing vessels all offer good deck space, built-in rod holders and lots of storage space.

  • Be prepared with the right equipment:  If you plan to catch and release, you will need to purchase some specialist equipment, such as barbless hooks, which don’t harm the fish.

Tip: Remember to carry enough emergency and safety equipment for everyone on board.

  • Have Patience: Some days, the fish don’t bite immediately, but patience usually pays off. Of course, you can always switch to a different location – many choices exist.

Van Isle Marina – a Good Base for Your Sport Fishing Adventures

Van Isle Marina is proud to be located nearby some of the best recreational fishing waters in the world. From our state-of-the-art marina in Sidney, BC, you can easily access some great fishing experiences.

If you’re interested in a new sports fishing yacht, talk to our experienced yacht sales team, who can find you the perfect boat.   You can also top up on supplies and equipment at our on-site store at the fuel dock

Contact us today for more information about mooring with us and our other services.