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B.C.'s Top 10 freshwater fishing spots

B.C.’s Top 10 Freshwater Fishing Spots

The Best Fishing Lakes and Rivers in British Columbia

With over 20,000 lakes and 750,000km of waterways, British Columbia is a freshwater fishing paradise and a dream for anglers.  Freshwater fishing offers a completely different experience to ocean fishing, and the opportunity to catch a variety of species of fish, some of which are unique to the area.

Anglers Spoiled for Choice in B.C.’s Species Rich Fresh Waters

There is an abundance of fish species to be found in British Columbia’s lakes and rivers including:

Anglers spoiled for choice - trout

  • Rainbow Trout
  • Bull Trout 
  • Cutthroat Trout
  • Kokanee
  • Steelhead Salmon
  • Sockeye Salmon
  • Dolly Warden
  • Smallmouth and Largemouth Bass
  • Arctic Grayling
  • Sturgeon

A great catch is almost guaranteed thanks to an annual program funded by the freshwater licence fee that stocks trout in over 800 lakes across the province.

Top 10 Spots for Freshwater Fishing in B.C.

There are so many amazing lakes, streams and rivers in British Columbia but our list includes those which a fishing fanatic should not miss. They are all accessible by boat, although most of these can be fished from shore too.

Elk and Beaver Lakes: Located in the Saanich area of Vancouver Island these lakes are stocked with Rainbow Trout and small and largemouth Bass. The lakes are connected via a shallow channel and are very popular for day use by families. Motorboat speed and power limitations are in effect in some areas.

Quesnel Lake: With a depth of 2,000ft, this Cariboo area lake is believed to be the deepest fjord lake in the world. Access this pristine wilderness fishing spot via boat launches and recreation sites on the western shore. This lake breeds large fish with Lake Trout up to 20kg as well as Rainbow and Bull Trout and Kokanee to be found.

Top 10 spots for freshwater fishing

Sheridan Lake: Despite its secluded location near 100 Mile House; this lake is considered to be one of the best trout fishing lakes in the province. Rainbow Trout can grow up to 16kg thanks to a diet rich in freshwater shrimp which is abundant in the lake. There are a number of boat launches and resorts for anglers to choose from. 

Shushwap Lake: Known for its beautiful beaches; this lake, which has four ‘arms’ is rumoured to contain up to 19 species of fish. Chinook, Coho and Sockeye Salmon are certain to be found in the aptly named Salmon Arm, but angler’s in the know go for the Bull and Rainbow Trout which can weigh in at 10kg.

Williston Lake: At over 1,700sq km, this lake is actually the largest reservoir in BC, formed when the W.A.C Bennett Dam was constructed in 1968. A popular lake with many beaches and provincial parks on its shore; Williston is considered to be one of the best fishing lakes in the province with Arctic G

rayling, Rainbow and Bull Trout, Kokanee and Whitefish all reaching good sizes here.

Anderson Lake: Rainbow Trout, Bull Trout and Sockeye can all be found in this spectacular lake located north of Pemberton. At 21 miles long and nearly 1,000ft in depth the lake can get quite rough in windy weather so smaller boats should stay closer to shore.

Chilko Lake: This glacier-fed lake is the largest high elevation freshwater lake in Canada. Its turquoise waters and surrounding volcanic mountains make for a picturesque backdrop to a day of fishing for Rainbow and Bull Trout. A classified waters licence is required to fish here.

Top 10 spots for lake and river fishing in BC

Skeena River: Excellent salmon fishing can be found year-round on this river which runs between Terrace and Prince Rupert. Accessible boat put-ins can be found along highway 16. Bring your fly fishing gear for a successful trip.

Fraser River: B.C.’s largest river system, found east of Vancouver, is best known for its Sturgeon fishing opportunities. You’ll need some strong gear and arms if you catch one of these ancient fish which can grow to 12ft long. 

Cowichan River: Located in the centre of Vancouver Island; anglers find most success in the shoulder seasons when the river is cooler. It is considered the finest trout stream in the province thanks to its abundance of insects which keep the unique Brown Trout species plentiful in its waters.

Successful Freshwater Fishing – What to Know Before You Go

  • Get a freshwater fishing licence – All anglers aged 16 and over require a specific freshwater licence to fish the lakes and rivers of B.C. This can be purchased online or at a licenced vendor. Be aware that some locations or species require an additional conservation fee.
  • Familiarize yourself with freshwater fishing regulations –  these include areas with catch and release only fishing, catch limits and region-specific rules.
  • Bring the right gear – Freshwater fishing needs different equipment to ocean fishing. Your local fishing store can help you with supplies such as:
    • Fly fishing rods and lures
    • Species-specific bait
    • Strong hooks and lines for large lake fish
    • A depth finder
  • Remember to wash your hands!  – Freshwater fish are sensitive to odors and may be scared away by smells they don’t recognize.

Van Isle Marina can help you find your dream fishing boat

Van Isle Marina Can Help You Find Your Dream Fishing Boat 

Keen to try some freshwater fishing but need to upgrade your boat? Van Isle Marina’s experienced sales team can advise you on all the options and additions available, contact us today to find out more.

Got a fishing boat you need to store? We offer docking and dry storage facilities in addition to our 500 open and covered marina berths at our state-of-the-art marina.

Located in Sidney, B.C., Van Isle Marina is a convenient starting point to access the amazing freshwater fishing that Vancouver Island offers, or take the nearby ferry to the mainland to explore all the freshwater fishing locations on our list.

Choosing the Right Boat

Choosing the Right Boat

What to Consider When Buying a Boat

 

Owning a boat opens up a whole new world of on-water adventure for you and your family. Buying a boat is a major decision but one you won’t regret if you choose the right one.

Whether you are looking to buy for the first time or upgrade your current model, there are a number of considerations that you can use to help you find the perfect boat.

5 Key Things to Consider When Buying a Boat

  1. What type of boat meets my needs?What type of boat fits my needs

There are so many different types of boats to choose from that it can be hard to know where to start. Thinking about what you want to do in your boat and who you’re going to be doing it with is a great starting point.

What activities do I want to do? Are you looking for a boat to take deep-sea fishing? Do you want to cruise the coastline for a multi-day sightseeing trip or is your aim to have fun in the lake pulling wakeboarders and skiers? Each activity requires a different type of vessel, engine and equipment.

What size is right? A bigger boat is likely to have more features and facilities, but it will cost more to buy, run and store. If you are a first-time buyer, test drive a few different sized boats to see which you are most comfortable operating. 

Which engine type and horsepower option is right? There are a number of different engine types available including:

  • Outboard Motors
  • Gas Sterndrives
  • Diesel inboards
  • Water jet propulsion

The type you choose will influence how the vessel drives, steering and stability, noise and pollution, storage, wear and tear and more. Consider an engine with a horsepower capacity close to the maximum for the boat to ensure it is able to perform in all conditions.

Where will I use and store the boat? Are you planning to be out in the deep ocean where you are at the mercy of incoming weather systems? Then consider a cab where you can get some protection. If you want to store your boat at home, you will need to choose a style and size that can be trailered.

  1. Should I buy a new or used boat?Should I buy new or used

The decision to buy new or used will depend on your budget, taste and whether you are willing to make cosmetic and mechanical upgrades if necessary. 

Benefits of a new boat include:

  • Getting exactly what you want
  • Benefiting from the latest technologies
  • A warranty to cover any issues

Benefits of a used boat include:

  • Getting more boat for your money compared to new
  • The ability to research the make, model and get real reviews before deciding
  • With a marine survey you can find out the condition and history of the vessel

This used boat buying checklist is a helpful starting point if you choose to buy second-hand.

  1. Where should I buy my boat from?Where Should I buy my boat from

When looking for a new boat, you have a number of options of where to shop.

  • Boat Shows – If you are able to attend a boat show, you have the benefit of being able to see the models in person and there are usually special deals if you buy at the event. The downside is that you usually have to make a quick decision to get the bargain.
  • Dealers – Benefit from the knowledge and expertise of a dealer who can advise which models and features will best suit your needs. Dealers are able to assist with warranty coverage and services too.
  • Private sales – This is an option for more experienced boaters with the confidence to inspect and identify any issues with a vessel as private sales cannot be returned and have no warranty.

Always go out on a test drive if you can. Use the opportunity to check the boat’s facilities, equipment and handling.

  1. What is my budget?What is my budget for a boat

Your budget for your boat purchase will undoubtedly have an impact on which vessel you end up buying. Additional and ongoing costs which you should be aware of before buying include:

  • Insurance – theft, damage and loss insurance 
  • Registration fees – if required for your vessel
  • Storage – purchase of a trailer or annual moorage / dry-storage fees. View Van Isle Marina’s storage fees here for an idea of the monthly or annual cost
  • Equipment and accessories – Personal safety gear, upgraded GPS, sports fishing gear – the required and desired extras can add up
  • Maintenance and repair – likely to be higher if you have a second hand boat with no warranty
  • Fuel / operating costs – fuel is likely to be your biggest ongoing cost depending on how far and how often you go out and how fuel efficient your engine is.

View Van Isle Marina’s 10 costs you must know before buying a boat guide for more information.

  1. What are the requirements of boat ownership and operation?What are the requirements of boat ownership

If you are buying a boat for the first time, make sure you educate yourself regarding the documents the federal government of Canada requires for boat ownership and operation. These include:

  • Pleasure Craft Licence – serves as ID for the vessel
  • Pleasure Craft Operators Card – an accredited online course and test is available 

Make sure you read and understand the Safe Boating Guide for information on operating vessels in Canadian waters, boating safety requirements and trip planning.

Buy Your Next Boat with the Support of Van Isle Marina’s Dealership Experts

Van Isle Marina’s highly experienced yacht sales team are keen to match buyers to the boat that is right for them.

As exclusive dealers for Pursuit Boats, buyers can discuss the many models with our sales team. We also act as broker for private sales, providing more options for our buyers.

Contact us today to set up a meeting with our sales team and start the search for your perfect boat.

Once you’ve found the yacht of your dreams, check out our moorage and storage options and all the other amazing facilities our state of the art marina offers.

boat emergency kit checklist

Emergency Boating Kit Checklist

What Emergency and Safety Equipment Do You Need on Your Yacht?

 

An emergency boating kit should be on board with you at all times. All boaters know that nothing can be more relaxing than a day on the water, whether it’s an early morning fishing trip, an afternoon of sightseeing or a multi-day trip. After all, there’s nothing like the feel of the sea air on your face as you enjoy leisure time on your yacht or sailing boat.

However, experienced boaters also know that things can go wrong quickly; so it’s important to be prepared with the boat safety equipment and tools you might need in an unexpected incident.

Having a comprehensive boating emergency kit onboard your vessel will provide reassurance and practical assistance should anything unexpected happen such as:

  • Someone falling overboardBoating Equipment Kit Checklist cover image
  • A sick or injured passenger
  • A collision with another boat or stationery item like a rock
  • Your boat suffers a mechanical failure

What Do I Need in My Boat Emergency Kit?

There are some essential items that all marine emergency kits should contain. Transport Canada does require all boats to carry certain safety and emergency equipment which depends on the size of the vessel.

What do I need in my Emergency Boating Kit

This includes:

  • Lifesaving appliances such as PFDs and flotation devices
  • Visual signals
  • Navigation equipment
  • Firefighting equipment

Find out what your specific vessel is required to carry by checking out the safe boating guide on the Transport Canada website.

What Do the Best Boating Emergency Kits Include?

Boating First Aid Kit Contents

When putting together your boating emergency kit, consider what you will need in each of the following categories:

  • Survival gear
  • Signaling equipment
  • Navigation tools
  • Safety gear
  • First Aid kit

Survival Gear: This is the equipment that will help you to survive should you or a passenger end up in the water and includes:

Flotation Devices: Life-jackets save lives in Canadian waters every year. Make sure you have enough lifejackets or PFDs for each person on board.  It is important that these fit well and meet Canadian standards.Check out this guide to choosing a lifejacket for more information.

Throwable Flotation Devices: All vessels over 9m long need to carry a lifebuoy attached to a buoyant line and a separate buoyant heaving line. You may also wish to include some throw cushions for extra options.

Signaling Tools

If you have an emergency on your personal watercraft you may need to get the attention of the coast guard or another vessel to help you. The best way to do this is to be highly visible and make a lot of noise:

Signaling Tools for boaters in distress

Visual Distress Signals: Make sure your boat meets the requirements for day and night lights to ensure you are as visible as possible. Also carry at least one waterproof flashlight and flares, including light and smoke flares, as well as bright flags.

Sound Distress Signals: Make sure your horn and bell on your vessel are working and you know the international emergency sound signals. Also consider carrying an air horn and whistles for additional attention especially if you have to abandon ship and enter the water.

VHF Radio: Have a fitted or handheld VHF radio onboard which enables you to contact other nearby vessels and the coast guard. Learn and write down the emergency broadcast frequency in case you need it.

Navigation Tools

Knowing where you are and what is around you is important if you are in an emergency situation. 

Manual Navigation: Always carry a magnetic compass, charts and ruler so you can manually chart and track your location.

Electronic Navigation: Many boats have built-in GPS trackers which are useful for establishing your location. Radar systems will also help you to identify what is around you and whether another vessel is in your area. Both are available in portable versions if you do not have them built into your boat.

Emergency Indicating Radio Beacons (EPIRBs) which send out GPS distress signals when activated, can be a good way to keep track of someone who goes overboard.

Safety Gear

For general onboard safety, you should also include some of the following equipment in your boating emergency kit:

  • Fire extinguishers
  • Additional food and water
  • Manual bilge pump or bailing device
  • Small tool kit
  • Weather gear including raincoats or ponchos, a warm jacket, sunscreen and sun hat
  • Dry change of clothes
  • Waterproof matches
  • Knife sharp enough to cut rope
  • Batteries
  • Portable fuel tanks

First Aid Kit

Health emergencies can happen onboard a boat, some – such as nausea – are less serious but can ruin the enjoyment of the trip. Other health emergencies can be more serious.

Carrying a comprehensive first aid kit on board means you have the ability to help whatever the circumstances. Boat owners may wish to consider taking a first aid course through Canadian Red Cross or another recognized organization.

A good first aid kit should include:

  • Gauze, bandages and waterproof band-aidsFirst Aid kit for boats
  • Adhesive tape
  • Gloves
  • Scissors
  • Antiseptic
  • Pain relievers
  • Tweezers
  • Anti-histamines
  • Anti-nausea medication
  • Sunscreen
  • Spare prescription medications
  • Emergency blankets

Where Should I Store My Marine Emergency Kit?

The majority of your emergency kit can be stored together in a large waterproof container. Make sure the container is in an easily accessible position, not in the back of a storage hold or underneath other boxes, as you might need to get at it in a hurry.

Check your emergency kit and equipment each time you sail. Replace anything that is running low or past its use-by date.

Van Isle Marina – A Safe and Secure Place to Anchor Up 

Van Isle Marina, located in Sidney, BC, is one of the province’s largest full-service marinas. Our location makes us a great starting and finishing point for short or longer boating adventures. We offer short-stay, monthly and annual moorage options and offer first-class amenities including a marine fuel dock, boat haul-out and even a restaurant. 

You can store your emergency kit equipment and other personal items you don’t want to leave on your yacht in our secure, heated storage lockers. Visit us today in Tsehum Harbour or contact us to find out more about our marina and moorage options.

 

Boat Trailer Checklist PDF

Boat Trailer Checklist

Your Boat Trailer Will Always Be Ready to Go with This Easy Maintenance Guide

Boat trailer checklist from Van Isle Marina

For those who store their boat on dry land, or who might like to tow their boat to a favourite inland lake, the boat trailer is an essential piece of equipment. To properly tow and launch your boat, the trailer must be in excellent shape. That’s why we’ve created this checklist for the care and keeping of your boat trailer.

Regulations

As with any vehicle, always check to make sure your trailer is legal and ready for the road.
  • Check to make sure registration is current
  • Check to make sure the boat load doesn’t exceed 85% of rated trailer capacity
  • Check to make sure the trailer plus boat load doesn’t exceed 85% of towing vehicle capacity

Physical Condition of Trailerboat trailer checklist PDF

Lubrication is key for a safe and secure trailer. When in doubt, have your trailer checked by a reputable professional.
  • Check for corrosion and broken welds
  • Check all rollers and pads for wear. Ensure proper support for the boat
  • Check and lubricate wheel bearings as needed
  • Check and lubricate winch as needed
  • Check tongue jack and wheel and lubricate as needed
  • Check tongue lock and lubricate as needed

Tires and Bearings

boat trailer checklist - tires

Trailer tires go from long trips on hot asphalt and backroads to cool water, making them prone to wear and cracking. Always check tires for wear periodically.
  • Inspect tire guard and fender
  • Check tire pressure
  • Check tire wear and ensure they have adequate tread > 1/4 inch
  • Check that lugs are properly tightened and lubricated
  • Check for a spare and ensure spare is road-ready
  • Check that bearings have been replaced within manufacturer guidelines

Trailer Hook Up

The ball, coupler, tie down straps and safety chains must always be completely secured to ensure safety on the road.
  • Check that the trailer ball matches coupler size and is securely engaged. The jack should not be able to lift the coupler off the ball
  • Check that the trailer ball is properly torqued
  • Check that the ball mount is secure in the receiver tube with either a hitch pin or lock
  • Check that the coupler latch is locked and secure via hitch pin or lock
  • Check that the trailer jack is fully retracted
  • Check that safety chains are hooked up and crisscrossed beneath the coupler. This will keep the coupler from hitting the road in case of an accident
  • Check that all tie down straps are in good shape and secured

boat trailer checklist - hook up

Trailer Brakes

boat trailer checklist - brake lights

If your trailer is equipped with brakes, you’ll need to check the brake fluid as often as you’d check the brake fluid levels on your main vehicle.
  • Check brake lines from actuator to brake clusters
  • Check brake fluid level
  • Check for proper operation when connected to the towing vehicle
  • Check running lights on vehicle and trailer
  • Check brake lights on vehicle and trailer

Electronics and Connections

It’s essential that the trailer lights and electronics are working properly. Take a few moments at the start of every trip to ensure your turn signals and running lights are operating.
  • Check condition of wiring for corrosion, cuts, etc.
  • Check that grounding circuit is properly attached
  • Check wire harness and tow vehicle socket
  • Check that the electrical plug is secure and firmly in the vehicle’s socket
  • Check turn signals on vehicle and trailer
  • Check that the breakaway switch cable is securely attached to vehicle
  • Check that break control is working and adjusted to the trailer’s weight

To make sure your trailer is in top-notch condition, always take the time to give your trailer a thorough check. This is particularly important at the beginning, middle and end of the season, or after a long trip. Lastly, always raise your boat engine and ensure all your onboard gear is secure before you drive away. Doing this basic check will give you the peace of mind to tow and launch your boat with confidence.

At Van Isle Marina, we provide completely secure moorage with annual, monthly and guest options. Conveniently located in sunny Sidney, BC, we’re just a quick cruise away from a variety of fantastic destinations. With amenities like storage lockers, car parking, and a full-service marine fueling station and dock store, you’ll find everything you’ll need to start and end your trip. Come down and see us, or request services/moorage information at (250) 656-1138 or by email.

Bow and Stern Anchoring Best Practices

Bow and Stern Anchoring Best Practices

How to Set Two Anchors

Knowing a variety of stern and bow tying and anchoring techniques is essential for any boater’s toolkit. Here on the West Coast of Canada, we have such a wide variety of anchorages. Knowing which anchoring technique to use will come in handy many times over and bow and stern anchoring is one of the best since it’s so versatile.

When to Use Bow & Stern Anchoring

  • Anchoring in small bays
  • For mooring, if required
  • Anchoring at the narrow edge of channels
  • Anchoring in busy areas
  • Anchoring in soft ground
  • Anchoring amid shifting currents and tides
  • Anchoring right over a great fishing spot
  • Anchoring in a storm situation
  • Anchoring at an angle that protects your boat from rolling waves

For best results when using a bow and stern anchoring technique, make sure you get plenty of practice in sheltered waters. This way, you can deploy and retrieve both anchors and cruise away in just a few simple steps. At the same time, brush up on your knot tying skills with our guide to 9 easy knots for boating.

On the West Coast of BC, we’re so lucky to have our pick of spectacular anchorages all the way around the Vancouver Island. For areas with high winds and strong currents, like Cape Scott through to Quatsino Sound, we highly recommend using the bow and stern anchoring technique. This is also an excellent technique for a calmer but tight anchorage like Telegraph Harbour, just off Chemainus. Dual anchoring techniques can also make it possible for you to sail or cruise to areas you’d only dreamed of. In fact, having a boat and knowing how to best operate it is like having a pass to some of the most exclusive and secluded destinations.

Prepare your Primary and Secondary Anchors and Lines

Find a calm space away from other traffic on the water and get your stern anchor and lines ready, making sure knots are securely tied.

  1. Attach a buoy and trip line using a hitch knot or anchor knot (optional) to your stern anchor’s trip line hole. A trip line and buoy allow other boaters to clearly see that you have an anchor out.
  2. Load the anchor and line into your dinghy, making sure your line is tied securely to the boat or through a fairlead and winch if you have them.

Anchors Aweigh

  1. Facing the wind, set your primary anchor.
  2. Slowly back away, paying out extra line.
  3. Next, you or the skipper will board the dinghy and get the stern anchor ready. Refresh your knowledge on dinghy and tender safety.
  4. Drop the stern anchor behind the boat on either the port or starboard side. You’ll want to angle your boat at 15 degrees off the windward swell (on a diagonal).
  5. Drop the stern anchor from the dinghy with a scope of minimum 5:1. This means you’ll want to anchor at 5 feet for every 1 foot of water depth.
  • If you’re anchoring overnight, aim for at least a 7:1 scope. To increase length, you can add chain to the lines. Add at least 20 feet of anchor chain for best results, especially in strong winds. If there isn’t enough room to let out as much rope as you need for a good scope, you can also use a kellet for extra weight. The kellet should be placed on the mid-line of the rope. This will help to keep your anchor rode nice and horizontal in the water, keeping the boat in position.
  1. Take in the slack for the stern anchor and set it.
  2. Moving back to your primary anchor, adjust the scope as needed, making sure to pay out enough line for the secondary anchor. When you’re done, both the bow and stern anchors should be tight.

Retrieving your Anchors

  1. When you’re ready to keep moving, make sure your engines are ready and willing.
  2. Create some slack in your stern anchor line.
  • If you used a tripping line and buoy, take the dinghy out to haul up the anchor. If you didn’t use a buoy and tripping line, give the bow line slack. Then move the boat back to the stern anchor drop point. Haul the anchor just like you would for your primary anchor.
  1. Bring your stern anchor and rode onto the boat and stow them safely.
  2. Secure the dinghy
  3. Haul in your primary anchor as you normally would and head out!

The stern and bow anchor technique takes some finesse. Be sure to practice it regularly to keep your skills sharp for when you want to anchor in a small bay or inlet. Also always make sure that you have the right anchor and ground tackle for the size of the boat and wind conditions. This is known as holding power.

For instance, a 25 foot yacht in winds of 30 knots would require holding power of 490. If this boat were using an anchor made for lighter wind conditions and a smaller boat, you’d run the risk of damaging your equipment and losing the anchor.

Our team at Van Isle Marina know that your boat is your baby, so if you have any questions or concerns about the right anchor for your yacht, check out our two-part series on anchors and anchoring or contact us for help.

Part One- Types of Anchors

Part Two- Anchoring Your Boat

Are you looking for the perfect boat to make this summer unforgettable? Come and see us at Van Isle Marina where we have a fantastic selection to choose from, plus a large (and growing!) selection of luxury Pursuit Boats. Fully loaded with everything to make lifelong memories on the water, Pursuit Boats are made in the USA and built with world-class features and amenities. Browse our new and used boat listings, then contact our expert yacht broker, to find your new boat today.

De-Winterizing Your Boat

De-Winterizing Your Boat Checklist

Spring Maintenance Checklist for Your Boat

 

Spring is here and you’re more than ready to get back out on the water. There are a few key things you’re going to need to take care of first though, to make sure that your boat is ready for the inaugural trip. Not only will properly de-winterizing your boat ensure that everything’s in good working order, it will help extend the life of the boat.

If your boat has been in dry storage for the winter, it’s a good idea to check your trailer first. This 10-minute check will let you move your boat back to the water with confidence. Most importantly, check the renewal date for your boating and fishing / crabbing licenses and make sure any required decals are easily visible.

Trailer

To safely transport your boat back to the water, the trailer and tires need to be road-ready.

  • Check trailer tires for pressure, any cracking, or inadequate tread. Replace tires if they’re older than 3-5 years.
  • Check tongue latch and coupling
  • Check trailer brake fluid level
  • Check trailer lights and replace as needed
  • Test the rollers
  • Check the padding where the hull rests

Anchors, Lines and Ropes

All mooring and anchoring equipment should be clean and ready to go. It’s always a good idea to purchase new line before the start of the season.

  • Spring Boating Checklist - RopeCheck that you have enough rope to launch and tie your boat
  • Check that you have enough rope to secure your boat in at least two areas
  • Check all knots for anchors and hardware
  • Check for any damaged or tangled line or rope
  • Make sure any bumpers are in the boat

Belts, Cables and Hoses

Check for wear and tear and consult a boat mechanic if you have any concerns.

  • Check for cracks and brittle areas
  • Check for wear on belts
  • Check the outer layer of control cables. Any cracking or swelling can be signs of a problem

Electrical

As boaters, we rely heavily on electrical equipment for a safe and comfortable experience. Go through each of the electrical components on your boat to make sure everything’s in good working order.

  • Check all connections for corrosion and cleanliness
  • Remove battery terminals, clean connections with wire brushDe-Winterization of your Boat Checklist - Helm
  • Check the battery is charged. Replace if needed
  • Test the generator on full tilt
  • Check interior and exterior lights
  • Check navigational equipment (GPS)
  • Check electrical box
  • Check HVAC or air conditioner on hot and cold

Engine and Fuel System

The heart of your boat, you won’t get very far without the engine! We recommend a regular inspection by a trained boat technician, ideally at the start and end of the boating season.

  • Check transom mounts (outboard)
  • Check for any smoke
  • Check transmission
  • Check levers on every seacock
  • Check raw water intake and strainer
  • Inspect connections, hoses and tanks for damage or leaks
  • Replace spark plugs and other components as needed
  • Check that all clamps and fittings are tight
  • Check that exhaust, engine and ventilation systems are working well

Fluid Levels

Topped-up fluids will keep your engine and steering column going strong. Replace any expired fluids and top up everything else as needed.

  • Check coolant
  • Check engine oil
  • Check power steering fluid
  • Check power trim reservoirs
  • Check coolant levels
  • Change engine oil, filter and drive lubricants as needed

Hull and Exterior

The key to prolonging the life of your boat, the hull should be kept clean and waxed, with any damage taken care of right away.Spring Checklist for your boat - Hull

  • Check hull for blisters, distortions and cracks
  • Clean the hull, deck and topsides
  • Check that the drain plug is secure *Put a backup drain plug somewhere safe on board
  • Check for cracks or damage around fittings
  • Check for damage on or around the hatches
  • Check upholstery for any mold / mildew / tears
  • Check the livewells

Interior

The living space and head are a cozy place to crash at the end of a busy day of fishing and water sports. Take a few minutes to check lighting, appliances and water, to avoid any unpleasant surprises.

  • Check for water pressure and quality
  • Check for damage to doors and portholes
  • Check lights and switchesboat spring checklist - interior
  • Check for leaks in fridge
  • Check temperature in fridge / freezer
  • Test the appliances
  • Check lights and switches
  • Check TV, speakers and any other extras

Propeller

A damaged propeller can’t work as efficiently as an undamaged one. If you see any marks or chips / dings that are concerning, talk to a pro about repair or replacement.

  • Check propellers for any damage
  • Make sure propeller is secure and replace bearings if needed

Safety Equipment and Gear

Up-to-date safety equipment is a huge part of any vessel. We recommend booking a safety inspection by the Canadian Power and Sail Squadrons (CPS-ECP) if available.

  • Check the flares
  • Check marine radio
  • Check condition of heaving line and lifebuoy(s)
  • Check condition of first aid kit
  • Check life jackets and replace any expired jackets
  • Check the fire extinguishers. Replace if expired
  • Check carbon monoxide and smoke detectors. Replace batteries

Water System

For washing up and drinking, clean water is essential.

  • If you added antifreeze, flush it out now
  • Empty the grey and black tanks
  • Refill the fresh-water tank

Clean the Boat

Give your boat a good spring clean to get it off to the best possible start this season.De-winterizing your boat checklist - Cleaning

  • Clean the hull, scrubbing away any rusty spots or fuel drips
  • Scrub any areas where mold may have started over the winter
  • Clean the carpets and vacuum any debris
  • Wash the windows
  • Disinfect hard and soft surfaces using a gentle spray solution
  • Spray a fabric protector on any vinyl to block harsh UV light

At Van Isle Marina, we offer moorage with annual, monthly and guest options. Conveniently located in sunny Sidney, BC on the Haro Strait, we’re just a quick cruise away from a variety of fantastic destinations. With amenities like storage lockers, car parking, and a full-service marine fueling station and dock store, you’ll find everything you could need to start and end your trip. Are you as excited for the summer boating season as we are? Come down and see us, or request services/moorage information by calling (250) 656-1138 or via email.

USED BOAT BUYING CHECKLIST

Used Boat Buying Checklist

Looking for a Pre-Owned Boat?
Give it a Thorough Inspection Before You Buy

 

Purchasing a used boat can save you lots of money, when done right. A lightly used boat that’s been treated with kid gloves can be an absolute steal and provide you and your family with many happy years on the water. If the seller is upgrading, they might even throw in PFD’s, seat cushions, the cover and fishing / watersports equipment. Buying a used boat is also an excellent way to get your sea legs established without the sticker price of a brand-new vessel.

When shopping around for a used boat, there are many things to take into consideration. It can be intimidating, particularly if you’re brand new to boating. First, consider what type of powerboat you envision yourself in. Are you most excited for watersports, or relaxed weekends cruising the coast? Do you want to entertain friends and family or enjoy secluded getaways? Will you keep it moored or haul-out at the end of every season? To keep you focused on your search, decide early on what type and size of boat works with your lifestyle.

Once you’ve found a few boats you’d like to take a closer look at, or what you suspect is “the one”, take out our used boat buying checklist and start checking off the boxes. Together, we’ll make sure you’re completely confident about your new-to-you boat!

Brand

Go for a well-known brand but avoid models that seem to be prominent on the used sales scene. This could indicate an issue with the model that you don’t want to inherit.

boat buying checklist - check interior / exterior

  • Does the brand have a good reputation?
  • Does the model have a good reputation?
  • Check reviews
  • Ask other owners for their feedback

 

History

Knowing the history of the individual boat is helpful in knowing where any dings or scrapes / larger issues may have come from

  • Any recalls?
  • Any known issues?
  • Has the boat been in any accidents?

Engine

The engine can be one of the most expensive parts of a boat, so take your time and really make sure it’s in good working order. A test drive will really give you a sense of how the boat handles.

  • Inboard or outboard motor
  • How many motors
  • Check engine hatch for breathability
  • Motor starts smoothly
  • Check engine insulation
  • Check for any leaks
  • Check age of engines
  • Look for any smoke
  • Check transmission
  • Check levers on every seacock
  • Check raw water intake and strainer

 

Electrical

All electronics should be in good condition and working well. If there’s a short or any indication of issues with the electronics, the electrical should be thoroughly inspected

  • Review owner’s manual
  • Check battery for damage or corrosion
  • Check interior and exterior lights
  • Check navigational equipment (GPS)
  • Check electrical box
  • Check HVAC or Air Conditioner for effective cooling and heating
  • Check appliances
  • Check all wiring and connections
  • Check for corrosion or signs of damage
  • Test the generator on full tilt for 30 minutes
  • Do a final test of all electronics on board

 

Exterior Condition

Beyond the aesthetics of the boat, the exterior condition can tell you a lot about how well this boat has been treated and the potential for bigger problems down the line. Check the boat over with the hull lifted out of the water so you can see below the waterline.

  • Check the fibreglass/laminate for any hollow sounds when tapped
  • Check for scratches and cracks
  • Check for cracks or damage around fittings
  • Check for any damage on and around hatches
  • Check condition of handrails
  • Check to make sure cleats are secure and in good shape
  • Check for any rust
  • Check the condition of the deck
  • Check the condition of the hull
  • Look for bubbling in the paint
  • Check the condition of the zinc anodes
  • Check the bearings of the rudder
  • Check the overall rudder
  • Check seating and upholstery for any mold / mildew / tears
  • Check the helm for any damages
  • Check the steering wheel

 

Interior Condition

The interior of the boat will be your home away from home, so you’ll want to make sure it’s comfortable and in good shape. You’ll also want to make sure it’s free of any issues with plumbing and electricity.

  • Check the condition of lockers
  • Check the condition of trims, stairs, flooring
  • Check for damage to doors and portholes
  • Check lights and switches
  • Check TV, speakers and any other extras
  • Check toilet, sink and shower for water pressure and quality
  • Check appliances for interior or exterior damage
  • Check to ensure that appliances are bolted and mounted
  • Check for leaks in fridge
  • Check temperature in fridge / freezer
  • Test all appliances to make sure they work

 

Safety Equipment

The bilge pump, fire extinguisher, anchor and chains should all be in good working order.  Even if you plan on replacing most of the safety supplies, it’s a good idea to look through the existing ones to get a feel for how the current owners have cared for the boat and its components.

  • Check expiration date of fire extinguisherboat buying checklist - check marine radio
  • Check bilge pump
  • Check condition of life jackets and any expiry dates
  • Check oars and any other manual propulsion tools
  • Check the flares
  • Check to see if the marine radio is working
  • Check condition of heaving line and lifebuoy(s)
  • Check condition of first aid kit

 

Owner’s Manual and Legal Documents

Look through the owner’s manual and legal documents so you have the exact specs and features list with you. You can either print it off yourself or ask the current owner to provide one.

  • Check the bill of sale or sales documentation
  • Check insurance papers
  • Check for any outstanding money owed
  • Check that the engine hours and KM match what’s on the sales contract
  • Check for any warranty information

 

During the sale of a boat, once a price has been agreed upon by the buyer and seller, the boat will then have a marine survey and mechanical inspection performed as part of the condition of the sale. This means that many of the buying a used boat checklist items above will be checked off by a professional and you can rest assured that you’re getting a quality yacht. The cost for these inspections, however, are paid for by the buyer.

Once you’re sure you’re found the boat for you, be sure to review our post on the ins and outs of buying a used yacht. This will cover everything from the sales process to the storage of your new vessel, for a worry-free purchase experience.

Is this the year you’re making the leap to boating? Looking for that perfect used boat? Come and talk to us at Van Isle Marina. We have a fantastic selection of new and pre-loved yachts and cruisers to choose from, as well as a wide variety of new world-class Pursuit Boats. Browse our new and used listings, then contact our expert yacht broker, to find the boat you’ve always dreamed of.

yachts - center vs dual console

Dual Console Vs. Center Console Boats

How to Choose Between a Center Console Boat and Dual Console Boat

Whether to choose a center console layout or dual console layout is a common decision when purchasing a new boat.  The console design you’re going to be happiest with is ultimately going to be the one that suits what you want to get out of your boat.

Maybe you’re an avid fisherperson who is willing to trade a middle aisle and more seating for a larger helm with more space for custom electronics. Maybe you need a boat with seating and lounging zones to really entertain with class. There’s a lot to consider when it comes to choosing which type of powerboat and which type of console will be best for the type of adventures you want to have.

What Is a Center Console Boat?yacht with center console_victoria bc

A center console has a single console that contains the helm, the Captain’s chair and usually one or more passenger seats. The amount of seating inside the center console will depend on the model and size of boat you buy.

Generally, a center console boat is designed for the more serious anglers who need to be able to move around the perimeter of the boat in a hurry. There’s no center aisle, so you can keep hold of the whopping halibut (check out some great halibut recipes here). You also get more raised deck space and work area with a center console boat, which many anglers prefer.

A smaller center console boat under 20 feet long will usually have up to two seats for the skipper/captain/whatever term you prefer to go by, while a larger boat 20 feet and longer might be built with a whole bench seat and entertainment area, complete with grill, sink, storage and more.

A center console is a bit like that pickup truck that you’d use to go hunting but wouldn’t necessarily take into the city. Just like that Supercab or Crew Cab with heated seats, moon roof, and LED screen. Today’s center console models have also evolved to include a whole host of luxury features as well. They’re no longer just bare-bones utilitarian models meant for angling and not much else, but that’s what single consoles were designed for and what they excel at.

What Is a Dual Console Boat?yacht with dual console victoria bc

A dual console boat has two consoles. One houses the helm and the other is for passengers who want to get out of the elements without going into the cabin. This gives the driver his or her own space to do their thing in the cockpit, while passengers have their own separate area to hang out.

The dual consoles create a walking path. This lets boaters easily access the bow and stern seating areas without needing to go all the way around the boat. This layout also means more options for dry storage. With more room for storage of food, supplies and other gear, it’s easier to enjoy longer trips.

With more seating and more storage, as well as two covered areas for passenger and driver, a dual console is ideal for family fun on the water.  

Going with the vehicle analogy once again, a dual console is like the luxury minivan or SUV of the boat world – they’re loaded with features! You’ve got your multiple rows of seating, screens for the kiddies, tons of integrated storage, keyless access, and the cool sliding door that opens with a tap of your foot. Here, comfort is the highest priority, even though you might load it up with camping gear or drive it to your favourite hiking spot.

What Are the Pros of a Center Console Boat?

  • Usually, a larger helm panel with more room for additional electronics and devices
  • More deck space for baiting tackle and working with your catch
  • Fewer obstructions along the rails make it more convenient for anglersboat with center console
  • Ideal for watersports
  • Driver can have more privacy at the wheel

What Are the Pros of a Dual Console Boat?

  • Typically larger than center console
  • More entertainment and lounging spaces, like forward seating and convertible transom seating
  • More dry storage space
  • Best for leisure and group boating
  • Offers greater weather and spray protection with a wraparound windshield
  • Hardtop can cover the width of the boat to provide shade
  • Passengers can remain on deck and away from the elements in second console

What Are the Cons of a Center Console Boat?

  • Less weather protection
  • There’s more deck space but less storage
  • Tend to be smaller than dual console models
  • Helm is usually smaller on a center console model
  • Canopied console may not do as well in inclement weather

What Are the Cons of a Dual Console Boat?

  • Deck space is usually sacrificed for extra seating
  • Can move from bow to stern using the walkway, but can’t move around the perimeter
  • Less room to stow rods and gear under the gunwales
  • Less convenient for fishing

When Choosing Between Center or Dual Console, Think Pursuit Boats

After reading this, you probably have a good idea of whether a center or a dual console boat will fit your lifestyle the best. You can also read our blog post on choosing the right yacht for your needs.

The next step is to see the difference for yourself by viewing our range of watercraft in person! Seeing and touring the boats you’re most interested in will help you narrow your choices down.

At Van Isle Marina, we are the proud and exclusive dealer of Pursuit Boats right here on BC’s West Coast. We offer a spectacular collection of dual and single console vessels, designed to match your fishing, entertaining and cruising goals to a T. From the 26’ long C260 center console to the 37’ 11” D365 dual console model, there’s something to suit all needs. Made in the USA with the highest quality and dependability. One of these feature-packed Pursuits will be exactly right for you and whoever you love to spend time with on the water.

Ready to take the plunge? Come visit our team of dedicated brokers at Van Isle Marina. Located in beautiful Sidney, BC, we offer a wide range of luxurious new and used yachts and boats in addition to the complete line of Pursuit models. Call or email today to find the perfect fit for your boating needs.

Boat Maintenance Checklist PDF

Boat Maintenance Checklist

Use this Handy Checklist for Boats / Yachts Before Getting Back on the Water

Boat maintenance is a key part of keeping your boat cruising smoothly for optimal enjoyment, safety and resale value. At Van Isle Marina, we know there’s a lot to think about when it comes to maintaining your boat. This is why we’ve created this handy cheat sheet for the care and keeping of your boat.boat maintenance checklist PDF cover image

It’s a good idea to go through this boat maintenance checklist at the end of the season. This will give you plenty of time to schedule the required boat repairs and maintenance during the low season.

Completing all the maintenance needed for your vessel will make it easy to be out on the water as soon as the cruising season begins.

Boat Mechanics

To ensure a smooth trip, take the time to inspect the engine and all its parts. Replace items as needed to ensure your boat is in good working order.

  • Check the engine and operating temperatureboat maintenance checklist - check propellers
  • Check propeller for any damage
  • Test steering for any leaks
  • Check transom mount (if using an outboard)
  • Check fuel lines for weak points or leaks
  • Do an oil change
  • Check spark plugs
  • Check fluid levels
  • Check gearcase for water
  • Check belts, cables and hoses
  • Lubricate fittings (where required)

Boat’s Electrical Systems

Because your boat experiences a lot of vibration and hull flex, it’s important to properly troubleshoot and maintain electrical components.

  • Check battery charge level
  • Check battery connections and cables
  • Look for any acid leaks around terminals and clean as needed
  • Replace battery if needed
  • Check and/or replace interior and exterior lighting and wiring

Hull of the Boat

As the watertight part of the boat, the hull maintains the structural integrity of the boat, protecting the cabin, cargo, engines and all other components.boat maintenance checklist - waxing the hull

  • Check for any signs of leaks
  • Check for cracks or stressed areas
  • Check thru-hulls for rust
  • Check stringers
  • Wash with a pH balanced soap
  • Wax or paint hull

Boat’s Electronics

Not to be confused with electrical systems, the onboard electronics of the boat let you navigate and communicate effectively.

  • Check wiring for any corrosion
  • Check voltage levels
  • Update firmware to latest version

Boat’s HVAC System

Ready access to water as well as reliable heating and air conditioning are essential to an enjoyable trip out on your boat.

  • Check and refill water tank
  • Check the drain for clogs
  • Check for condensate in pan under evaporator
  • Clean air filters and raw water strainer
  • Reverse cycle the system to make sure heating is available
  • Check the water pump impeller and condenser coil for any build-up

Upholstery and Canvas on Board

Seasonal maintenance is needed to preserve and extend the life of the on-board upholstery and covers.boat maintenance checklist - clean the upholstery

  • Check for mould and mildew – clean as needed with vinegar solution
  • Remove and wash canvas
  • Check for waterproofing – reapply waterproofing spray if needed

Safety Equipment on Board your Boat

Ensure your safety equipment is in good working condition and within the expiry date. Replace anything that has expired or is in poor condition.

  • Check flare(s)
  • Check fire extinguisher
  • Inspect lifejackets for tears or missing parts
  • Inspect and restock first aid kit
  • Check flashlight and batteries
  • Check and refill spare gas can
  • Check EPIRB (Emergency Positioning Indicating Radio Beacon)
  • Check tender for damage
  • Check paddles and outboard motor on tender

Click here to download our boat maintenance checklist as a PDF.

Getting ready to get back out on the water this spring? Come and see us first. At Van Isle Marina, we’re a one-stop shop for all your cruising needs, from oils and additives to charts and tackle. We offer a great marine fuel discount program for recreational and commercial vessels. Enjoy full-service assistance with dock lines and fueling from our marine gas station team. We’re open 8 :00 AM – 4:00 PM daily (winter) and 8:00 AM – 8:00 PM daily (summer) and we look forward to seeing you in beautiful Sidney, BC. Contact us anytime for a service request for moorage, haul out, dry land storage and more.