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a guide to green boating in bc

A Guide to Green Boating

How to be an Environmentally Friendly Boater

For boating enthusiasts, simply being on the water brings us joy. However, with that pleasure comes the responsibility to protect the marine environment and preserve it for generations to come. 

The good news is, adopting green boating habits isn’t difficult. Just like the simple steps you’ve taken to be more environmentally friendly on land, green boating can be achieved by making a few changes to your usual routine.

Does Sailing Cause Pollution?

It’s important to recognize that what we do in and with our boats has an impact on aquatic environments. 

Over 700,000 boats sail in the British Columbia waters each year and each of them has the potential to cause environmental damage through:

  • Sewage and grey water dumping: which can pollute our food sourcesgreen boating in bc
  • Fuel and oil spillages: half a litre of oil can produce a slick one acre in size
  • Garbage pollution: plastic and other garbage is often dumped overboard
  • Gas emissions from engines: older vessels can discharge up to 25% of their fuel directly into the water
  • Chemical pollution from cleaning products and paint: cause harmful algae blooms and poison sea-life

The good news is, there’s lots you can do to be a greener boater – and if everyone takes a few small steps it will make a big difference to the health of our marine environment.

How to be a Green Boater

Protecting the marine environment and practicing sustainable boating does require some effort. Use the green boating tips below to get started:

1. Prevent Oil Spills

  • Practice Safe Fuelling – fuelling spillages cause much of the oil pollution in our waters. To prevent drips, use an absorbent bib or collar. Fill your tank slowly to a maximum 90 percent full to allow for expansion. Regularly check your tank and lines for damage.
  • Keep your bilge clean – spilled oil, fuel and other toxic liquids build up in your vessel’s bilge area and can spill into the ocean. Use absorbent pads and pump-out into a designated bilge pumping tank when required. 

If you have an oil or fuel spill, notify the marina or the coast guard immediately, no matter how small it seems.

2. Stop Pollution

  • Dispose of sewage and untreated water safely– black and gray water contains pollutants and soap residues which can impact water quality, poison marine life and encourage algae growth. In Canada, it is illegal to dump sewage within 3 nautical miles from shore.
  • Bring your general waste back – Over 17 billion lbs of plastic enters our oceans each year. Do your part in reducing plastic pollution by bringing all of your garbage back to the dock. 

Use designated sewage pump stations, garbage and recycling facilities at your marina to dispose of waste products. The Georgia Straight Alliance’s Green Boating Guide contains a list of marinas with designated sewerage pumping facilities around Vancouver Island and the southern BC coastlines – including Van Isle Marina in Sidney.

  • Use Non-Toxic cleaning products – phosphorus and nitrogen in some cleaning products may dissolve grime, but they damage the marine ecosystem. Clean your yacht regularly with fresh water to prevent dirt build-up; research eco-friendly cleaning products (or make your own) and follow the dilution instructions.
  • Choose non-toxic Bottom Paint – copper in bottom paint leaches toxins into water as it dissolves. Aluminum-based paint is one more eco-friendly option.

3. Reduce your environmental impact

  • Reduce fuel use – reduce your speed, don’t idle and consider upgrading your engine. You’ll use
    less fuel which reduces pollution and saves money too.
  • Have a regular maintenance routine – tuning up your engine will increase efficiency and catch issues before they can cause environmental damage. Remember to do maintenance on dry land to prevent leakage into water.
  • Upgrade your engine for lower emissions – traditional 2-stroke engines lose up to 25% of unburned fuel directly into the water. Change to a Direct Fuel Injection, a 4-stroke or an electric engine to reduce fuel loss, reduce pollution and save in gas costs.

4. Make the switch to renewable energy

Boating enthusiasts and manufacturers are at the forefront of finding ways that renewable energy technologies can reduce the environmental impact of boating. 

Instead of idling your engine to charge electrical items on board, consider generating your own electricity by installing renewable energy technology such as: 

  • stand-alone solar panel
  • wind generator 
  • water generator 

Check out Sailors for the Sea’s Green Boating guide for more comprehensive advice on environmentally friendly sailing.

The Future of Green Boating

Imagine taking a ride on a boat which is almost silent, doesn’t vibrate with engine rumbles and produces no emissions. These things are possible thanks to rapidly developing electrical engine technology including:

  • Electric outboard motors – these motors are charged via electrical hookup in dock and can provide the speeds and longevity most boaters require.
  • Hybrid Vessels – these vessels combine a traditional combustion engine with an electrical engine, providing the ability to reduce environmental impact while retaining the reassurance of a traditional engine if needed. High performing boats are increasingly being powered this way including superyachts.
  • Solar powered boats – solar panels are used by many boaters to power onboard equipment, but new technological advances mean boat builders are now able to design vessels entirely powered by the sun!

Van Isle Marina Supports Environmentally Friendly Boating

Recognizing that what we do in our boats can impact the waters we love sailing on, Van Isle Marina is proud to offer services to support environmentally friendly boating. Located in Sidney, BC, the marina has a full service haul-out facility to enable out-of-water cleaning and maintenance. Power washing and bottom painting facilities and services are offered, along with ground sheets to prevent waste leakage.

Our state of the art fuel dock includes a holding tank pump-out to prevent oil spillage and we offer a sewage pump as well as complete garbage and recycling facilities on site. Considering an upgrade to a more environmentally friendly yacht? Contact our sales team today.

Canada & United States Border Opens

August 9th, 2021

Welcome back neighbors, friends, family, & boaters! We are excited to announce the border will reopen to U.S. citizens & U.S. residents on August 9th.

Starting August 9th  — fully vaccinated U.S. citizens & permanent residents living in the U.S. will be able to visit Canada without having to quarantine for two weeks.

Canadian officials also announced today that as of Aug. 9,  children under 12 will be exempt from the quarantine requirement after entering Canada if they follow public health measures.

U.S. travelers entering Canada will require a pre-entry negative Covid-19 test result and will need to present proof of one of the vaccines authorized for use in Canada. That means two doses of either the Pfizer, Moderna or AstraZeneca products, or one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, at least 14 days before arriving.

All U.S. travelers must use the government’s ArriveCAN portal to submit their information. If they meet the government’s criteria, they will not have to quarantine upon arrival in Canada.

We look forward to welcoming you and accommodating your late-summer boating adventures. Please contact our marina office if you have any questions or wish to request marina reservations.

On behalf of all the Crew at Van Isle Marina, welcome back and we look forward to seeing you on the docks.

 

 

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.

boating with whales feature

Boating with Whales and Other Marine Mammals

Know the Rules and Regulations for Orcas and other Aquatic Mammals

You’re spending the day out in the sunshine on your yacht, fishing, barbecuing and generally having a great time. Out of the corner of your eye, you spot an orca breaching. That’s one of the many perks of boat ownership — the chance to see these majestic marine mammals up close.

It’s awe-inspiring and you can’t help but want to get closer to the action.

Here on the west coast, a wildlife sighting is a natural part of life, and there’s a real temptation to get as close as possible to breaching whales and curious seal pups, but how close is too close?

Rules for Approaching Wildlife on the Water

For a positive, memorable experience it’s so important to  know the safety regulations for boating near whales and other wildlife. Chances are you’ll have noticed these posters at your local marina or wharf.

Produced by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, this message is meant to educate commercial and recreational boaters on the importance of keeping your distance from any signs of a whale. Unsure about the rules or regulations, or what to do when you see a whale warning flag? In this post, we cover the key points of what to do when you see whales or other marine mammals.

Whales

Species you can expect to see are grey, humpback, minke, fin and orca. Grey whales are by far the most often sighted throughout BC’s waters, while humpbacks are the largest around, at an average of nearly 80,000 lbs.safe boating around whales -whale warning flag

Native and transient whales can be spotted all over the coast from Sooke to Prince Rupert, with sightings from as early as March all the way through late September, depending on the migration season. For complete details on migration seasons and regions, look at our past post on whale watching on Vancouver Island.

How Close Can You Get to a Whale?boating with whales - rules and regulations

  • Boats must stay 400 metres from orcas in all southern BC waters between Campbell River and north of Ucluelet
  • Boats must stay 200 metres from all orcas in other Canadian Pacific waters and from all whales, dolphins or porpoises if they are resting or with a calf.
  • Boats must stay 100 metres from all species of whales, dolphins and porpoises in Canadian Pacific waters.
  • Boats must stay out of Interim Sanctuary Zones – Saturna Island, Swiftsure Bank and Pender Island.

Resident whale species in BC waters need to be given minimum approach distances of at least 400 metres of space. According to Whale Wise, “the Southern Resident orcas are listed as endangered in both Canada and the United States. Only 75 orcas remain as of February 2021.”

What are the Noise Requirements for Whale Watching?

Under Canada’s Marine Mammal Regulations, it’s required for all vessel operators to turn off echo sounders and fish finders and turn engines to neutral idle (when safe) when within 400 metres of a whale. Slow down to less than 7 knots when within 1000 metres of a whale.

Dolphins and Porpoisesboating with marine mammals - dolphins

Dolphins and porpoises are playful animals and love to ride in the bow wave of boats. If you notice these mammals riding your bow wave, stay on course and do not change your path. If you do need to change course, reduce your speed gradually until they lose interest and then adjust your path. When possible, also give these animals a wide berth, turn off your echo sounder and gradually decrease speed.

Seals, Sea Lions and Ottersboating with aquatic mammals - sea lion

Sea lions and seals gather on rocky islets, so it’s important to reduce speed as you pass to minimize wake, wash and noise levels. Many seals are curious and may come up to your boat, but shouldn’t be touched or fed. It’s important to note that if an animal seems agitated or ready to dive into the water, you’re probably too close.

Be aware of kelp beds as well. These beds form huge underwater forests and this is where otters spend much of their time. To prevent otter pups from floating away, pups are often kept bundled up in layers of seaweed while the mother forages for food on the sea floor. Giant kelp beds are also feeding grounds for grey whales. For these reasons, boats should always be carefully maneuvered around these kelp forests.

There are plenty of stories about seals and otters relaxing on wharfs or even exploring the decks of boats. These animals have gotten very used to people but should still be treated as wild animals. If you encounter an extra passenger on your boat, just give it some distance and wait calmly until it decides to dive back into the water.

When Around Wild Marine Mammals, Do Not:

  • Feed or touch them
  • Dive, interact or swim with them
  • Fish within 1,000 metres
  • Encircle them or try to get them to move
  • Change directions quickly or block their path
  • Approach a resting whale, which is floating at or just below the surface.
  • Separate a whale, calf or dolphin from its pod
  • Trap a whale or a pod between your boat and the shore, or between other boats.
  • Approach when there are several boats already around
  • Approach head-on or from behind. They will be unable to continue along their path
  • Mark them or tag them in any way
  • Allow your dog to enter the water or bark at the animal. If your pet is anxious, it’s best to crate him/her in an area where they can no longer see the animal.

Ready to become your own whale-watching guide? Whether you dream of a 25’ centre console model for day-tripping or a cruiser designed for longer getaways, we’ve got the right fit for you. At Van Isle Marina, our expert team can match you up with the perfect Pursuit boat for whatever adventures you envision. Be sure to ask us about the OS 355 Offshore and OS 325 Offshore models. Brand new to our sales dock, these feature-packed luxury cruisers are ready for anything. Come down and visit us in sunny Sidney, BC, or contact us by phone or email to get started on the search for your shiny new boat.

The benefits of outboard motors

The Benefits of an Outboard Engine

Today’s Outboard Motors Aren’t What You Might Expect—They’re Even Better

When shopping for a new boat, you’re going to need the right engine to make your time on the water as carefree as possible. While you might automatically think that an inboard will be quieter and more powerful, you might be surprised to know that today’s outboard motors are extremely convenient. They’re designed to be quieter, more fuel efficient and more flexible than the loud, gas-guzzling 2/3 stroke engines of the past. While idling at the dock, you might even forget that your 4 stroke gas outboards are still running.

benefits of outboard motors - pursuit boats

Adding one, two, or even a triple threat of outboards to your boat lets yachts over 25 feet power through even the toughest ocean currents while maintaining a top speed. Depending on what you’ll use your new boat for, the pros of an outboard engine might just make you reconsider an inboard engine package on your next pleasure craft or fishing vessel.

“There’s been a shift in the market … that has seen a lot of customers move into the outboard-style product primarily because of its performance, ease of maintenance and all the other great things that outboards give you.”- David Glenn, director of marketing at S2 Yachts.

Some Key Benefits of Outboard Motors

Lower Initial Investment

benefits of outboard motors - twin yamahas

Outboard engines generally cost less up front and the newer engines are made to last anywhere from 2,500-3,000 hours. That’s a lot of time spent enjoying your boat! For what’s most often a lower upfront sticker price, this can be a huge pro for many boaters who might want to spend more on on-board features and upgrades (there are plenty of customized and upgrade options on our Pursuit Boats including the option to upgrade to Yamaha outboards with Digital Electronic Controls (DEC.))

Better Versatility

This is a huge selling point for many of our customers, since the ability to lift motors up allows boats to squeeze into shallower spots and be able to move easily from ocean to rivers and lakes and back again. Being able to reduce your draft (the depth of the boat’s keel in the water) lets you enjoy a wider variety of waterways without worrying about getting stuck in the shallows.

One of the biggest advantages of lifting the engine out of the water when not in use, it keeps sensitive parts, including the propeller in good working condition by not being constantly immersed in salt water.

More Room on Board

Outboard motors are mounted on the transom. Without the real estate needed for an inboard and all its components, you can enjoy quite a bit of extra space on the transom. This means additional bench seating, more space to clean your catch, more room for water sports equipment and greater overall real estate on deck. The majority of our Pursuit models come equipped with folding transom seats with integrated storage and Pursuit’s patented backrest for comfort and convenience.

Easier Access for Maintenance

It needs to be said that outboard motors do need just as much maintenance as inboards since they have similar components like pumps and water-cooling systems. They require filter and fluid changes just like inboards do, there are fuel lines, tanks and many other components that need to be kept up to par. The big difference here is that outboard motors are freely accessible and you can always see the engines. If you have multiple outboards mounted, your maintenance time and costs will increase since each individual engine needs to be looked after, but generally, outboards tend to be lower maintenance.

More Efficient Power

The newer outboard motors are extremely powerful with better fuel economy, faster performance and more efficient power. Compared with in-board propulsion systems, using multiple outboard engines creates more speed due to the positive power to weight ratio.

Modern Technology

With today’s modern outboards, the skipper can sit comfortably at the helm and control all the outboards using Digital Electronic Controls, joystick steering, autopilot, even automatic trim. Cruising with outboards on a single console, double console or offshore model is every bit as relaxed as cruising with the same (or better!) performance you’d find with an inboard model.

benefits of outboard engines - pursuit boats

Since 1977, Pursuit Boats have been designed and manufactured with extreme pride and care in the USA. Hand laminated hulls, one of the quietest cabins on the market and luxurious extras like custom fabrics and solid wood accents are just a few of the yacht-calibre features of these vessels.

With fifteen different boats across four categories ranging in size from 23 to 42 feet, you can choose from Offshore, Centre Console, Dual Console and Sport models, all powered by dependable Yamaha outboards. Each Pursuit model comes with attractive warranties, such as:

  • Ultra-premium gelcoat backed by a five-year hull blister warranty
  • Transferable five-year hull and deck structural warranty; and
  • Transferable two-year component warranty.

 

Looking to upgrade to more power and impressive technology to make the most of your next adventure? At Van Isle Marina, we’re pleased to be the exclusive Western Canada dealer for Pursuit Boats and we want to match you up with your dream yacht. From cruiser to megayacht, contact us or visit our world-class sales dock at 2320 Harbour Rd in beautiful Sidney, BC today.

How Far Can Yachts Travel

How Far Can Yachts Travel?

Pairing the Length of your Trip with the Right Yacht

Cruising the world is a dream for many, and there’s no better way to do it than in your own yacht. When it comes to the question of how far yachts can travel, there’s no one set answer for this. There are so many different types of yachts, all designed for travel ranging from open ocean exploration to island hopping.

Really, there’s no limit to how far or how long a yacht can travel, if it’s suited to the trip you have in mind. The success of your trip will depend on how well your goals mesh with the category of yacht. It will also depend on whether you’re captaining a sailing or motor yacht, how often you need to stop to refuel or restock supplies and what forms of auxiliary power are used aboard. Whether your goal is to yacht around the world or explore the coastline closer to home, there is a yacht designed for the voyage you envision.

To Determine How Far a Yacht Will Be Able to Travel, Ask:

  • Is it a sailing yacht or motor yacht?
  • What type of yacht?
  • How large is the yacht?
  • How large is the fuel tank?

Sailing Yachtsailing - how far can you sail

A sailing yacht will take you anywhere you want to go. With a capable skipper, a seaworthy, well-maintained yacht and the right sailing conditions, you can see the whole world.  A fully stocked, seaworthy 30-foot sailing yacht will sail about 100 nautical miles in a day, and she can continue up to 90 days without needing to stop. Given the right wind conditions, a sailing yacht in good shape can sail around the clock at a steady pace of about 5 knots per hour. A longer yacht with a larger hull will have a faster average speed and cover more distance than a smaller vessel.

Motorized Yachtyachts - how far can they go

It gets more complicated with motorized yachts since they rely heavily on a fuel source. If your parameters are how far a motorized yacht can go on a single tank of gas, this depends on the size of the boat and the fuel tank.

The general rule is the bigger the vessel, the larger the fuel tank. For instance, a 75-foot motorized vessel that can carry 11,000 litres of fuel can travel about 1500 nautical miles, depending on conditions, whereas a 35-45 foot motorized yacht with a 100-litre tank can travel about 400 nautical miles.

However, a larger fuel tank doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll get that much further, since a larger boat would typically weigh more, have a larger crew, have more items contained inside and have more equipment—just to name a few variables.

Follow These Steps to Determine How Far Your Yacht Will be Able to Travel on A Single Tank of Fuel:

  • Clean your yacht, make sure that everything is working correctly. A maintained yacht will have better fuel economy.
  • Refuel your boat and always log engine hours as well as the times when you stop and start. This will narrow down how fast you go through fuel.
  • Measure in litres or gallons per hour rather than relying on your fuel gauge, which doesn’t always account for conditions on the water.

What Type of Auxiliary Power Sources Does the Yacht Have?yachting on the open seas

Other than the fuel tank, yachts can run on wind, sun, and water power, options that can power amenities on board the yacht and push it that much further on its voyage in between fuelings. Options for alternative power sources include:

  • Solar generators – Solar panels charge the boat’s batteries and hold a charge for when backup power is used. Some solar panels on the market today are so thin and flexible that they can be fixed onto or incorporated right into the sails
  • Wind generators – Not just for sailing yachts, wind generators harness the power of the wind to charge the yacht’s batteries
  • Hydro generators – Like upside down wind generators, hydro (water) generators are fixed to the transom and can be used to run systems on board, ranging from lights to water heaters
  • Outboard motors – Useful on smaller vessels, outboard motors can be used as a backup if the on-board engine should ever experience technical problems

Categories of Yachts

There are four main categories of yachts. It’s important to know which category your yacht falls into in order to plan and prepare for your trip.

Category A

Also known as Explorer or Expedition Yachts, Category A yachts are crewed and designed for open ocean. They have a large hull that can handle waves up to 23 feet high. These yachts can also handle extraordinarily strong winds, up to 47 knots.

Category B

These yachts are also worthy of the wider seas but are not capable of crossing oceans and are less capable of strong winds and rough water. They can handle waves up to 13 feet high.

Category C

Used inshore, Category C yachts are ideal for larger bays and lakes. They can handle waves up to about 7 feet high.

Category D

Great for sheltered areas like lakes, protected harbours and rivers, these are vessels meant for day trips. Category D yachts can travel in areas with waves reaching under 4 feet high.

At Van Isle Marina, we have many new and used yachts suited to whatever trip you desire – from a week spent cruising just off the coast of Vancouver Island, to a full tour of the Atlantic Ocean. We are also the exclusive West Coast dealers of Pursuit Boats. Contact our team of experienced brokers today or come and view our world-class sales dock in Sidney, BC to find the boat that’s right for you.

Vancouver Island Anchorages

Vancouver Island Anchorages

How to Sail Around Vancouver Island

The largest island off the West Coast of North America, Vancouver Island is a boater’s dream come true, offering every vista and experience you can possibly imagine. Sail alongside a pod of pacific white-sided dolphins, explore ancient petroglyphs on shore and toast spectacular sunsets as your yacht bobs in the waves.

If you’re up for a longer trip, it will take anywhere from 3-6 weeks to circumnavigate the entire island if you sail with the Northwest winds (counter-clockwise.) Some boaters take months to slowly explore every inch of Vancouver Island and its many coves and inlets.

Using the example of a full circle route of the Island, we’ve chosen anchorages in secluded coves as well as busier marinas and harbours. Whether you cruise around the Gulf Islands or go further afield to more remote locations, this list highlights key anchorages around Vancouver Island.

Vancouver Island Anchorages - British Columbia's Bedwell Harbour

Gulf Islands

The group of Gulf Islands has many excellent anchorages. Bedwell Harbour off South Pender Island is a great choice as a sheltered anchorage with plenty of amenities including resorts and a Canadian Customs office.

If you don’t need any amenities and want a quiet spot instead, try Cabbage Island, a small island that usually has plenty of room to anchor.

Vancouver Island Anchorages - East Coast of Vancouver Island

East Coast of Vancouver Island

If you’re heading into Stuart Channel and Dodd Narrows, Genoa Bay is ideal for waiting out the tide and avoiding the heavy traffic around Chemainus’ Telegraph Harbour. If you need to restock any supplies or refuel, however, Telegraph Harbour is a good place to stop.

Further up, Mark Bay on Newcastle Island’s (Saysutshun’s) south side is a quiet place to anchor for a night or two.

Sailing around Vancouver Island - Discovery Passage

Discovery Passage

Discovery Passage connects the Strait of Georgia with Johnstone Strait. A long and narrow stretch, Discovery Passage is where casual boaters tend to turn around, since navigating the congested waters of the passage can be a challenge. It’s worth the challenge though, since the Discovery Passage is the start of true wilderness, leading to Desolation Sound.

Anchor in Campbell River or at Brown Bay or Granite Bay on Quadra Island (part of the Discovery Islands trio) while you plan your route northward. Campbell River and Comox are the last large cities you’ll see as you head towards the Johnstone Strait.

Sailing Around Van Isle - Johnstone Strait

Johnstone Strait

Best travelled earlier in the day to avoid stronger afternoon wind, Johnstone Strait has breathtaking scenery and is home to Robson Bight Ecological Reserve, aprotective zone for orcas.

Johnstone Strait has many protected anchorages on either side, including Chatham Point– a good pit stop for checking weather and wind conditions before starting into the Strait. Favourite anchorages in the Strait include the Walkem Islands, the large Port Harvey and Humpback Bay.

Queen Charlotte Strait - Walker Group Anchorage

Queen Charlotte Strait (East)

The Eastern Queen Charlotte Strait is a fishing mecca. With very productive waters, there are remote resorts, and hundreds of uninhabited and secluded coves to drop anchor. As you enter Retreat Passage, there are several islands and coves for anchorage, su

ch as Heath Bay and Laura Cove.

Vancouver Island Anchorages - Sointula on Malcolm Island - Queen Charlotte Strait

Queen Charlotte Strait (West)

In Telegraph Cove, the Village of Sointula on Malcolm Island has food, gas, and a marine hardware store. Malcolm Island offers wonderful whale watching opportunities and protected anchorages. Back on mainland Vancouver Island, Port McNeill and Port Hardy are the last two small cities in Vancouver Island North and are popular anchorage spots.

Vancouver Island Anchorages - Bull Harbour

West Coast of Vancouver Island

A challenging trip at the best of times, the Inside Passage (leading to Alaska) or Cape Scott are the two routes to take to go around the northernmost tip of the island. If you decide to go around Cape Scott, plan carefully. On Hope Island, Bull Harbour is a good place to stop and get your bearings before continuing onward.

Nahwitti Bar leads to Cape Scott and can only be crossed when the wind and water are calm, and this area shouldn’t be attempted by small crafts. A good way to ensure a safe crossing is to follow behind a fishing boat or to follow Tatnall Reefs, a calmer channel along the shore. That route will add a few nautical miles, but it’s worth it to avoid the fast current and swells. Once you’ve reached the start of Cape Scott, take the time to enjoy the awe-inspiring Cape Scott Provincial Park.

Vancouver Island Anchorages - Cape Scott - West Coast Vancouver Island

Cape Scott

Continuing along Cape Scott there are no anchorages, so you must boat all the way through until you reach Quatsino Sound. You’ll always be in the company of commercial fishing boats, but it’s very important to be aware of the current, dangerous rocks and winds. Once you see the lighthouse, the toughest part of the journey is over.

Vancouver Island Anchorages - Quatsino Sound

Quatsino Sound

Largely uninhabited and wild, Quatsino Sound is a rugged area that deserves to be explored. Hansen Bay is a historic site, sandy San Josef Bay offers three spots for anchorage– Hanna Point Bight, San Josef Inner Bay North and San Josef Inner Bay South.

Winter Harbour is a gorgeous place and a popular anchorage with a fully stocked store. Inner Quatsino Sound is the first large sound on the West Coast and offers plenty of protected harbour as well as access to Hwy 19 back down the Island.

Van Isle Anchorages - Checleset Bay

Brooks Bay, Brooks Peninsula and Checleset Bay

The best anchorage in the Brooks Bay,

Brooks Peninsula and Checleset Bay areas is Clerke Point, in the southern end of the peninsula. Brooks Bay itself is a tough area to cross, with no anchorages in the narrow and deep Klaskino Inlet and Klashkish Narrows.

In comparison, Checleset Bay is much calmer and easier to navigate, and you can go further out to sea or stay closer to Nasparti Inlet and anchorages in Columbia and Baidarka Coves.

Vancouver Island Anchorages - Kyuquot Sound

Kyuquot Sound

Walters Cove Resort is an ideal place to anchor at the public wharf and stock up on supplies. There are many places for anchorage within the Sound and it’s best to access these via Kyuquot Channel, rather than Crowther Channel. Kyuquot Bay on Union Island is a popular anchorage, as well as Surprise Island.

Van Isle Anchorages - Nootka Sound

Nootka Sound

Tahsis Narrows leads to Tahsis Inlet and many calm and quiet anchorages with amazing scenery. Many of these are meant for small boats, like Santa Gertrudis Cove and Jewett Cove on Strange Island. The village of Tahsis has anchorage and some amenities. Deeper waters can be found in Tlupana Inlet, better suited for larger craft. Critter Cove and Galiano Bay are just two of many protected anchorages in the area.

Clayoquot SoundVancouver Island Anchorages - Clayoquot Sound

To reach Clayoquot Sound, you must go through Estevan Point first. It can be a challenge with rougher waters, but that quickly settles once you reach Hesquiat Harbour. The water can get very busy along Flores, Vargas and Meares Island, but there are still many little anchorages in Sydney Inlet like Riley Cove and Young Bay.

Tranquilito Cove in Tranquil Inlet lives up to its name with a more remote location and warm, protected waters. The village of Tofino has anchorage, including their public wharf.

Vancouver Island Anchorages - Barkley Sound

Barkley Sound

A very popular tourist destination, Barkley Sound is the busiest Sound on Vancouver Island’s West Coast. Many boaters prefer to anchor and explore the many islands and islets from a dinghy. Ucluelet Inlet and Bamfield Inlet are more open and easier to access than Alberni Inlet, which is best for small crafts that can navigate the steep and narrow topography.

Cape BealeVancouver Island Anchorages - Cape Beale

Leading back to the southern tip of Vancouver Island, Cape Beale will take you to the northern entrance of the Juan de Fuca Strait.  Prevailing winds that pick up in the afternoons make it best to cross this passage in the morning. The best anchorage sites are Sooke Harbour and Sooke Basin in the Sooke Inlet. Further south, downtown Victoria offers plenty of moorage and all the amenities you could want or need. The last stretch along Haro Strait leads to the Saanich Peninsula, where our full service marina awaits you.

 

The Gateway to Vancouver Island, Sidney is home to Van Isle Marina, where we offer covered and uncovered moorage available annually, monthly or nightly. Do you have questions about trip planning and logistics? Need to fuel up? Our dock store located on the fuel dock is fully stocked with cruising guides, charts, tide books and many other supplies needed for a successful trip. Come visit us at 2320 Harbour Rd in Sidney, BC.

Pros and cons of chartering your yacht

Chartering Your Yacht

Understanding the Pros and Cons of Chartering Your Yacht

 

Picture this scenario – you have just returned home from your very first outing on your brand new luxury motor yacht. While on holiday, you enjoyed a two-week, fun-filled vacation cruise down to California.

Returning home feeling refreshed and rejuvenated, you look forward to the next chance you have to take out your yacht again, only to realize that the next opportunity you have to escape is still weeks or months away.

In the meantime, your yacht goes unused and un-enjoyed, when in fact it could be making you money while being well-maintained as part of a chartered fleet.

If this sounds appealing to you, read on to learn more about yacht chartering and to see if entering your yacht into a chartered yacht fleet could be a possibility for you.

What Does It Mean to Charter Your Yacht?

Chartering your yacht, or enrolling in a yacht charter income program, refers to private boat owners making their yachts available to others to rent out while they are not using them. This is typically done through a yacht charter company.

Companies typically ask their chartered boat owners to make the boat available for a minimum of ten weeks a year. Owners can reserve or block off time in advance for their own use, and earn about 60% of the income generated by the charter company.

Boat Owner Responsibilitieschartering your boat costs - moorage

When chartering your yacht, you as a boat owner are responsible for:

  • Paying for moorage and insurance
  • Paying for all routine and required maintenance costs
  • Ensuring your boat is moored at the home of the charter company, as needed
  • Providing all required safety equipment in good working order as mandated by Transport Canada
  • Providing dinnerware, stemware, and cooking utensils for the galley

Charter Company Responsibilities

When your vessel is in a charter company’s hands, they are responsible for:

  • Paying for promoting and selling time on your boat
  • Providing fresh linens and bedding
  • Screening all new clients and showing them around
  • Inspecting, cleaning, fuelling, and restocking the boat once returned

Yacht Criteria

Not all yachts are eligible for chartering. Before considering if chartering your yacht is right for you, consider the following criteria. If you have yet to purchase your yacht and are planning to rely on chartering to offset yacht ownership costs, check with the chartering company first to see what types of vessels they are accepting.

The majority of yacht charter businesses are looking for vessels that:

  • Are a well-known, highly sought after make or model
  • Are no more than five years old (with exceptions!)
  • Are in immaculate condition
  • Are equipped with a reliable engine or solid sails
  • Are equipped with a motorized dinghy or tender
  • Have a well-equipped galley
  • Are in the 40 to 54-foot length range
  • Have 3 double cabins and more than one head (bathroom)
  • Vessels that are slightly smaller or larger than the 40 to 54-foot range may still be accepted, depending on their condition, amenities, and make and model.
  • Yachts that can sleep more than one couple, for example, a 33’ or 34’ boat that has a double bed and toilet ensuite, with another single or double bunk, are also sometimes accepted, based on need.

So, if your yacht, or the yacht you’re thinking of buying, meets the criteria above, it’s time to consider the pros and cons of chartering.

Pros of Chartering Your Yacht

Offsets the Costs of Owning a Boat

While chartering your yacht won’t be a huge income generator, a successful chartering season will likely bring in enough to cover dockage, routine maintenance, and insurance fees. This works out to be a 30 to 70% reduction in operating expenses, which can make a significant difference.  If you’ve been on the fence about buying a luxury motor yacht due to your budget, there are two main things you can do to mitigate the cost of boat ownership:

  • Find an older boat or yacht to renovate; or
  • Charter your motor yacht through a reputable yacht charterer.

Chartering is considerably less work than renovating an old boat, and comes with added perks such as:

Gentle Use is a Good Thing 

Boats benefit from getting a little bit of exercise out on the water. Although it sounds counterintuitive, a yacht that doesn’t get used much tends to have more issues than one that is used routinely. The reason is because fuel lingering in tanks isn’t good, and the boat doesn’t get much air circulation when it’s sealed up in storage. On the other hand, when you have your yacht in a charter program, it typically means nothing will seize up or mold out on you.

Regular Cleaning and Maintenance Routinechartering your yacht requires maintenance

Having your yacht in a charter fleet is a great way to ensure it will get professionally maintained, as they typically have a stricter maintenance schedule. These regular servicing appointments will serve you well into the future after your yacht “ages out” of the fleet. As for cleanliness, the charter company staff will ensure your yacht is cleaned and made up for the next guests after every charter.

Marketing Your Boat 

Having your yacht out in a charter will give your boat a higher profile within the yachting community. This will help with re-sale, as the more people who become familiar with your boat and get to experience it, the better. We have found that a lot of prospective buyers of motor yachts are looking to buy because they have had a good experience using a chartered yacht previously.

Sharing is Caring

Sharing the beauty of your yacht with others can be a bit of an ego boost for proud yacht owners, providing a psychological benefit on top of the financial benefit. If you’ve gone to great lengths to customize your yacht, you’ll certainly appreciate everyone’s rave reviews on your style and taste. The effect is similar to homeowners who rent their homes on AirBnB.

Tax Advantages 

If you work closely with an accountant, you might be able to write off some expenses as business expenses associated with chartering, or otherwise receive tax benefits.

Cons of Chartering Your Yacht

Strangers on Your Yacht

While the charter company screens guests, you’ll still end up having strangers on board your boat. This certainly doesn’t appeal to all yacht owners. If you don’t think you’d be able to handle strangers occupying your home on the water, chartering might not work out for you.

Not Being Able to Stow Your Own Stuff 

When lending your yacht to a chartered fleet, you’ll be required to remove the majority of your personal belongings, including clothing, towels, toiletries, and groceries. This means having to pack these things back onto the boat each time you want to use it.

Insurance Fees May Go Up 

You’ll likely need to increase the amount of insurance you have on your boat, depending on how often you’ll be chartering your boat for. The price increase could be modest, but it could be substantial, so just be aware.

Increased Usage 

With increased usage comes a small amount of wear and tear. Some wear and tear can be a good thing (see point above about keeping the boat exercised), while some wear and tear isn’t beneficial. For example, chartering puts more hours on the engine, and if your yacht has carpets, these will likely need some TLC after a few seasons of chartering. Fortunately, revenues generated by your charter experience will likely far outweigh the cost of said wear and tear.

To Charter, or Not to Charter?

The pros and cons of chartering your yacht can be complex, as they will be unique to your situation, location, and style of boat you own. After weighing the pros and cons, only you can say for certain whether or not chartering your yacht makes sense for you and your situation. If you’re on the fence, don’t hesitate to interview several charter companies to find the right fit.

 

If you have any questions about chartering your yacht, or about yacht ownership in general, we’d love to hear from you – simply contact us with any questions you might have.

We can also help you find the perfect boat that would also be suitable for chartering. See what boats we have for sale at our sales dock right now. At Van Isle Marina, our brokers are here to help you navigate the world of luxury yachting.

Family Boating Activities

Family Boating Activities

How to Keep Everyone Entertained on the Yacht

On today’s modern luxury yachts, there is no shortage of fun things to do with the family. We know you know the typical activities that keep everyone occupied, like swimming, fishing, floaties, and mealtimes. But what about the rest of the time? Especially if you’re planning on a longer boating trip?

To accompany our article on Boating with Family, here are some great entertainment suggestions to add to your list of family boating activity ideas. These suggestions work just as well for day trips as they do for longer journeys, and they are perfect for creating memories for years to come.

family boating activities - Water Skiing

Water Toys

If your kids are old enough and your boat is big enough to store the equipment needed, try out things like water skiing, wakeboarding, knee boarding, and tubing. Some of this equipment is available for rent, so you can try each watersport without fully committing to one. Snorkeling is also something suitable for all ages and can be a fun learning opportunity.

Kayaks and Stand-up Paddleboards

Kayaks and stand-up paddleboards are also available to rent from various seaside communities if you don’t already have your own. This can be a great way to get some exercise, challenge yourself in new ways, and navigate tighter channels while your boat is docked or anchored for awhile.

family boating activities - raft up with others

Raft-up with Others

If you’re comfortable enough and you spot another boater with youngsters on board, why not get to know your fellow travellers by inviting them to raft up with you? This entails tethering both boats together, either for a playdate, happy hour, or both. If things go well, you can always arrange to raft up again in the future. And if there are more than your two boats, why not raft up to multiple boats to form a full flotilla?

Head to the Beach

If everyone’s in the mood to get off the boat for awhile, head to shore to spend a few hours at the beach to enjoy a picnic, build sandcastles, fly a kite, explore the tide pools, go crabbing, collect seashells, play some badminton, or throw a ball around. Depending on where you end up, there might even be some great hiking trails nearby.

Visit Marinasfamily boating activities - Visiting Van Isle Marina

Visiting various marinas is also a fun way to get to know other boaters and learn more about your local area. If possible, pick a marina to visit that has a restaurant and an outdoor play area for the kids. The restaurant visit is often enough to land you free dock time at the marina, and the kids will love having a new playground to check out. Of course this is also a great opportunity to walk the docks and see a bunch of different boats.

Golfing

Yes, you read correctly! When you’ve tried just about every other activity while out at sea, why not plan for some good old-fashioned golf on the next boating trip? You could bring your own putting green and keep it as traditional as possible, or practice your long drive by rigging something out in the water. Simply toss out a floating inner tube and practice whacking biodegradable golf balls towards your target and voila! Golf at sea.

History Lessons

Depending on your location, you might stumble across some waterfront locations with heritage status. Around the Pacific Northwest, there are several fishing towns and historical landmarks to check out, some of which that have an aquarium or museum nearby. Here’s your chance to turn your boating trip into a teaching moment – possibly for more than just your kids!

Scavenger Hunt

Hand out lists of nautical objects you’re likely to see during your trip to everyone on board and offer up a prize to the first person who spots all the items. Some ideas for your list include kayaks, sailboats, seabirds, tugboats, BC Ferries, a person fishing, floating driftwood, whales, sea lions, a houseboat – you get the idea!

Treasure Hunt

Depending on the ages of those on board and the size of your vessel, you can create a small treasure hunt that takes place on your boat. It’s a little bit like the childhood game, Find the Object, only the object might be something of value that the winner gets to keep. Or, if you’ll be heading to the shore, you can even try geocaching, which has been rightly coined as the world’s largest treasure hunt.

family boating activities - Pirate Party

Plan a Pirate Day

With a little bit of planning ahead, you can plan a pirate party for the kids. This would tie in nicely with the treasure hunt idea already mentioned. It would also be a great theme for a child’s birthday party. All you’ll need is a pirate’s flag to raise, costumes and accessories, and a little knowledge of speaking “pirate-ese”.

family boating activities - Fireworks

Find Some Fireworks

Throughout the summertime around the Pacific Northwest, there are a few major events that kick off or conclude with a grand display of fireworks. Viewing these types of light shows from your boat is truly a remarkable, memorable experience.

Shoot Some Hoops

Find a portable basketball hoop for your cockpit, or one that you can temporarily hook or suction onto the side of your boat temporarily to see who can score the most baskets from the water.

Install a Slidefamily boating activities - waterslide

An inflatable slide provides some easy onboard entertainment for guests of all ages, providing there is easy access for everyone to re-enter the boat after each slide. Young children will require constant adult supervision and lifejackets.

family boating activities - water trampoline

Water Trampoline

Not your average floatie, a water trampoline will turn you into the coolest boat owner around. Completely inflatable and portable, water trampolines are available in a wide variety of sizes and styles and take just 20 minutes to set up. Young children will require constant adult supervision and lifejackets.

Deck Dance Party

Get everyone dancing on your deck, including the little ones, who tend to be the best dancers on board! Teach youngsters the old classics from your hey day, and then have them show you the trending dance moves of their generation.

Build a Fort

If you have enough equipment, have the kids build a little fort on the deck using oars, floaties, lifejackets, towels, and more. They’ll stay occupied and afterwards they will have a little shelter from the elements.

Camp on the Deck

On a particularly hot, clear summer night, why not plan to sleep under the stars on your deck instead of in the cabin? Or at least encourage the kids to do so. They can sleep in the fortress they made earlier that day, or perhaps under the Bimini top if there’s room. Encourage kids to bring snacks, flashlights, and books and games with them.

Rainy Day Entertainment

When night falls, or when it’s rainy, get cozy in your cabin with nautical-themed colouring books, story books, and crafts. Discover Boating has some great boat-themed colouring pages to get your started. Also plan ahead for pirate and mermaid-themed movies, smartphone apps, card games, and board games.

Remote Control Boatfamily boating activities - remote control boat

For the younger ones aboard your boat, you can’t go wrong by bringing a small remote-control boat for them to play with. This can be great if they are too cold or too tired to be in the water swimming. Even the grown-ups on board can have a lot of fun with this one.

Day to Day Operations

Lastly, try to involve children in all boating activities, including tying knots, preparing meals in the galley, steering the boat, and tidying up the cockpit. While you want to do whatever you can to make this boating vacation fun for your children, it’s important to involve your children in the day to day operations on the boat so they get the true experience. You’ll find out quickly what sorts of things interest them, whether that’s learning how to read tide charts, or knowing the ins and outs of the VHF radio.

 

Boating with your family can build fantastic memories for everyone involved. Don’t forget to take pictures and videos along the way! And for more boating tips from Van Isle Marina, be sure to check out the rest of our blog, including an overview of boating with pets – because they’re family too!