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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.

9 easy knots for boating

9 Easy Knots for Boating

9 Simple Boating & Sailing Knots You Should Know

When it comes to boating, there are many types of knots used for everything from securing line when mooring, handling heavy loads, towing and of course, adjusting your sails.

As boating experts at Van Isle Marina, we’ve narrowed it down to this list of 9 tied and true (pun intended) knots, hitches and bends. These knots will assist you with everything from anchoring to joining two different lines in a pinch. Armed with this basic knowledge, you can cast off with confidence.

Note: When in use, the end of a line is called the standing end. If hanging loose it’s known as the working end, sometimes referred to as the tail end.

The Knots

A knot is mainly used to secure a line to an object, like a piling. It is also used to form an eye, or a noose. Knots used at the end of a line can function as a stopper to keep the line from slipping away, a loop to fasten to an object, or to add weight to the line when tossing.

Bowline Knot How to tie a Bowline Knot

The bowline is the most widely used in boating. A bowline forms a fixed noose at the end of the line and can also be used to connect two lines. The bowline is a go-to because it doesn’t slip and the knot can easily be untied, no matter how tight it has become.

How to Tie a Bowline Knot

Make a loop in the line, with the working end over the standing end. The working end goes through the loop, around behind the standing end and back into the loop. To close the knot, pull tightly. To untie, turn the knot over and bend it downward to loosen it.

Video Instructions

 

how to tie figure eight knotFigure Eight Knot

The figure eight is used as a stopper knot that can easily be undone. It’s most often used to keep a line from sliding away and should never be used for bearing a load.

How to Tie a Figure Eight Knot

Pass the working end over itself to form a loop then loop under and around the standing end. Finish the knot by passing the tail of the line down through the loop.

Video Instructions

 

Heaving Line Knothow to tie heaving line knot

The heaving line knot is excellent for weighing down the end of a line, making it easier to throw the line farther and keep it under control.

How to Tie a Heaving Line Knot

Make a bight (loop) in the line and hold it so that it encloses the working end. Wrap the working end around the first two strands, then around all three to use up the line of the working end. Finish the knot by passing the working end through the loop.

Video Instructions

how to tie half hitch knotHitch

A hitch is commonly used for tying line together (bending) or tying line to an anchor or a pile. A well-tied hitch will hold tightly to whatever you need it to, and still untie quickly and easily.

Half Hitch

The half hitch is used to bear loads as well as tie line around an object. It’s also used to finish many other hitches securely.

How to Tie a Half Hitch

Form a loop around the object you want to tie on to. Pass the end around the standing end and through the loop then tighten into the completed half hitch, which is designed to take a load on the standing end.

Video Instructions

Anchor Hitchhow to tie anchor hitch knot

Used for tying anchor line to the anchor.

How to Tie an Anchor Hitch

Pass the working end twice around the post keeping the second turn slack. Pass the working end over the standing end and under the original slack turn to tie the first half hitch. Pass the line around the standing end to tie a second half hitch and finish the knot.

Video Instructions

 

how to tie a cleat hitchCleat Hitch

The cleat hitch is used to attach line to a cleat. In sailing terms, a cleat is a T-shaped piece of metal or wood to which ropes are attached.

How to Tie a Cleat Hitch

Pass the line around the bottom horn of the cleat and then around over the top. Pull the line down across the middle and then up across the top again. Twist a loop in the line and hook it on the cleat as a half hitch.

Video Instructions

Midshipman’s Hitchhow to tie midshipmans hitch knot

The midshipman’s hitch creates an adjustable loop at the end of the line. Even though the loop can be adjusted, when used in combination with a half hitch, it provides a secure hold.

How to Tie a Midshipman’s Hitch

Pass the working end around the standing end then pass it around again. Tuck it beside the first turn and pull tightly. Pass the working end around again and then tie a half hitch to complete the knot.

Video Instructions

 

Bend

how to tie sheet bend knotA bend is used to connect two lines together. In sailing terms, bend means “to join”.

Sheet Bend

A sheet bend works well for joining different sized lines.

How to Tie a Sheet Bend

Form a bight (loop) in the thicker line and hold it in one hand. Pass the thinner line through the bight and behind first the working end and then the standing end. Tuck the thinner line under itself to finish.

Video Instructions

 

Alpine Butterfly Bendhow to tie alpine butterfly bend knot

Based on interlocking overhand knots, the alpine butterfly bend is used to join similar sized lines.

How to Tie an Alpine Butterfly Bend

Join the two ends, then wind the line around your hand so the join is by your fingertips. Wind the line around your hand again, then fold the join back and up under the other lines. Push the knot off your hand and tighten. To finish the knot, release the temporary join.

Video Instructions

 

Carrick Bendhow to tie carrick bend knot

The Carrick Bend is a great solution for a load-bearing bend that can be easily untied when no longer needed.

How to Tie a Carrick Bend

With one line, form a loop with the working end under the standing end. Pass the line under the loop of the other line and then over and under. Thread the working line across the loop passing under itself. To finish, pull both standing ends to tighten the knot.

Video Instructions

 

The number of knots, bends and hitches out there is staggering. We narrowed it down to these nine sailing knots since they’re all simple to master and have many practical applications for boating. If you’d like to learn more, we recommend visiting Animated Knots for a complete list of knots used in yachting.

At Van Isle Marina, we are Western Canada’s exclusive authorized dealers for top of the line Pursuit boats and Riviera luxury yachts. If you’ve been considering upgrading your boat, browse through our wide selection of new and used yachts and boats or contact our team of expert brokers to find the perfect model for your lifestyle.

Boating Terms & Terminology

A Glossary of Yachting Lingo

 

Whether you’ve got a solid pair of sea legs or are brand new to the boating life, you probably know that yachting and boating comes with its own language.

Boating terms go back centuries and a lot of sailing vocabulary has been adopted as commonly used idioms in our everyday life. Many of us use them as second nature without even realizing their true origins. Just for fun, we’ve matched up a few of the most popular boating phrases with their everyday definition and use.

Expand your yachting vocabulary and have fun impressing your landlubber friends with your newfound knowledge. You’re about to get to know the meanings of phrases like “Anchors aweigh!”, “Move to the cathead” and “Crank the windlass.”

Need a Refresher Course on Boat Parts and Basic Lingo? Take a Look at Our Past Posts Before Casting Off

Basic Boating Lingo

Parts of a Boat

Basics of Marine Navigation

 

List of Boating Terminology 

Abreast- boats sailing side by side at the same speed and position.

Everyday Use: we often use the term “abreast” to mean stay informed or updated. “Please keep me abreast of any changes in the plan.”

Aft- towards the stern (back) of the boat.

Belay- secure a line by winding on a cleat or pin.

Bitter End – the last part of a line or chain.Boat terms and terminology - Bitter End

Everyday Use: When all other possibilities are exhausted and someone reaches the very end.
“They fought to the bitter end”

Cast Off – to remove the line from the dock or mooring. To move out.

Cathead – where the anchor is secured near the bow.

Charts – charts on the water are the same as maps on land. Charting can be done on paper or electronically using ENC (Electronic Navigational Chart).

Come Around – turn into the wind.

Boat terms and terminology - Dolphin Pilings

Everyday Use: When referring to someone potentially changing their mind or opinion. “They’ll come around, you’ll see.”

Course – steering towards your destination.

Draft – the vertical depth of a yacht below the waterline. Knowing the draft helps to navigate through shallow water.

Dolphin – A group of pilings bound together by cables.

Fathom – a fathom is a unit of measurement for 6 feet or 1.8288 metres. A fathom is typically the length of rope that a grown man or woman can extend with outstretched arms. Before modern technology, depth was measured by counting fathoms and lowering the line into the sea.

Everyday Use: When trying to figure something out, you are trying to get to the bottom of it. “I can’t fathom why she would do something like that.”

Gunwale – the top edge on the side of a boat.

Boat terms and terminology - Heeling Sailboat

Heeling – When you’re heeling, your sails are filled and your boat is leaning over, being pushed by the wind. To reach top speed, you want to be heeling.

Iron Wind – a nickname for the engine of the yacht.

Jibe – a jibe is a more complex way of changing direction that requires moving the stern into and through the wind and moving the mainsail to the other side of the boat. After a jibe, the wind direction will have changed from one side of the boat to the other. Whether you choose to tack or jibe entirely depends on the situation, what’s around you and the direction of the wind.

Everyday Use: To complement or match with something.
“Your story doesn’t jibe with his story.”

Chicken Jibe – tacking more than 180° to avoid a jibe is sometimes called a chicken jibe.

Kedge – A small anchor used to change the direction or pivot point. Can also be used as an additional anchor in bad weather.

Lazy Jack – A bag attached to the boom for the mainsail to fall into.

Lines – on a yacht or any type of boat, ropes become known as lines.

Mainstay – the main line that is used to support a mast.

Everyday Use: An essential part of something.
“A good quality engine is the mainstay of a yacht.”

Payout – to add slack to the line.

Reefing – reining in the sails during periods of strong wind.

Tack – tack is used as both a verb and a noun.

Verb: to change direction by turning the bow through the wind.

Noun: the course you are on, relative to the location of the wind. You are either on a starboard tack or a port tack, depending on which side the wind is blowing.

Three Sheets to the Wind – sailing with all of your sails (sheets) unsecured.

Everyday Use: Used to describe someone who is thoroughly drunk.
“I heard Bob was three sheets to the wind last night.”

True Wind – Wind as measured on land, as opposed to how wind appears on a moving yacht (known as apparent wind).

Weigh – Raise the anchor.

Boat terms and terminology - Windlass

Everyday Use: Getting something underway.
Contrary to popular belief, the phrase is “anchors aweigh”, rather than “anchors away”
 

Windlass – the winch used to raise the anchor

To round out your boating knowledge, you might also want to read up on old boating superstitions. Learn about good and bad luck omens that tie into the history of yachting and never be pressed for an icebreaker again.

Ready to start up the engine of a beautiful yacht? Whether you’re brand new to yachting or have years of experience at the helm, we offer a wide variety of new and pre-loved boats. Our experienced brokers are happy to help you choose the perfect yacht for your lifestyle. Come visit us in Sidney, BC near Swartz Bay Ferry Terminal!

preparing for long boat trips

Prepping for Long Boat Trips

Tips & Tricks for Setting Sail for Weeks or Months at a Time

 

In times like these, when the world is encouraging you to stay safe, there is no reason staying safe cannot mean setting sail and living on your boat for awhile. After all, we see an extended boating trip as the perfect answer to self-isolation and physical distancing.

longer yacht trips - enjoying the lifestyle

So, whether you have been thinking about taking a longer boating trip for awhile now, or the idea has just come to you, here’s how to prepare for extended trips on your boat or yacht. We will cover things like:

  • planning your route,
  • getting the boat ready,
  • provisioning and packing supplies, and
  • making sure your home on land is looked after

Below are the most common types of preparations involved when planning for your extended boating trip.

 

Planning Your Route

The best part of planning a boating trip happens right at the start, with the planning of the trip itself. This includes coming up with a loose itinerary, picking the majority of the stops you would like to make, highlighting any new spots you would like to visit, and noting any friends or family who you want to meet up with along the way, either on water or on land.

The specifics of your trip will depend on a few things, such as:long yacht trip - leaving canada

  • If you’ll be crossing international waters, you’ll need passports for everyone on board, as well as an updated insurance policy that covers you in the countries you are planning on visiting.
  • If you’ll be travelling with your family or travelling with pets, you’ll have extra considerations to make for each situation.
  • If the weather or climate is unpredictable where you’re headed, you’ll need clothing and possibly extra equipment for the unexpected.
  • If you’ll be docking up at a marina for overnight stays rather than anchoring offshore, you’ll need to budget for this.
  • If you’ll be packing most of your own groceries, follow our guide to stocking the best foods for your yacht.

While planning your route, it can be handy to consult those who have been there before you, and those boaters are happy to share their experiences. Meet other boaters at your local marina and through yachting and cruising groups and forums on social media. Follow your favourite boating websites, and pick up physical copies of boating magazines, cruising guides, and annotated charts. You should stay on the lookout for localized information on:

  • Top-rated routes, tracks, and safe passages
  • Notable depth and shoaling challenges
  • Placements of navigational markers
  • Tides and currents
  • Locations and opening times of locks and gates
  • Nearby marinas and potential anchorages

Always have a Plan B when planning your itinerary (the B stands for Backup). Unpredictable weather or issues with the boat might mean you have to change course from time to time. Talk to any experienced boater and they will all tell you the same thing: don’t travel on a set schedule. Pressing ahead through dicey weather conditions just to get somewhere “on time” is just not worth the risk, so don’t be rigid with your scheduling.

Lastly, remember to download the latest charts and update any related software that relates to the regions you will be cruising to before leaving the dock.

 

Prepping the Boat

Once you have a vague idea of where you’ll be going and for how long, it’s time to turn your attention to your boat. Depending on the age of your vessel, how often it gets out, and how it is stored, a mechanical or maintenance check might provide peace of mind.

Prepping the boat typically means inspecting the entire vessel for any potential mechanical problems or safety issues, as well as topping up your tanks. More specifically, preparing your boat involves:

  • Topping up all fluid levels
  • Checking all hoses and lines for leaks or crackslong boat trips - sailing around the world
  • Inspecting your hull for cracks or other damage
  • Checking all navigational equipment
  • Making sure your VHF radio is in good working order
  • Fuelling up the boat
  • Fuelling up and inspecting the tender for any issues
  • Filling up the water tanks
  • Cleaning the strainers
  • Checking the AC filter
  • Checking your generator and battery power
  • Ensuring your spare parts are on board
  • Ensuring you have both your travel and dock lines

Also check up on your required safety equipment, such as life jackets, to make sure they’re all accounted for and in good working order. Things like fire extinguishers and flares expire, for example, and first aid kits have been known to get depleted from time to time, so it’s important to check these things before any length of boating trip.

You might also consider cruising with additional safety equipment like a life raft, a satellite phone, and an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon. Transport Canada has more information on preparing your boat for long boating trips in its Safe Boating Guide.

 

Provisioning and Packing

The next category of long boat trip planning has to do with packing all the right supplies. This involves a certain amount of provisioning and creative packing solutions.

prepping for long boat trips - stocking your galley

Packing just the right amount of food, clothing, and entertainment options takes a bit of trial and error. There is a bit of an art to packing just enough, packing only what you’ll use, and packing only what you have room for.

You’ll pick up tips and tricks along the way, but for now the three biggest tips we have for you are to:

  • Pack everything in soft-sided luggage rather than hard-cased luggage, as soft luggage is much easier to store in tight spaces.
  • Get rid of as much packaging as you can before setting sail, especially if you’re packing new toys for the kids, new tubes of toothpaste, and flat packs of pops and juice – leave the cardboard behind!
  • Check on your provisions from last season, and toss anything that might be past its due date.

If you’re stocking your boat for the first time, check out our guide to stocking your galley with the best foods, cleaning supplies, and more. Also check out our list of important items to bring on your boat, which should assist greatly during this step.

 

Securing the Homefront

Just like any standard vacation, an extended period away from your home on land requires some preparation. Be sure to make these arrangements ahead of time:

  • Arrange from a neighbour or family member to regularly check on your house, water your plants, and collect your mail.
  • Book any necessary medical appointments to fill prescriptions and see your dentist.
  • Clean up the yard and stow away anything that could tempt a thief.
  • Winterize your home if you’re planning a winter get-away.

 

Once you have these items checked off your to-do list, all there is left to do is hope for the best weather possible as you set sail for your big adventure.

For more boating tips from Van Isle Marina, be sure to check out the rest of our blog.

Yachting with your Dog

Yachting with Your Dog

Want to Bring Your Pets with You on Your Boat?
Here’s What You Need to Know

Because dogs are such a big part of many of our clients’ lives, we thought it was time to cover the topic of yachting with pets, especially if you’ll be spending longer periods of time on your boat to practice social distancing and no longer want to kennel your best friends while you’re away.

boating with pets

So, whether you have welcomed a new pet into your life since owning a boat, or you have welcomed a new boat into your life and already have a dog (or two!), learning the ins and outs of boating with pets is essential before setting sail.

To accompany our article on Boating with Family, here are the Van Isle Marina team’s top tips for boating with animals, including a list of things to bring, and tricks for helping your dog adjust to life on the water.

Best Dog Breeds for Boating

First off, if you don’t yet have a dog and are looking to get one, compare dog breeds that are best for boating, versus dog breeds that don’t like water. Of course, every dog will be different, but a dog’s breed is often a good indicator of how much your future best friend will love going boating.

Boat Design Considerations for Pets

If you are building a new boat or are renovating an older one, consider adding accommodations for your four-legged family members from the get-go. These can include things like:

  • Real or artificial grass patches where your dog can do their businessdog on board
  • Custom-cut dog doors where needed, such as from the cabin to the cockpit
  • Light and door sensors positioned at your dog’s height
  • Extra guard rails or specialized guard rails where the space between the railings is protected by glass or grilles
  • Installation of extra-small staircase gates
  • Specialized boarding ramps if your dog is too large to carry on board
  • Dedicated dog wash stations for use after the beach
  • Protective covers for your upholstery
  • Added décor that pays homage to your pet(s)

Identification and Paperwork for your Pet

If you plan to leave the country with your pets on board your boat, you’ll need to think ahead for any required international travel documents and limitations. There will be paperwork involved, which vary from country to country, but at the very least you’ll need proof from a vet that your dog’s vaccinations are up to date. Your regular vet might not know all the pet travel restrictions to some of your more exotic locations, so be sure to do your own research well before departure.

Be sure to include your phone number on your pet’s ID tag that clips onto his or her collar. Some owners also go for the extra coverage of having a microchip imbedded beneath the dog’s skin, or else a waterproof GPS device also attached to the collar.boating with your dog - don't let the dog drive the boat

Acclimatizing Your Pets

Depending on your pet’s age and temperament, they might not love boating right off the bat. That’s why it’s a good idea to keep your first boating trip with your pets extremely brief. If things are fine, keep going, but be prepared to keep things short as your dog gets more and more comfortable being on the docks and boats.

As you venture out further and further, you’ll also find out quickly if your pet is prone to seasickness. If this is the case, try and plan feeding time so they aren’t setting sail on a full stomach. This will reduce cleanup efforts on your part. Check with your vet for suitable seasickness medicine that is available for your dog’s breed and size.

Training your dog to be comfortable on the boat may involve teaching them how to swim or training them how to love the water they were once afraid of. There are many pet blogs that cover the topic of how to help your dog enjoy the water.

Dog Overboard Planyachting with your dog - make them wear dog lifejackets

There is a chance your dog could end up overboard. There’s no true way to plan for such an occurrence but making sure they can swim before you’ve even set foot on the boat will help ease everyone’s anxieties.

There are also life jackets specific to dogs, which are recommended when passing through strong currents or choppy water. Most lifejackets suited for dogs have a handle at the top so their owners can easily grip and lift them back up onto the boat. Don’t leave shore without life jackets for ALL those on board.

Likewise, when it comes to the right leash and collar, it’s best to replace the collar with a harness, which also provides a handle or other means of lifting a dog back on board. This could even be done with a boat hook if thing’s ever got to that point!

Bathroom Breaks

You’ll need to provide and then train your dog on their new place for doing their business. Housebroken pets will be reluctant to soil your boat and will have to get used to pee pads all over again.

Spend time and be patient as you coax them into using their new dedicated area, whether it is a patch of grass, carpet scraps, pee pads, or a litter box in the cockpit. Bring supplies to clean up messes as your pet adjusts, and pack plenty of treats for training.

Another alternative is to stay close enough to shore to accommodate your pet’s schedule. But this strategy will only take you so far.

Staying Cool and Hydrated

Be sure there are multiple bowls of fresh water around for your pet. Keeping your pets hydrated on board is so important, as it will prevent them from attempting to drink seawater, which could cause serious health problems.

Depending on the season, you’ll also want to ensure a cool, shaded area for your pets to hang out on board, as constant sunshine is not recommended. If bringing a kennel on board, keep it inside somewhere cool with good air circulation.

Sunscreen for your Dogdog in the sun on a yacht

You might be surprised to learn that there are entire lines of sunscreens available for your pets. At a minimum, these should be applied to your dog’s belly, as well as the insides of the hind legs. Look for a spray-on variety for easiest application, and a formula free of zinc oxide – an ingredient you don’t want your pets to be licking or ingesting.

Pet First Aid Kits

There are first aid kits designed especially for pets on the market that are small, affordable, and perfect for travelling. They include many of the same elements of a first aid kit for humans, including tweezers, gauze, gloves, and antiseptic wipes. If you’ll be doing some hiking on shore, look for a tick remover as well.

Grooming

If you’ll be going for an extended boating trip, consider making a trip to your dog’s groomer first. The shorter their hair, the easier it will be to clean your furry friend who just might be constantly wet and sandy from the beach. A good toenail clipping will also help prevent any scratches or scuffs on your upholstery or special deck surfaces and coatings.DIY dog wash station coming to Van Isle Marina

Boating with your pet can be such a great experience for everyone involved. We are extremely dog friendly here at Van Isle Marina, and love meeting your pets! So much so, in fact, that the marina will be adding a new service that’s specifically for our furry friends.  Sometime in May, we’ll be adding a DIY dog wash station so that you can clean your pets after coming back from enjoying time on your boat.  Our new fureverclean DIY dog wash station will provide an easy way for dog owners to quickly wash, dry and condition their pets.

For more boating tips from Van Isle Marina, be sure to check out the rest of our blog.

Boating with Family

Planning on a Family Vacation out on the Water?
Keep These 11 Tips in Mind

The weather is warming up out there, and we know many, many happy boaters who are eager to be heading out on the water with their families to mark the official start of boating season.

A family boating vacation is the perfect way to escape the hustle and bustle of your everyday routine. It’s a chance to slow down, bond with your family, bond with your boat, and otherwise get back to nature.

It also just so happens that time on your yacht or motorboat is the best form of self-isolation that our Van Isle Marina staff can think of. Whether you’re practicing social distancing, or you’ve been planning this boating vacation for awhile now, here are 11 tips to help make your next trip out on the boat with your kids and teenagers a fun, memorable vacation.

1. Safety First

Practise Safety with kids on board

Depending on the ages of the children who will be on board, there are certain extra safety precautions you can take, such as adding a safety net to the deck to help everyone relax easier. Go over all the safety precautions with young children, especially to remind them of the rules of no running and throwing things.

Ensure handrails are all intact, walkways are well lit come nightfall, and the cockpit is anti-slip. And, we hope it goes without saying that a properly stocked first aid kit and properly fitted life jackets are definitely must-haves. Whenever possible, we recommend fitting and testing everyone’s life jackets in a swimming pool before packing them on the boat.

 

2. Pack the Essentials

pack essentials when boating with family

A great vacation requires packing the right supplies. On top of entertainment, which we will cover in a minute, you need to pack enough of the essentials. For everyone on board this means fresh drinking water, enough food and snacks for all to enjoy, sunscreen of various strengths, bug spray, swimsuits, and towels.

Ensure the kids are packed up with spare clothing, hats, sunglasses, proper footwear, and their favourite comfort toys – then do the same thing for yourself. Remember to stow it all in soft-sided luggage to make storage easier.

3. Hire a Crew Member

If your boat and budget can manage it, considering hiring a crew member to help you captain the boat. Bringing a crew member on board can help you relax and enjoy time with family by tending to the navigation of the boat, and maybe some cooking and cleaning as well.

When hiring an extra crew member, look for someone who is not just a skilled boater, but someone who knows the local area and can perhaps steer you towards new areas. You might learn more about your local area and tour some great new places, all while making memories with your family.

4. Relax Your Schedule

When travelling with more than two people, you may find that you’ll be better off relaxing your schedule a little bit. Throw your timetable and packed itinerary overboard!

family boating trips - Relax

Sailing is all about the journey, so don’t be in a rush to get from destination to destination. Be realistic, and if heading to the shore, give yourself enough time to explore the area and find activities that will please as many people in your group as possible.

You might set out for a destination, but never know what there is to see between point A and point B – maybe it’s a cool little island, a secret bay, or a pod of whales? You might even reach a destination that required a bit more time than you predicted it would. Of course there is always weather and the tides to navigate as well, leave yourself a lot of room to get from place to place.

All that being said, keep trips short when introducing young children to boating.

5. Entertainment

Cover your entertainment needs with water toys such as floaties, snorkeling gear, stand-up paddle boards, fishing rods

entertainment during family boating vacation

, and more. You’ll also want to ensure there are lots of indoor entertainment options as well. Think board games, card games, books, arts and crafts, music, and movies. Depending on everyone’s interest, stargazing at night, or birdwatching with binoculars in the day could al

so be fun things to try.

Have your kids pick their favourite activities to pack along, and consider keeping them reserved as special boating activities. You might also be packing along tablets and smartphones, but try and limit screen time for relaxing once the sun goes down. Be sure to invest in waterproof, floatable protective cases for your electronic devices so they don’t sink to the bottom if accidentally dropped.

6. Involve Your Kids

Involve your kids when boating

If they’re old enough and interested enough, try and involve your kids in all aspects of boating. Show them the equipment, have them steer the boat, teach them how to tie all the knots, identify all the day markers, and explain all the boating terminology you know. Even if it’s just from an observational standpoint while you’re docking, anchoring, or communicating on the VHF radio, involving your kids in the boating process will surely create fond memories for everyone.

7. Get Off the Boat

boating vacations - get off the boat

If time allows, try and get off the boat for a few hours here and there to enjoy some hiking, caving, bike riding, or local sightseeing. You might find the perfect beach for swimming, sandcastles, kayak rentals, ice cream cones, kite flying, a game of frisbee or badminton, or boutique shopping. Do a bit of research ahead of time to learn about any attractions on the coastal areas where you’ll be heading. From wildlife sanctuaries, to museums, to freshwater lakes, there is so much you can add to your boating vacation.

8. Create Kid-Friendly Hangout Areas

If boating with a teenager, it might help to give them a private space all to themselves. Likewise, a nervous young child might also appreciate having a safety zone such as a fort they create, all to themselves. And, if the boat is big enough, try to avoid kids having to share beds. Unless of course, they are siblings who happen to get along swimmingly all the time! A week or more of sharing a bed with their little brother or sister might not lead to any happy children on board.

For very young children, bring a small, portable playpen, which will come in extremely handy, especially one with a mosquito net and sunshade.

9. Tidy Up Every Day

Even a large yacht can start to feel small once a whole family starts to spread out over the course of a few hours. While at home you might leave toys out overnight, this might not be as realistic in smaller living spaces. Try and encourage kids to clean up their activities as soon as they’re done playing, or at the very least, at the end of the evening before bed. And of course, take care of wet bathing suits and towels so they are good and dry the next day.

10. Take Time For Yourself

Alone Time during family boating trips

Once the kids are asleep – which will likely be early, as a day full of swimming and fresh air is bound to tire them out – make sure you fit in some grown up time with your better half. For example, why not share a bottle of wine on the deck?

Family boating vacations need not be just for the kids! You’ll appreciate this time to unwind after a successful day on the water, and plan ahead for the next day.

11. Take Plenty of Photos and Videos

pack lifejackets on family boating trips

Taking photos and videos of your family vacation is always a good idea – boat or no boat! You’ll enjoy the memories and you get to frame your favourite ones for a year-round reminder of how great your vacation was. If you have young photographers on board, entrust them with a waterproof disposable camera they can take out on their floaties with them and snap away.

For more boating tips from Van Isle Marina, be sure to check out the rest of our blog.

The Best Foods to Bring on Extended Yachting Trips

Best Foods for Extended Yachting Trips

Groceries for your Yacht

Are you about to stock your new yacht full of groceries for the first time? If so, check out our helpful guide to filling your fridge and pantry shelves before sailing off for weeks or months at a time.

The following tips are for boaters who plan to set sail for more than just a few days. The items listed below are a great place to start if you’ve never done something like this before.

Staples and Other Non-Perishables

Staples in this case refer to non-perishable items that can be used in many different ways. Some suggestions include:

  • Rice and oatsbest foods to bring on your yacht - pantry stapes
  • Beans and lentils
  • Pasta
  • White and brown sugars
  • Powdered milk for coffee, tea, or cereal
  • Cereals (if you have the space!)
  • Canned goods such as soups, veggies, and sauces

Pro Tip #1: Avoid packing bread with you and instead opt to buy it fresh whenever you can make it to a supermarket or local bakery. Bread doesn’t fair well in the humid environment of boating. Things like English muffins, tortillas, and bagels will likely work out a bit better than a loaf of sliced bread.

Pro Tip #2: For staples and snacks, shopping in the bulk section can be a huge money saver.

Pro Tip #3: Depending on where you’re headed, you might be able to score staples like beans and grains at your destination port for cheaper than you would buy them for at home.

Snacks

Snacks are essential for all different types of boating. Skippering a boat, swimming, and other watersports definitely work up an appetite, and hearty snacks can really save the day out there. So definitely bring all your favourite snacks on board.

Some snacks you might want to take aboard your boat:

best foods to bring on your boat - dried fruit

  • Nuts and dried fruits (trail mixes)
  • Granola bars and energy bars
  • Fruit snacks and fruit leathers
  • Pudding cups
  • Chips and popcorn
  • Chocolate (in some regions good chocolate can be hard to come by, so stash some of your favourite chocolate bars)

Pro Tip #4: For your storage solutions, remember to pack resealable plastic or glass containers, Ziplock bags, and chip bag clips to keep things sealed up and protected against the open sea air.

Spices & Condiments

Be selective about which condiments you bring on board. Fridge space is limited, as are some cupboards. However, the shelf life on many condiments is pretty good, so it can be worth it to spare some space for all your favourite flavour enhancers. Choose items you’re particular about cooking with, and any special items you don’t think you’ll be able to find in other countries.

Some basic condiments include:

best foods to bring on your boat - spices

  • Cooking oil
  • Vinegar
  • Grilling sauces
  • Ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise
  • Soy sauce
  • Curry powder
  • Peanut butter & jam
  • Salt & pepper
  • Oregano & basil
  • Powdered bouillon cubes (chicken or beef stock)

Pro Tip #5: Portion off small amounts of spices you already own into small Ziplock bags for compact storage and to avoid having to buy duplicate bottles of anything.

Fresh Food

It’s possible to pack fresh produce on board your boat. Choose things that will last you longer than a week or two, such as apples, oranges, citrus fruit, onions, and garlic. Avoid bananas, berries, and avocados. Truly fresh produce can be obtained from the ports of the regions you visit, depending on where you’re going.

Some cheeses keep for many weeks, making them a relatively safe choice if there is room in the fridge. Butter, eggs, and yogurt also keep for awhile and would make sense to bring if you enjoy those foods.

Pro Tip #6: The more fresh food you can vacuum-pack, the better!

Drinks

Yachting can be thirsty work, so in addition to your favourite coffees and teas, be sure to bring enough non-alcoholic drink choices on board to keep life interesting while you’re away. Again, it all comes down to personal preference, but things like pop, juice, hot chocolate mix, and non-dairy milk are all nice to have on board. For ease of packing, consider drink crystals, which can be easier to lug around than flats of juice.

Depending on your method of obtaining fresh drinking water on board, you might also choose to have a flat or two of bottled water around. Each person on board should have access to no less than 1.5 litres of fresh drinking water per day.

Pro Tip #7: If your yacht does not have a wet bar with an ice box or mini fridge in the cockpit, have a cooler on deck to keep drinks cool and accessible throughout the day. This also helps avoid having to open and close your galley’s fridge all day, which can draw a lot of power.

Cleaning Supplies

Grocery shopping in order to stock the pantry includes cleaning supplies like:

  • Dish soap, hand soap
  • Dishcloths, paper towels
  • Scrubbies for pots and pans
  • Garbage bags
  • Laundry soap
  • Toilet paper
  • Broom and mop

You can pick all these items up at the supermarket, so be sure to add them to your list.

Rationing

Grocery shopping for your boating trip differs a lot depending on who will be on board with you. If it’s just going to be you and another person, things are more straightforward, since you know what you like and what your partner likes and generally how much food you both will go through during your trip.

However, if you’ll be entertaining guests, or bringing small children on board, things get trickier. For instance, kids will be tough to gauge because they will likely have larger appetites while they are out on the boat and getting tons of exercise during various water sports. The best way to ration is to plan ahead, write down how many people on board multiplied by how many meals required, and then you have something to start with.

It can be helpful to include your guests in this planning phase, perhaps by delegating some meal responsibilities. Coordinate ingredient lists and don’t worry if it feels like you’re overthinking it – getting your food right is so important and will lead to everyone having a memorable trip.

Pro Tip #8: Research make-ahead meals that might be nice to bring if your yacht has a freezer. Some online resources have recipes for bag meals, which involve tossing everything you would toss into a slow cooker into a freezer bag until you are ready to go.

Dietary Restrictions

If possible, get a list of any dietary restrictions and special diets of people who will be boarding your boat with you. Run the menu by guests beforehand if possible. Asking everyone’s preferences before setting sail helps avoid awkwardness and people going hungry until the next port.

To fill in any gaps, visit various ports to stock up on the all the fresh fruits and veggies, meats, cheeses, and breads each region is known for. You might also find that you can catch some of your meals if you remember to bring your fishing gear!

Final Tip: Many grocery stores offer delivery services nowadays, allowing you to arrange a drop-off of all your groceries for your boat right to your marina of choice!

For more things you must bring with you while boating (besides food!) check out our blog post on Sailing Essentials – What to Bring on Your Boat.

When it comes to packing the best foods for an extended boating trip, we hope the above list helps you determine what is most important to bring. Many of the yachts for sale at Van Isle Marina come with more than enough storage space for you to leave plenty of staples on board year-round. We also have storage lockers available to further assist with your boating supplies while you moor with us.

Tides & Weather - what boaters need to know

Tides & Weather: What Boaters Need to Know

Tips for Navigating the Ocean’s Tides in Your Boat or Yacht

An essential part of safely cruising the ocean on your yacht or boat is knowing about the tide levels of the areas you’ll be cruising. Even if you’ve chartered the same passage countless times, it’s good to have access to tide tables and knowledge of what types of things affect tide levels.

The topic of tides is covered in safe boating courses, but if it’s been awhile, check out our brief overview of what all boaters need to know about tides.

Key Facts About Tidesboaters and tides in bc

Tides are one of the universe’s most fascinating forces – for boaters and non-boaters alike. Simply put, tides can be defined as the rising and falling of sea levels. Here are some more key facts about tides:

  • During a changing tide, the ocean’s waters are either being pulled towards the poles of the earth or pushed towards the equator. It’s all based on the position and gravitational pull of the moon, the sun, and the rotation of the earth.
  • Along most of the earth’s coasts, tides rise and fall (go from low to high and high to low) two times per day, meaning the tide changes 4 times per day – approximately every 6 hours. These are known as semidiurnal tides.
  • In just a few places around the world, the tide rises and falls only once per day. These are known as diurnal tides.
  • In some places, the first daily high tide is a lot higher than the day’s second high tide, and these are called mixed tides.
  • Depending on the position of the moon and the sun, there are two types of tides that can occur. A spring tide appears when the moon and the sun are aligned with the earth. A neap tide is formed when the moon is at a right angle to the line between the earth and the sun.
  • When the moon is closest to the earth, tides are higher than usual. When the moon is farthest away from the earth, tides are lower.
  • Tides are influenced by the geological differences in the shape of the ocean floor as well as the shape and dynamics of the coastline – they are not consistent across different areas.
  • A narrowing inlet may increase the speed of the tidal currents, while islands in the open ocean don’t usually experience significant tides.
  • Wind and other weather conditions can have an effect on tides. For example, high-pressure systems depress sea levels, while low-pressure systems produce tides higher than predicted.

Why Do Boaters Need to Care About the Tide?

Tides essentially affect the height of the water you’re cruising on, which is subject to change based on the tide. The changing tides can cause several feet of change in the water depth (sea level), so it’s important boaters are aware of the tide’s direction (is it coming or going?) and timing whenever they are boating. Even if it seems like a minuscule level of water depth change, tides can affect things like:

  • what boaters should know about tideshow much rope you need to tie onto a dock
  • how much clearance you have to sail underneath a bridge
  • whether or not your boat bottoms out on a shoal where just a few hours ago the water was deep enough to cruise across
  • your ability or desire to cruise into a harbour where you might be moored, anchored, or docked for several hours at a time
  • how long you can safely stay anchored somewhere. If you underestimate the tide, if the tide goes out, your yacht might just end up beached in place until the next tide rolls in. If the tide rolls in and your anchor isn’t fully dug into the seabed, your boat is likely going to drift.
  • when you’ll be able to pass narrow channels. For certain channels, boaters need to plan their passages around the direction of the tidal flow. In some locales, it may be impossible to travel against the current.

Get Familiar with Tide Tables

Always familiarize yourself with the seascape you’ll be navigating and try to have access to a tide chart whenever you’re out on the water. Tide charts or tables help boaters predict the sea levels of any coastal region at any time of day. Learn how to read them (consult your safe boating books for a refresher) and you’re far less likely to experience any of the issues as noted above.

In Canada, tide tables are published by the Canadian Hydrographic Service. Each tide table shows the predicted times and heights of the high and low waters that are associated with the vertical movement of the tide. They are available in three formats – table, graphic, and text – for more than 700 hundred stations in Canada.

Tide tables are also available on third-party websites like tide-forecast.com, as well as local newspapers, television news, and radio news outlets. No matter where you find your tide tables, look for three important details on one, including the time of high tide, the time of low tide, and the heights of each. For the times in between, you’ll need to use the Rule of Twelfths to best guestimate the sea level based on the stated low and high tides.

Rule of Twelfths

Using the rule of twelfths is a good way to approximate tidal levels if you don’t have access to a complete guide that lists tide levels by the hour. For boaters on the go, this formula is all you need. The basis behind the rule of twelfths is that it takes a period of about six-plus hours for tides to get from low to high tide and vice versa. (Lunar high tides occur every 12 hours and 25 minutes, which means that it takes 6 hours and 12.5 minutes to go from high tide to low tide or vice versa.)

Therefore, the difference between high tide and low tide (the range of tides) can be divided into 1/12th units. During the first hour after low tide, the water level rises by one-twelfth of the tidal range, in the second-hour two-twelfths, and so on. Using this calculation, in the third and fourth hour there is an abundance of tidal movement, but in the first and sixth hour, there is much less.

When You Don’t Have Access to a Tide Schedule

If you find yourself out on the water with no knowledge of the tide schedule for the day, all is not lost! Simply look to the water at the shoreline. The tidal current is actually visible – watch closely and you’ll soon see the sea either flowing towards or ebbing away from the land. You can also follow what other boaters appear to be doing, and tune in to your VHF radio for advice on tides.

Getting to know the tides isn’t difficult once you get the hang of reading tide charts and seeing the tide for yourself. Unlike the weather, and whether or not the fish are biting, tides are a relatively stable, predictable part about boating. They change slightly as the moon changes – and slightly more depending on the weather – but for the most part, tides are a constant, integral part of boating. Whenever you are out boating in unfamiliar locations, try and learn as much as possible about the area, which we believe is all part of the fun!

At Van Isle Marina – your go-to boat marina in the Pacific Northwest – we regularly post snapshots of Sidney, BC’s tide schedules on our Twitter page. Our staff love to help our fellow boaters learn about all the ins and outs of boating, including all about tides and weather patterns. Give us a call, come see our boats for sale, or pull up your boat to learn more about why so many people love to moor with us.

How to Enjoy Winter on the Yacht

Winter on the Yacht

Tips & Tricks for Boating in Cold Weather

One of the things most yacht owners love is the freedom to pick up and go whenever the mood strikes – and sometimes the mood strikes during the coldest months of the year. When this happens, boating in the wintertime is fully possible, even out here on the Pacific Northwest!

In the right conditions, boating in the winter can be a true joy. So, keep your boat afloat this winter and continue to go boating or live onboard all year-round with our tips for yachting or boating in cooler temperatures.

what to wear for winter boating

Benefits of Winter Boating

  • Peaceful cruising grounds give you room to move
  • Reduced off-season rates for moorage
  • Increased opportunities to brush up on your night cruising skills
  • Keeps you tide over until the warmer weather comes again
  • Keeps your boat in a usable condition so there is less to do come summer

In no particular order, here are our top tips and tricks for winter boating.

Keep Fuel and Water Tanks Topped Up

winter boating - keep your gas tank full

Fill up your fuel and water tanks at every chance you get in the winter. You’ll want to keep both tanks filled up because fuel berth operating hours are usually reduced in the off-season, and water supplies at marinas might even be turned off completely to protect the pipes during cold snaps.

Keeping your fuel tank topped up also helps reduce condensation from forming in the tank. The fuller the tank, the less room there is for condensation to form. This reduces your chances of a diesel bug forming (microbial contamination of the diesel tank), especially when paired with an additive designed to ward off diesel bugs.

Up the Antifreeze

If you’re leaving your boat in saltwater for the season, chances are the temperature won’t get so low that any leftover water in your engine will freeze, but just to be safe, make sure your engine’s coolant has enough antifreeze in it. This is especially important if a cold snap is forecast, which does happen every now and again around the Gulf Islands. If required, consider adding some antifreeze through your raw water system as well.

Charge Your Batteries

Keep your batteries charged at all costs! This might require taking them home every so often to recharge them, or using a small solar panel if you can source one. Keeping your engine’s batteries fully charged in winter is especially important because starting a cold diesel engine in frigid temperatures uses up more power than it does in the summer.

Vacuum sealed linens for boating in winter

Stow Bedding, Linens, and Cushions Properly

If you’re planning to keep bedding, towels, and other assorted linens on board year-round, make sure to store them properly so they don’t get damp. Keeping them in a vacuum-sealed bag is your best bet. This will help keep everything dry and mildew-free.

As for your fabric cushions, there is no need to vacuum pack them, simply propping them up on their sides or placing them in slated storage is sufficient. Just make sure there is some airflow around them.

Keep Your Decks Ice-Free

Ice can form quickly on your boat’s decks. Fortunately, it’s easy to take care of – simply pour some buckets of saltwater and scrub a little bit and your decks will effortlessly be de-iced and much safer for all on board.

Don’t Stow Stuff Against the Hull

To prevent mildew from forming inside your accommodation level, do not  store stuff against the hull. Clothing, boxes, fishing tackle – you name it – these items should not be pressed up against the hull. If moisture gets trapped between your items and your hull, mildew will develop and things will start to smell.

Only Plan Short Trips

Since you only get a small window of daylight hours in the winter, we recommend planning shorter trips if you’re new to boating in the off-season. If you’d like to go out for longer, aim to leave before dawn so that it is still light outside upon your return. This is not only safer, but likely to be more enjoyable for guests.

Enjoy Hot Drinks & Warm Mealswinter boating tips - bring lots of coffee

Bring more tea, coffee, hot apple cider, and hot chocolate than you ever think you’ll need for your winter boating excursions. Have enough travel mugs for all on board to keep drinks nice and warm. Hot meals will also help. There is no such thing as too much soup when it’s cold outside, but in today’s luxury motor yachts with gourmet kitchens, the sky’s the limit!

Switch Your Gas

If you’re running butane gas, consider switching to propane for the cooler months, since propane is not as likely to freeze as butane.

Dress for Success

Pack plenty of clothing so you always have something dry to switch into. Don’t go for anything too bulky – layers are best at trapping air and keeping you warm while allowing you to move around.

Bring gloves, hats, face masks, scarves, thick socks, and spares of each. Waterproof everything, where possible. Don’t forget your sunglasses as well – the sun does peek its head from time to time during the winter, albeit a lot lower in the sky.

Read More: Sailing Essentials – Important Items to Bring on Your Boat

Pack an Icebreaker

Just in case you come across a marina located close to brackish water, which can freeze in cold weather, you’ll be happy you have a boathook handy.

Keep Lifejackets Dry and Nearby

Lifejackets are just as important in the winter as they are in the summer, probably even more so, as extreme cold temperatures reduce the amount of time you’ll be able to stay conscious in the water. Keep lifejackets dry when not in use and make sure everyone on board has one that fits them and that you all know where they are stored.

Check Your Insurance

Double check your boat’s insurance policy to make sure you are insured year-round if you plan on venturing off in the winter.

Invest in Cozy Cabin Comforts

There are plenty of things you can do to make things comfortable inside your cabin all winter, which all involve keeping condensation at bay.

  • For extra heating, consider diesel space heaters when cruising, or oil-filled radiators when using shore power. Running a small dehumidifier at night can also reduce condensation while you’re sleeping.
  • Bettering your hull’s insulation is labour intensive but might be worth doing if you plan on winter boating year after year. To do so, apply a product called Celotex to the inside of your fibreglass hull, then add headlining over top. This will also help with climate control in the summer.
  • If you can’t get to your whole hull, try adding better window coverings. They needn’t be fancy, even just some cut-to-size insulating board or old foam camping mat can make a difference.
  • A cockpit tent or enclosure can add a bit more protection from the elements while helping to reduce condensation in your cabin. It’s also great for storing wet clothing, as it keeps it away from your living space.
  • Try and use the marina’s showers whenever you can to reduce overall humidity and condensation on your boat, brought on by your onboard shower.

Do you have questions about life on a yacht during the wintertime? Wondering what boat would be best for year-round enjoyment? Contact a yacht broker at Van Isle Marina to learn more.

Old Boating Superstitions

Old Boating Superstitions

19 Things Boaters Used to Be Superstitious About

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

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

Bad Luck Omens

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

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

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

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

  1. Changing a Boat’s Name

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

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

  1. Saying the Word “Goodbye” When Departing

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

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

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

  1. Redheads

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

  1. Women

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

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

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

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

  1. Seeing a Shark or Manta Ray

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

  1. Setting Sail on a Thursday or a Friday

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

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

Good Luck Omens

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

  1. Setting Sail on a Sunday

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

  1. Tattoos & Piercings

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

  1. Stepping onto a Boat with Your Right Foot

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

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

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

  1. Seabirds & Dolphins

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

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

  1. Pouring Wine on the Deck

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

  1. Hanging Horseshoes

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

  1. Tossing Coins Overboardred sky at night sailors delight

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

  1. Seeing Red Skies at Night

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

Learn more about the history of yachting.

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