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.
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.
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?
- 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 Porpoises
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 Otters
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.
Boat Names – How Do You Choose?
Boat naming has been around for thousands of years, started when sailors named their vessels after deities and saints in the hopes of good fortune and smooth sailing. Names were chosen very carefully since the wrong name meant the difference between a safe voyage or being lost at sea.
There are so many names to choose from and so many directions you could take. Maybe you have a favourite song, a wicked sense of humour, love puns, or simply want to go traditional and pay a tribute to your beloved. There are a few things to keep in mind, which we’ll go through below, to help make naming your boat fun and painless.
According to seafaring legends, it’s bad luck to rename a boat or to give a boat a name that begins with O. Also, boat naming is steeped in lore and whether you believe it or not, you’re probably better off not tempting fate by naming your boat something tragic like Titanic or Unsinkable. Check out some other common boating superstitions. No matter if you’re superstitious or just a stickler for tradition, you’ll want to create a name that really sticks and that you won’t have to change later.
Before you can move on to picking a name and christening your beauty, there are a few more practical things to keep in mind:
- The name should be two/ three words max. No room for a sonnet here.
- The name should be short enough to fit on the transom and still be easy to read.
- The name should be easy to communicate over the VHF radio. Marine radio etiquette includes saying the name three times, so this is particularly important. Read more about VHF etiquette.
- The name can’t be anything that might be used to ask for help on the water (i.e. Man Overboard.)
- The name shouldn’t use racist, sexist, or profane language. Keep it classy.
- If it’s something you’d be embarrassed to say over the radio (like any of these) you won’t want it to be your primary identity at the wharf or out on the water.
Ready to create your list of potential names? Take your time and consider, most of all, what fits your boat, your values and your lifestyle. After all, when you’re on the water, your boat’s name becomes your name, so you’ll want to choose wisely. Here are some basic guidelines for how to choose the perfect moniker:
- How big is the boat/yacht?
- What type of boat do you have? Sailing yacht, powerboat, wooden boat, or sleek and modern are all suited to very different types of names. If you want to use a prefix, make sure it matches the type of boat. (For example, SS actually stands for Steam Ship.)
- What is your boat’s personality? If you’ve spent a fair amount of time aboard, you’ll probably have noticed that she has her own quirks.
- What mood do you want the name to convey? Some options include names that suggest relaxation, fun, adventure, romance, or a good pun to make others chuckle.
- Do you have a favourite animal?
- What is your profession or hobby?
- Are there any songs, movies or other pop culture references that you love?
- Do you want a traditional swashbuckling-type name? There are some great ones here.
- Do you like the sound of foreign names (for instance, La Belle Vita—The Beautiful Life)
- Lastly, what name makes you smile whenever you say it? That will more than likely be the name for your vessel!
Stuck for ideas? Try this fun Boat Name Generator from Linger and Lock. You can select preferences like “I like puns” or “it’s a big boat” to help narrow down the choices even further. Here are some randomly chosen boat names to get your imagination cruising:
- Sea Breeze
- Bitter End
- Adagio (slow tempo)
- Kids Inheritance
- Knot on Call
- Sea Ya
- Midlife Crisis
Before you settle on a name, make sure that no other Canadian vessel shares this name. Use this searchable database here. You can use a different spelling for your favourite name as well, if you find your choice is already spoken for.
In keeping with tradition, you might want to christen your boat once you’ve chosen a name. This dates to ancient Greek times when Grecians wore wreaths of olive branches on their heads and drank fine wine to honour the gods. In the Middle Ages, two friars would board the boat and bless it before its maiden voyage. Essentially, this type of ceremony is meant to invoke protection of the gods and keep the men safe during long and perilous journeys. You can read more about the historical significance of christening a boat.
Gather up some friends, a bottle of something sparkly (champagne is the top choice) to drink, a branch of greens and a pre-scored bottle of wine to break on the boat. Keep the bottle in a bag to keep broken glass from falling into the water/onto your boat.
You’ll want to have your boat ready to go at the dock for a short maiden voyage after the celebration. Read a short poem, say a few words about the boat, and toast to many happy adventures. The pre-scored bottle will be broken over the bow of the boat. Aim to break the bottle over the metal rails to prevent any damage to the body of the boat.
For all your nautical needs, Van Isle Marina is the place to be. Located in beautiful Sidney, BC, we are Western Canada’s yachting experts and an exclusive authorized dealer of luxury Pursuit boats. Whether you’re looking for pre-owned, brand new, a basic sailing boat or a large motor yacht, our team of professional brokers can find the perfect boat for you. We offer extensive, fully serviced moorage and a world-class sales dock. Come on down or contact us today to get started on your next big adventure.
28 Motorboat Types – from Aft-Cabin to Walkaround
If you’ve been browsing our listings for new and used boats, you likely have questions about sizes, styles, makes and models. Because the powerboat market is constantly changing, many categories of powerboats can share characteristics with another type of boat or yacht.
As Western Canada’s yachting experts, we can help make sense of it all.
Whether you need a new dinghy/tender for your yacht, are looking for your very first boat, or would like to upgrade from a cruiser to a luxury model by Pursuit, read on to choose the right boat for your needs.
Aft-Cabin: The aft-cabin boat has a stateroom on the stern of the boat. This type of boat has a ladder or stairs to access the cockpit as well as the helm. It is also a flybridge but there is a stateroom located on the stern of the boat. The inboard engine is centrally located, generally underneath the living room floor.
Bass Boat: Primarily used for fishing on lakes and rivers, this a type of boat with a flat deck, low freeboard and a shallow draft.
Bay Boat: The Bay Boat has a low-freeboard centre console and is designed for use near shore and around coastal waters.
Bowrider: A Bowrider is a powerboat with seating in the bow area with room for eight or more people. The v-shaped hull creates a smooth ride inland or in coastal waters.
Cabin Cruiser: Any motorboat with sleeping accommodations within can be called a cabin cruiser. These are perfect for relaxed cruises and have many modern amenities like heaters and air conditioners. Ideal for coastal waters, cabin cruisers have a deep v-shaped hull and a secure drive shaft mechanism.
Catamaran: With dual hulls, a catamaran is more stable than other types of power boats, but it’s also much pricier. Catamarans are a crossover powerboat, with sails as well as engines.
Center Console: A powerboat with the steering station in the centre of the boat. These crafts generally have an outboard motor and are perfect for ocean cruising with larger waves.
Convertible: A larger sized boat with a flybridge built on top of the cabin and an open cockpit aft. These are favoured for weekend cruising.
Cuddy Cabin: A powerboat with a relatively small, no frills cabin on its bow section. Good as a weekender for cruising the coast.
Deck Boat: This has a flat, open deck plan and no accommodations below decks. Most deck boats are box shaped, creating more forward deck space.
Dinghy: Using small outboard motors, a dinghy or tender can be inflatable or hard-sided. They’re used for transporting people and their belongings to and from shore.
Dual Console: A boat with twin dashboards, separated by a walk-through that accesses a forward cockpit or seating area.
Express Boat: A sleek boat with a steering station on deck level, no flybridge, and a cabin that is forward and lower than the helm.
Fishing Boat: Easily maneuverable, most fishing boats usually have a front bow, features like rod holders, live well compartments and trolling motors.
Flats Boat: This is a skiff used for fishing in shallow-water areas.
Flybridge: Boat with a helm above the interior cabin that is accessed by stairs or a ladder. This provides more vision while navigating the boat and adds more living space underneath.
Houseboat: Built on a barge-like hull, a houseboat acts as a floating RV. Also known as float houses, houseboats can be bare bones or loaded with luxurious extras and are ideal for entertaining and enjoying water sports. Some can be used for cruising, while others are moored in place.
Jon Boat: Usually made of aluminum, a Jon boat is a small utilitarian boat with a flat bottom.
Megayacht: A yacht exceeding 200 feet and reaching up to 500 feet, megayachts are custom-made and accessible to only the wealthiest in the world. Featuring luxuries like large swimming pools, heliport, 3 or more guest rooms and room for a full crew of around 30 people, megayachts are decadent floating resorts.
Pontoon Boat: Built on two or more aluminum pontoons, a pontoon boat has a flat deck and a perimeter fence and is most often used for tour groups.
Rigid Inflatable Boat: Also known as RIBs, a Rigid Inflatable Boat is an inflatable boat built around a rigid hull made of fibreglass or aluminum.
Sedan Bridge: In a Sedan Bridge, the cockpit is almost at the same level as the boat’s aft deck. This means that there’s no need to climb stairs or a ladder to reach the cockpit. The Sedan Bridge and Sport Bridge are similar in that they both offer easy access to the cockpit.
Skiff: Skiffs have a flat bottom and pointed bow, making them ideal for navigating shallow water. In many different sizes and lengths, skiffs are easy to operate with a basic steering console.
Superyacht: A superyacht is a yacht that is over 100 feet but less than 200 feet long. With multiple accommodations and multiple decks, a living room, galley and lounges, it’s meant for hosting many guests and enjoying fun in the sun out on the water.
Skylounge: A Flybridge with an enclosed cockpit, the Skylounge offers exceptional comfort for the captain and people accompanying the captain. With air conditioning, a sofa, a full bar, tv and many other amenities, the cockpit is fully protected from the elements.
Trawler: A long-distance recreational vessel that resembles commercial trawlers, this boat is ruggedwith a displacement hull and efficient engine(s). Made for long-haul cruising with minimal horsepower and fuel consumption, trawlers have all modern facilities on board for optimal comfort.
PWC (Personal Watercraft): PWC boats, also known as water scooters and jet skis, are designed for fun and adventure. Sit down models are meant for two or more people, while stand up models are meant for one rider.
Walkaround: Built with side decks around the cabin, a walkaround boat lets passengers easily walk around the cabin and up to the foredeck.
At Van Isle Marina, our team of certified brokers specialize in matching skippers like you with their perfect boat. If we don’t have it in stock, we will search the world over to locate it. To get started on your search, browse our boats and yachts for sale, call us, or visit our world-class sales dock at 2320 Harbour Rd in Sidney, BC.
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.
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
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.))
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 (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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Understanding the True Cost of Boat Ownership
While it’s tempting to look at the sticker price of a boat for sale and get caught up in the dream, we always caution our customers on the additional costs of boat ownership they need to consider. After all, it’s easy to underestimate what it takes to own a boat, which is why our yacht brokers always take new boat owners through all the costs that may arise.
Our brokers want our customers to love their boats wholeheartedly and feel excited every time they are out on the water – not struggle to make payments and end up experiencing buyer’s remorse.
Keeping the following costs in mind while shopping for your first boat is strongly recommended in order to stay comfortably within your budget.
1. Fuel and Other Operating Costs
Operating costs vary a lot based on the type of boat. For example, the cost of fuel will naturally vary according to the age, size, and style of your boat (sport vs day cruiser; motor yacht vs sailboat, etc). There are also expenses associated with oil, batteries, pumps, lights, and specialized equipment and other rations that ultimately will need replenishing. These will all need to be budgeted for appropriately.
Fuel and operating costs are never an exact science, but your yacht broker and experienced boater family and friends will happily share some insights with you and can assist you in knowing what to budget for these items.
2. Boat Insurance
The cost to insure your boat against damages will depend on things like the size and age of the boat, where it will be docked, the types of activities it will be used for, and other factors. On top of insurance for your actual vessel, you might also be required to have liability insurance and damage coverage.
Insurance costs can certainly add up, making them one of the highest costs of boat ownership, but like all insurances, it’s a necessary evil if you want to moor your boat anywhere. At Van Isle Marina, we can refer you to some excellent insurance brokers who can assist you.
3. Moorage and Storage
Mooring a boat at a marina or storing your boat on land in a storage facility will come with various costs that differ a lot among marinas and facilities. For example, a secure storage facility might cost considerably less overall than mooring your boat in the water at a municipal marina, private marina, or exclusive yacht club. These costs can range from a hundred dollars to a thousand dollars (or more) per month.
Fees are often calculated per foot of your vessel, and paid for monthly or annually. Discuss with your yacht broker where you will be storing your new boat, specifically mentioning whether it will be stored in water or on land, as this cost will definitely affect how much boat you can afford. See Van Isle Marina’s moorage rates to get an idea of what moorage and storage could cost you.
In addition to the moorage fee, some marinas may also charge for things like live aboard fees, optional car parking, and utility fees for electrical power and fresh water supplies.
With most smaller boat purchases comes an inevitable trailer purchase. The trailer is a key component of boat ownership. At some point you’ll need one to haul your boat in and out of the water.
Sometimes the trailer you’ll use to haul your boat is an entirely separate purchase, while sometimes it’s included in the price of the boat you’re buying. Whatever the case may be, you’ll need to do more than just consider the outright purchase of the trailer – there are the additional maintenance costs of the trailer, with tires and brakes being the two biggest ticket items, on top of insurance and any potential storage costs if you cannot keep the trailer on your property.
5. Maintenance and Repairs
It’s common to hear from boat owners that a boat’s maintenance costs are approximately 5-10% of the value of the boat per year. However, it’s tough to go off of such a percentage. There are so many factors that affect a boat’s maintenance cost and schedule, with the obvious ones being how often it is used, and in what weather conditions.
Things that need maintaining are waxing and painting of the hull and engine tune-ups, while things that might need frequent repair are plumbing and electrical issues – again, it all depends on the age of your vessel, your make and model, and how much sweat equity you’re able to contribute.
6. Equipment & Accessories
You’ll need to outfit your new boat with all the essential elements that are required for a day out on the water, including lifejackets, cleaning supplies, towels, fishing tackle, first aid supplies, water sports equipment, and more. Some of these are relatively minor one-time expenses, but they all contribute to your overall cost of owning a boat.
7. Extras & Add-ons
Just like brand new cars, boats can come standard (factory built) or come with several optional add-ons to enhance the experience of the ride. Your desire and ability to opt for these extras will depend on your budget and how much you are willing to invest.
Be prepared for the ticket price of your desired model to go up when you factor in your desired extras. This could include things like upgraded upholstery packages, sportfishing packages, GPS systems, anchoring system, laundry rooms, engine power, and the list goes on. You name it, there is probably an upgrade for it in the boating world!
8. Warranties & Interest
There might be the option to purchase extended warranties on some new models. Study these closely and be sure you understand what is already covered by the limited warranty, and what the extension of the extended warranty will cover.
If you’ll be financing your new boat, the amount of interest you’ll pay over time should also be considered an additional cost of boat ownership.
9. Certification & Registration
If you’re brand new to boating, there is a mandatory boating safety course to take in order to get your Pleasure Craft Operator Card. And if you have a VHF marine radio on board, one person on board must also carry a Restricted Operator Certificate (Maritime). These are not overly expensive to obtain, but they are costs associated with boat ownership nonetheless. If you want to take it a step further, registering your boat (for a fee) is yet another option.
Read more about the documentation you need to operate a boat.
Some boats hold their value more than others, which, in a roundabout way, can be considered a cost of boat ownership. When you go to sell your new boat to move on to something you like better, be prepared for some depreciation if you’re the original owner of the boat you’re selling. A yacht broker can advise you on any particular model’s potential resale value if depreciation is a concern to you.
See our post on Buying a Pre-Owned Yacht for more tips on budgeting for as much yacht as you can afford. We can help you find something within reach!
At Van Isle Marina, our brokers want you to feel comfortable and understand all aspects of the yachting lifestyle, including the costs. We are standing by, ready to help you navigate the experience of buying your first boat. Learn more about our sales process and how you can apply online for financing. We look forward to helping you find and afford the boat of your dreams!
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 Responsibilities
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
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 Routine
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
Figure 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A bend is used to connect two lines together. In sailing terms, bend means “to join”.
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.
Alpine Butterfly Bend
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!