Extending the BC Boating Season

Don’t pull that boat out of the water or winterize it just yet! A spectacular fall boating season is coming – one where you can cruise protected BC coastal waters to take in sights of foliage blazing in incredible hues. Wildlife during this season is simpler to spot, as transient whale pods head south, seals and sea lions bask in the late afternoon sun, and bears roam to the water’s edge to scoop up salmon and enjoy a seafood feast. But these aren’t the only reasons to consider extending your boating season into fall…

Hustle & Bustle? Never heard of it!

Many of BC’s most popular marinas and marine resorts may be booked years in advance during the high season, but come fall; there are often spots to be had that offer peace and quiet. There is also a better chance to connect with the locals, learn about marine culture, and dig deep into the history of BC’s coast. As an added bonus, moorage rates are typically lower, so your fall travel budget can stretch further. You also won’t have trouble getting into the area’s top restaurants or accessing popular tourist attractions.

Fantastic Fishing

Drop a line in BC fishing waters in the fall, when there’s less competition and the days are still temperate. Aim to set up shop closer to coastal rivers for salmon as they’ll be heading to make their annual run to procreate starting in October, or try your hand at catching halibut or select species of bottom fish, including lingcod.

Don’t forget to ensure you have a fishing license and follow fishing regulations.

fall boating bc
Echo Bay | Indigenous Tourism BC/Kimberley Kufaas

Protected Exploration

Framed by Vancouver Island, the British Columbia coastline and Washington State’s Olympic Peninsula, the Salish Sea includes Georgia Strait, Strait of Juan de Fuca, and Puget Sound. It offers protected waters and a wide range of exploring opportunities – from urban waterways to mile-deep fjords and mazes of islands and passageways. Hospitable marinas are typically close at hand, so you don’t have to worry about being too far from civilization should you need it.

Sheltered from the full strength of the Pacific Ocean, the Salish Sea is ideal for fall boating, and explorers can voyage around archipelagos and up inlets to explore natural wonders, watch wildlife, and head to full-service spots at the end of the day or go on the hook and enjoy the solitude.

bc boating fall
Desolation Sound | Destination BC/Andrew Strain

Exceptional Routes

The Salish Sea offers a natural circle tour, or you can focus on smaller loops to get to know each region thoroughly, then come back next year to explore further! Here are a few spots to consider:

We encourage you to explore the regions of the Salish Sea using our interactive map and the links to marinas, communities and nautical aides to help plan your fall boating getaway!

extend the season bc boating
Sunshine Coast | Destination BC/Local Wanderer

Top Safety Tips for Extending the Boating Season

  • Check the weather forecast before heading out on the water.
  • Should you find yourself in a fog bank, be sure to proceed slowly and sound your horn at regular intervals to alert other boaters of your presence.
  • While daytime temperatures can be downright balmy well into October, dress for the water temperature, not the air.
  • Wearing a lifejacket is vital, as a sudden cold-water immersion could result in a temporary loss of muscle control.
  • Ensure someone on shore knows your route and what to do if you don’t check in on time.
  • Carry a marine radio – you can’t always depend on cell phone reception.
  • Carry a few tools and spare parts so you can attend to minor problems should they arise.
  • Ensure that your boat and engine are in good shape and mechanically sound.

For more tips on boating safely visit CSBC’s SmartBoater.ca.

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