Vancouver Island

Travel Information

Vancouver

Back to Vancouver


Find everything you need to prepare for a charter in Vancouver. From important base information to required documents for international travel, you can use this information as your guide before and during your charter. Don't forget to pack a copy to take with you.

Plan

Before you go

Address
Sunsail Vancouver Island
Preferred Partner "Island Cruising"
10990 Madrona Drive,
North Saanich,
BC Canada V8L 5R7

Our Vancouver Island base is operated by our preferred partner, Island Cruising. They are located at the Deep Cove Marina in North Saanich, British Columbia on the tip of Vancouver Island. The marina is conveniently located for numerous inbound/outbound travel options and offers close access to both the Gulf and San Juan Island cruising areas.

Base hours
Monday - Sunday: 8:30am-5:00pm.

If you plan to arrive soon after office closing hours, a marina manager will try to be on site to greet guests.

During peak season (July - August 31) charters are available to start from Saturday only. Only multiples of 7 nights are allowed. If alternative duration or start day are booked in error a member of the sales team will contact you to amend accordingly

Language
English is spoken throughout British Columbia and Canadian Rockies region of Canada.

What to bring

Passport and visas
International visitors (not US citizens or US permanent residents)

  • Must carry a valid passport and, if required, a visa. Citizens from the UK, France, Germany, Mexico, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Australia and others do not require a visa to enter Canada.
  • Countries whose citizens require visas to enter Canada, visit Citizenship and Immigration Canada.
  • Up-to-date list of required documents to enter Canada, contact your closest Canadian Consulate or Embassy

Please note country entry/exit requirements are subject to change. We are not responsible for any requirement changes.

Traveling with kids

  • When traveling with children, carry each child's birth certificate.
  • When only one parent is traveling with the child(ren), he or she should carry written permission from the other parent.
  • Divorced parents who share custody should also carry copies of the legal custody documents. Adults who are not parents or guardians should have written permission from parents or guardians to supervise the children.

Criminal record
Anyone with a criminal record (including misdemeanors or alcohol-related driving offenses) may not be able to enter Canada without first obtaining a special waiver well in advance of any planned travel. Read more about criminal record waivers.

Customs + immigration
For up to date information on Canadian customs regulations, visit Canada Border Services Agency.

Sailing licenses
To charter a yacht in Vancouver Island, there must be at least one skipper and one crew member, both over 18 years old. The skipper should be competent at handling a yacht in close quarters, anchoring and mooring in varying conditions and be able to use navigation and pilotage skills to plan the day's sailing and know your position at any time. As a yacht skipper, you are required to have a sailing license or a certificate from a recognized sailing association as detailed below:

Skipper is REQUIRED to have one (1) of the following:

  • ICC (International Certificate of Competence), International–Prerequisites: RYA "Day Skipper Course" or similar/equivalent certification from any recognized sailing association or complete the ICC Assessment form to prove competence from previous experience.
  • IPC (International Proficiency Certificate), America–Prerequisites: ASA 104 or US Sailing "Bareboat Cruising Course"

and/or

  • UK: RYA Day Skipper practical (with our without photo)
  • USA: US Sailing "Bareboat Cruising Course", ASA "104 Bareboat Cruising Course" or above
  • Germany: Sportbootführerschein See" or above
  • Belgium: Algemeen Stuurbrevet/ Brevet de conduite général
  • France: Le Permis Plaisance

Or a similar/equivalent certification from any recognized sailing association

It is essential to have a sailing license for the skipper. This document has to be registered in the transit log and presented to the port authorities.

Canadian law does not require a formal sailing license for foreign non-residents operating a boat in Canadian waters for less than 45 days.

What's on board

Coolers
Coolers are available at the base on a first come first served basis at no additional charge. Please sign for these and return them clean and undamaged otherwise they will be charged for replacement. Only one per boat.

Mobile phones
Your mobile phone may work when cruising around the Vancouver Island region of British Columbia, Canada. Please check with your service provider for coverage details and call costs. You will need to activate international roaming on your contract, if your provider does not offer coverage in Canada.

Drone
The use of flying drones may be restricted in some areas. For current drone regulations in this destination, please visit http://www.tc.gc.ca/en/services/aviation/drone-safety/flying-drone-safely-legally-current-rules.html

Electricity
Canada uses 110-120 volts AC (60 cycles) and the same plug configuration at the United States, compared to 220-240 volts AC (50 cycles) in most of Europe, Australia and New Zealand. If you are traveling internationally, downward converters that change 220-240 volts to 110-120 volts may be difficult to find, so bring one with you.

Internet
Island Cruising provides wireless Internet access at the marina. Upon arrival, you may request the wireless access code.

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Sail

About the marina

Marina facilities

The Deep Cove Marina offers full service amenities and is an excellent starting point for your charter, with a café, restaurant, pub, food stores, off licenses, museums, chandleries, gift stores and hotels all located nearby.

Shower facilities, fuel dock and customs are also available at Van Isla Marina on Vancouver Island.

Dock facilities
Your yacht is delivered with full fuel tanks. Your boat must be returned with full fuel tanks and empty holding tanks. Island Cruising reserves the right to charge a penalty fee (CAD 150, plus cost of fuel) if the boat is not properly returned.

Enroute to the base, stop at Van Isle Marina to re-fuel and empty your holding tanks.

Sailing licenses

Experience level
Sailing experience: Level 3

Experience levels are based on sailing conditions and the length of passages within your chosen sailing area.  

Experience levels are based on the sailing conditions (weather, wind, tides, etc) and length of passages within your chosen sailing area. In the Vancouver Island cruising area, navigation is primarily line of site, however winds can be strong, tidal ranges are very large and a solid understanding of tidal tables and associated knowledge is imperative.

Sailing grounds

Skippered charter information
Skippers are available for charters, but must be booked directly with Island Yachting.

Sailing area restrictions
The cruising area extends north to Desolation Sound and south to Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC. The cruising area does include mainland British Columbia and the San Juan Islands (USA). Chase boat support service will be provided within a 20-mile radius of the Island Cruising base (per the Sunsail Guarantee).

We may not enter US waters to service the yachts ourselves but will have a local person attend to any problems. We rely on them to respond, public vacations excluded.

Night sailing
Night sailing is not permitted; you must be moored at least one hour before sunset at all of our locations.

Charts + pilot books
All the charts and pilot books you will need for the sailing area are on board the yacht.

Moorings fees + taxes
Throughout the cruising grounds of The Gulf Islands, San Juan Islands, Sunshine Coast and Desolation Sound ample overnight options are available. There are numerous buoys and lots of room to anchor. There is ample transient moorage, but this is very popular, so it's best to make reservations. Moorage rates between CAD 35-55 per night.

Taxes
A federal goods and services tax (GST) is charged throughout Canada and is a 5 percent tax on virtually all goods and services. In all provinces (except Alberta), an additional provincial sales tax is added to purchases and financial transactions. In British Columbia, a 'provincial' federal and provincial seven percent tax is levied on purchases and services.

Some hotels and shops include the GST in their prices; others add it on separately. When included, the tax accounts for the odd hotel rates, such as CAD 96.05 per day, that you may find on your final bill. All provinces and some municipalities levy a hotel room tax (seven percent in British Columbia). The Canadian government no longer offers GST or HST rebates of hotel bills or the cost of goods you purchase in Canada.

Health + safety

Swim Safe 
For your safety and for environmental reasons, the feeding of fish is not recommended and may be prohibited in some destinations.

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Shop

Around the base

Hotels
The following hotels and inns are conveniently located near the base:

Sidney Waterfront Inn & Suites
9775 First St 
Tel: +1 250 656 1131 or +1 888 656 1131

Best Western Emerald Isle 
2306 Beacon Ave 
Tel: +1 250 656 4441

Bevansfield Inn 
Charming modern Edwardian Inn with breakfast and welcoming champagne included
9724 3rd Street
Tel: +1 877 420 5499

Cedarwood Inn & Suites
9522 Lochside Dr
Tel: +1 250 656 5551

Travelodge Sidney
2280 Beacon Ave
Tel: +1 250 656 1176

Sidney Pier and Hotel
2B-9851 Seaport Place
Tel: +1 250 655 9445

Currency
Local currency is the Canadian Dollar (CAD). Canadian currency is counted in dollars and cents. Coins include pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters as well as one and two-dollar coins (there are no dollar or two-dollar bills). Paper currency begins with CAD 5 bills. Currency exchange is pretty straightforward. Often Canadian businesses will accept US dollars in payment since the currency exchange rates are relatively comparable.

Credit card information
Credit cards are widely accepted in most establishments.

Banks
Banking hours are generally Mon-Fri from 10am-4pm. Some banks are open on Saturday. ATMs are found at banks and in retail areas.

Shopping
Throughout the cruising grounds, you'll find boutique shopping, art galleries and locally produced goods to take home as mementos.

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For more information on what's included on your yacht, please view the full list here.

Choose Sunsail

20+
Stunning sailing destinations 
14
Flotilla routes
48
Types of yachts
44 yrs
Creating vacations
4 hr
Service guarantee