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Vancouver Yacht Charter

Essential Information


Address & Map


Base Manager

Larry Meyer


Marina Location:
Sunsail Vancouver Island - Preferred Partner "Island Cruising"
#1-C 9851 Seaport Place
Sidney, BC Canada V8L 4X3

Base Open Hours

Base office hours are from 8:30am to 5:00 pm. If you are planning to arrive soon after office closing hours, a marina manager will try to be on site to greet guests. However, see "After-Hours Arrival Procedure" (below) for details.

Base/Shore Facilities

Sunsail Vancouver Island is operated by our Preferred Partner, Island Cruising - located at the Port Sidney Marina in Sidney, British Columbia on the tip of Vancouver Island.

It is conveniently located to numerous inbound/outbound travel options, and offers close access to both the Gulf and San Juan Island cruising areas.

The Port Sidney Marina offers full service amenities and is an excellent starting point for your charter -- café, restaurant, pub, food stores, liquor stores, museums, chandleries, gift stores and hotels. Shower, laundry and customs are also available.

Within Walking Distance: Provisioning, marine supplies, clothing stores, gift shops, dry cleaning (free pick-up & delivery). Enjoy marine parks, seaside towns and world-class resorts in one of the world’s top cruising grounds.

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Arrival & Departure


This destination offers a number of excellent travel options with service from two international airports, private charter companies and high-speed ferry service.

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.

Airports & Airlines

Vancouver International Airport (YVR)
As Canada's 2nd largest airport, Vancouver International is served by over 60 airlines connecting travelers to over 95 destinations in Canada, the US and around the world.

Airlines: AeroMexico, Air Berlin, Air Canada, Air China, Air France, Air New Zealand, AirTran Airways, Alaska Airways, Alaska Airlines, American, All Nippon, Asiana, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, China Airlines, Delta, Emirates, EVA AIr, Frontier, Hawaiian Airlines, Japan Airlines, JetBlue, KLM, Korean Air, LACSA, LAN, Lufthansa, Philippine Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Southwest, Sun Country, Swiss International Airlines, TACA, United, United Express, US Airways, Virgin America, Virgin Atlantic, WestJet

Reach Vancouver Island by connecting flight to Victoria International Airport (YYJ), Ferry, Helicopter or Seaplane.

Victoria International Airport (YYJ)
More than 50 flights a day connect Victoria with Vancouver International Airport (YVR), Seattle-Tacoma Airport (SEA) and several other major cities throughout Canada and USA.

Airlines: Air Canada / Air BC Connector, Horizon Airlines, Alaska Airlines, Island Express Air, Orca Airways, Pacific Coastal, Sunwing, United, WestJet

Transfer Time: It's about a 10-minute drive from the Victoria International Airport to the Sunsail base in Sidney BC, depending on traffic. It costs about 15 $ by taxi.

Other Air Travel Options


Helicopter & Sea Plane

By sea / float plane or helicopter: Regular service available into Downtown Victoria. Charter service directly into Port Sidney also available. Check with providers for available inbound/outbound destinations.
Transfer Time: It's about a 30-minute drive from Downtown Victoria to the base in Sidney, BC.

Harbour Air -- 8-10 daily seaplane flights between Vancouver and Victoria harbours
250.385.2203 / for charter 1.800.665.0212 -

Helijet International -- North America's premier scheduled helicopter airline. Operating between Vancouver, Victoria & Seattle
604.273.4688 -

Kenmore Air -- 8 seaplane flights daily between Seattle and Victoria harbours
1.800.543.9595 -

Pat Bay Air -- Float plane charters and tours in BC
250.654.0646 -

West Coast Air -- 12 seaplane flights between Victoria and Vancouver harbours
1.800.347.2222 -

Ferry & High Speed Catamaran

Vancouver Island is well connected by ferry and high-speed catamaran service with Washington State and mainland B.C.
Arrival Points & Transfer Times: include the Washington State ferry terminal (2-minute drive to base), the Swartz Bay ferry terminal (10-minute drive), and Victoria's Inner harbour (30-minute drive).

B.C. Ferry Corporation
1.888.BCFERRY / 250.386.3431 -
Extensive passenger / vehicle ferry system linking the mainland, Vancouver Island and Gulf Islands. Sailing time between Tsawassen on the mainland and Swartz Bay is approximately 1hr + 35mins. Appx One-way Passenger Ferry Fares: Adult (12 & up) $15pp, Kids (5-11) $8pp

--- NOTE: For transfer between Vancouver Int’l Airport & BC Ferry's Departure point at Tsawassen Ferry Terminal, take Pacific Coach Lines. Fares are for Bus Transportation Only (excludes tax & ferry ticket). Coach Fare – Adults: $25-$38, Child: $13.50

Black Ball Transport
250.386.2202 / 206.457.4491 -
Passenger / vehicle ferry service offering 4 daily sailings during the summer months (May-October) between Port Angeles and Victoria. Two sailing's during March - May and one daily sailing from October - November. Travel time is approximately 1.5 hrs. Arrive to Victoria's Inner harbour, approximately 30-minutes from the base. Appx One-way Passenger Fares: Adult $17pp, Kids (5-11) $9

Victoria Clipper
1.800.888.2535 / 206.448.5000 / 250.382.8100 -
A passenger-only ferry that has 4 daily summer sailings between Seattle and Victoria and one daily winter sailing. Travel time between Seattle's Pier 69 and Victoria's Inner Harbour varies from 1 hr 45 min to 4 hrs. Arrive to Victoria's Inner harbour, approximately 30-minutes from the base. Appx One-way Passenger Fares: $100-$150pp – varies by season & if advance purchase

Washington State Ferries
1.800.381.1551 / 206.464.6400 -
Passenger / vehicle ferry linking Anacortes, WA and Sidney. 2 sailings daily during the summer months. Appx One-way Passenger Fares: Adult $18pp, Youth $14.50

Passports, Visas & Interational Travel Regulations

For more information about regulations please see here

Entry into Canada is solely determined by Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) officials in accordance with Canadian law.

U.S. Citizens
– When visiting Canada, U.S. Citizens must show a passport for entry. When returning to the U.S., The Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative requires all persons who enter or re-enter the United States via air, land or sea from any foreign destination to have a passport or other accepted form of documentation.
– Travel Documents: Both the U.S. and Canadian governments urge frequent travelers to join the NEXUS trusted traveler program - Members get a special travel card that allows expedited border crossings for both private and commercial travelers through U.S. and Canadian border controls.
– If a U.S. citizen traveling to Canada does not have a passport, passport card, or approved alternate document such as a NEXUS card, they must show a government-issued photo ID (e.g. Driver’s License) and proof of U.S. citizenship (such as a U.S. birth certificate, naturalization certificate, or expired U.S. passport). Children under 16 need only present proof of U.S. citizenship.
– U.S. citizens entering Canada from a third country must have a valid U.S. passport.
– For temporary visits to Canada for less than 180 days, a visa is not required for U.S. citizens in most cases.

International Visitors (ie. 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 & 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. Please check with your local government or travel office for up to date information or passeport requirements. Sunsail is not accountable for any requirement changes.

Traveling with Kids
– When travelling with children, carry each child's birth certificate.
– When only one parent is travelling 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.

If you have a Criminal Record - Even Misdomeanors
– 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. For details -

– For up-to-date info on Canadian customs regulations, visit Canada Border Services Agency -

WHILE ON CHARTER - Travel for Private Boaters and Recreational Vessels
Canadian law requires all foreign private boaters, including recreational vessels, to present themselves upon their arrival in Canada to the CBSA. Private boaters who depart Canada, enter foreign waters, and subsequently return to Canada also must present themselves to the CBSA when they return. Arrival in Canada occurs when the pleasure craft crosses the international boundary into Canadian waters. This provision applies regardless of whether or not boaters drop anchor, land, enter an inland tributary or moor alongside another vessel while in foreign waters. Failure to report entry may result in detention, seizure or forfeiture of the vessel and/or monetary penalties. Upon entering Canadian waters, private boaters who qualify can present themselves to the CBSA by calling the Telephone Reporting Centre (TRC) at 1-888-226-7277. All other private boaters, including vessels carrying foreign nationals (other than U.S. citizens or permanent residents), must proceed directly to a designated marine telephone reporting site and place a call to the TRC in order to obtain CBSA clearance.

This process will be covered in your chart briefing.

Local Transfers

Pacific Coach Lines - NOTE: For Transfer between Vancouver to Victoria, Vancouver Island
– Pacific Coach Lines easily connects you to Victoria, B.C. from Vancouver International Airport by taking you to the ferry terminal to ferry transfer across to Victoria
– Buy tickets at the Pacific Coach Lines bus counter located in our Domestic Terminal, Level 2; International Terminal Arrivals counter or on the motor coach. Reservations are encouraged and can be booked online.
– Operates year-round with 7 daily departures in each direction
– Approx fare cost: $25-$38
– For the latest bus fares & to book online -

FREE Shuttle Service on Vancouver Island - by Island Cruising
If your scheduled arrival/departure time is during regular business hours, Sunsail's Preferred Partner, Island Cruising, will pick you up and drop you off at the Victoria International Airport, Swartz Bay Ferry Terminal or Anacortes-Washington Ferry Terminal in Victoria, Vancouver Island.
Transfer Times: 10-minute drive or less to the base

Taxi - Vancouver Island
Taxis can be easily hailed at the airport upon your arrival.
When departing for the airport, the Sunsail office can call a taxi for you.
– Yellow Cab of Victoria - 800-808-6881 & Local 250-381-2222 -
– Peninsula Taxi - 250.656.1111 - Minivans & tours available

Limousine - Vancouver Island
– Knight Limousine - 250.598.5855 -
Fleet includes Luxury Sedans up to 16 passenger mini-buses available. NOTE: Vehicles are not wheelchair accessible.

Airport Shuttle - Vancouver Island
– AKAL Airporter
877-386-2525 & Local 250-386-2525
Operates daily (1/2 hour service) from Victoria International Airport to all hotels in downtown Victoria. Call to confirm custom service to the base.
Approximate Costs Per Person: Adult to Downtown Area - $21/ea, Adult Outside Downtown Area - $27/ea. Children (Age 3-12) - $13/ea, Under Age 3 - Free
Discounts for groups of 3 or more.

Car Rental

Vancouver International Airport is served by:
Five (5) on-airport car rental companies, located just steps from the terminal on the ground floor of the parkade. Pick-up and drop-off service is available here.
– Avis - 1-800-879-2847 -
– Budget - 1-800-668-9833 & Local 250-953-5300 -
– Hertz - 1-800-263-0600 -
– National - 1-800-227-7368 & Local 250-656-2541 -
– Thrifty/Dollar -

One (1) off-airport car rental companies:
– Enterprise Rent-A-Car - Local: 250-655-7368 -
NOTE: Enterprise is located near the airport. A direct dialed phone for Enterprise car rental shuttles is located at the car rental bus shelter in the Economy Parking Lot.

Victoria International Airport is served by:
Four (4) on-airport car rental companies, located in the Arrivals area directly across from the Information Desk.
– Avis - 1-800-879-2847 -
– Budget - 1-800-668-9833 & Local 250-953-5300 -
– Hertz - 1-800-263-0600 -
– National - 1-800-227-7368 & Local 250-656-2541 -

One (1) off-airport car rental companies:
NOTE: Off airport rental car operators do NOT have counters at the Victoria International Airport. Pick-up needs to be pre-arranged at the time of booking. The off-airport customer pick-up area is located across the crosswalk at the arrivals end of the terminal building.
– Enterprise Rent-A-Car - Local: 250-655-7368 -

Note: Members of the American Automobile Association (AAA) should remember to take their membership cards since Canadian Automobile Association (CAA; tel. 800/222-4357; extends privileges to them in Canada.

Driving Directions - On Vancouver Island

From Swartz Bay:
Follow HWY 17 to the second set of lights and turn left onto Beacon Avenue. Take your last left before the fisherman's wharf on Seaport Place. Port Sidney is at the end of this dead-end street. Island Cruising's offices face Port Sidney in the building at the top of the Port Sidney ramp, next to the Breakwater Café.

From Victoria International Airport:
Follow the road leading out of the airport and turn left on McTavish and then a left at the lights on to HWY 17. The next set of lights is Beacon Avenue, turn right. Continue with the directions for Seaport Place above.

From downtown Victoria:
Get onto HWY 17 northbound (Blanchard Street turns into HWY 17) and follow for approximately 30mins. Look for the signs for the Town of Sidney and take the right exit on Beacon Avenue. Follow directions for Seaport Place above.

Parking (at the base)

If you are driving to the base for your charter, please check with the Sunsail Guest Reception upon arrival for parking availability. They will assist you in finding a parking area.

Arrival Procedure

Embarkation: All boats are prepared, as per the booking, with charters starting at 10am or 4pm (with evening start).

Briefing Times: Boat/Chart Briefings are scheduled at 9:00am for 10am starts / 3pm for evening starts. All head charterers are required to attend the briefings. This boat briefing is mandatory and takes approx 1 hour. If we have 2 boats starting at the same time, we may do this brief with other guests. Briefings are scheduled by the base. Level of Chart Briefing will be based on your knowledge of the Vancouver Island, BC cruising area.

NOTE: For guests with an Evening Start, depending on the season, hours of daylight remaining and the conditions, Island Cruising may allow you to depart on your charter if sufficient daylight is available for you to reach your first overnight anchorage. This decision is at the sole discretion of Island Cruising.

After-Hours Arrival Procedure

If you have booked an Evening Start, which are scheduled to begin at 4pm, a representative will be there to greet you and walk you to your boat.

If you plan to arrive after office hours, a message will be left on the office door indicating the location of your boat on the dock. Your Boat Briefing and Chart Briefing will be conducted the following morning.

Departure Procedure

Disembarkation: All charters end at 10am at which time the boat must be returned and ready for debriefing and checks.

Charterers may return to the base on the same morning as disembarking – you can spend the night at Sidney Spit or Poets Cove and still get back on time. You are NOT required to return the evening before disembarking.

Before disembarkation please collect a debrief form from reception. The debrief form is to let us know if you have encountered any problems with the boat or broken anything during the trip, this enables us to rectify problems for the next charter.

In addition to filling in forms we also require you to bag dirty laundry and leave in the cockpit, empty all cupboards and refrigerator of food and throw away, return any lifejackets borrowed from reception and ensure that the boat is handed back in a clean and tidy state. We reserve the right to charge for boats left less than shipshape.

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Sailing Information

Sailing Experience – Level 3
Vancouver Island is a Level 3 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 Licenses

All Sunsail Bareboat Charter guests (skipper and 1st Mate) will be required to fill in a Sailing resume to confirm that you have the necessary skills to sail in this region, if you have not already done so already. Whether you are a resident of Canada or not, we strongly advise that you take any sailing certificates on vacation with you. This may be useful should you be contacted by the Coast Guard, Customs or Port Police.

Canada Boating Regulations for Residents:
A Pleasure Crafter Operator Card (i.e. boating license) is required for Canadian residents operating any power driven vessel (includes recreational boat, personal watercraft, sailing vessel, or other type of craft fitted with any size motor). There are no exemptions for age, size of boat or engine size. For more information, visit

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

Night Time Sailing  

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

Sailing Area Limits

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).

Restricted Zones

This information is covered in the chart briefing.

Marinas, Mooring Fees & Taxes

Throughout the cruising grounds of The Gulf Islands, San Juan Islands, Sunshine Coast and Desolation Sound ample over night options are available. There are numerous buoys and lots of room to anchor. There is ample transient moorage, but this is very popular, so its best to make reservations. Moorage rates between C$35 - C$55 per night.

Sailing Area & Interesting Sites

View "Sailing Conditions" and "Itineraries" for more information on sailing in this area.

One-Way Itineraries

We are pleased to offer One-Way cruising from the Island Cruising Base in Sidney, BC with drop-off service at Island Cruising's satellite base in Comox - which is located at the Pacific Playgrounds region. A one-way charter with drop off in Comox will provide you with unparalleled access to the Desolation Sound cruising area and beyond. Ask your Sunsail Agent for specific itinerary details.

The Island Cruising - Satellite Base (Comox) offers easy flight access via Comox Airport, an excellent grocery store, accommodations, liquor store and Riverside Pub, all within walking distance of the marina. The marina also offers the closest access to Desolation Sound available from any B.C. Bareboat Charter Association Member.

Please note that Island Cruising does not offer a airport/ferry shuttle service from the Comox Airport to Pacific Playgrounds. We recommend reserving a spot on the Ambassador Shuttle Service: visit their website to make your reservation or call toll-free at 1-877-339-5252.

National Park Permits

There are hundreds of Marine Parks with anchoring or mooring facilities that are accessible within the cruising grounds. All entry fees are paid on arrival.
For BC Marine Parks – Listing of all Parks, Things To Do, Marinas & Fees, visit this website

Here are a few Parks:
Broughton Archipelago Marine Provincial Park
Catala Island Marine Provincial Park
Cormorant Channel Marine Provincial Park
D'Arcy Island Marine Park (Gulf Islands NP)
Discovery Island Marine Provincial Park
Echo Bay Marine Provincial Park
Whaleboat Island Marine Provincial Park
Thurston Bay Marine Provincial Park
Sandy Island Marine Provincial Park
Rugged Point Marine Provincial Park
Rebecca Spit Marine Provincial Park
Race Rocks Ecological Reserve
Princess Margaret Marine Park (Gulf Islands NP)
Jedediah Island Marine Provincial Park
Isle-de-Lis Marine Park (Gulf Islands Rock Bay Marine Provincial Park NP)
Ha'thayim (Von Donop) Marine Provincial Park
God's Pocket Marine Provincial Park
Gibson Marine Provincial Park
Dixie Cove Provincial Park
Maquinna Marine Provincial Park
Montague Harbour Marine Provincial Park
Newcastle Island Marine Provincial Park
Octopus Islands Provincial Park
Pirates Cove Marine Provincial Park

Charts & Pilot Book

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


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 ($150 + cost of fuel) if the boat is not properly returned.

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


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.

Skippered Charter Information

Check Out Skippers: Skippers are available for charters, and will greet you for your charter. They are only onboard up to a day on your charter.
The skipper’s time is booked for a 24-hour period. If you have reserved him for the first day of your charter and have a 10:00am start, he will use this time to ensure he's happy with all aspects of the yacht and will be at the base to meet you upon your arrival.

Skippered Yacht Charter: Skipper is onboard for the duration of your vacation and will greet you at the base the morning of your departure at 10:00am or 4:00pm (with evening start).

The skipper is required to give you as much information as you require concerning the yacht, its systems, sailing skills and navigation in general - including a thorough briefing on all aspects of the yacht and dinghy. The skipper will assist you with planning an itinerary and advise you on how to contact the base, the return to base procedures and the emergency assistance procedures. It is suggested that you attend the scheduled chart brief that will be supplemented by the skipper during his time with you on the yacht. It is also suggested that you make it clear exactly what you want to cover…anchoring, docking, etc.

The skipper fee does not include food or beverages for the skipper and are the responsibility of the client. Skipper provisioning should be added to your contract at the time you request a Skipper. The skipper must be provided cabin and bath accommodation.

The skipper is responsible for the safety of the yacht at all times. He is not permitted to dive with you, nor leave the vessel overnight. He must conduct a safety brief with you before leaving the dock regardless of the duration of his contract with you.

For one-day check out skipper’s it is the client’s responsibility to get the skipper back to the base. If you prefer not to come back to the base you must pay for his expenses (ferry, taxi, etc.) to get him back to the base. The average tip for a skipper is 15-20% of the skipper’s fee. This is, of course, at the client’s discretion.

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Banks & Money Exchange


Banking hours are generally 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday to Friday. Some banks are open on Saturday. ATMs (automated teller machines) are found at banks and in retail areas.

Currency & Money Exchange

Local currency is the Canadian Dollar (C$)

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 $5 bills. Currency exchange is pretty straightforward. Often Canadian businesses will accept U.S. dollars in payment since the currency exchange rates are relatively comparable.

Credit Card Information

Credit cards are widely accepted in most establishments. 

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General Information


Sidney, home to the Sunsail base, is located on Vancouver Island in British Columbia (BC) Canada. BC is Canada's western most province, set between the Pacific Ocean and the Rocky Mountains. Blessed with breathtaking landscapes, visitors can enjoy a vast array of activities and adventures ranging from mountain climbing to beach combing, hiking and relaxing in the sun. The destination also offers cosmopolitan culture, world class exhibitions, shopping and dining.

The "region" of Vancouver Island is a large, sparsely populated area encompassing Vancouver Island, the Gulf Islands and part of mainland BC. It has a very diverse ecosystem and is one of the world's premier locations for whale watching, birding, salmon & trout fishing. Much of the island is also a protected parkland. It's also home to art galleries, studios and shops selling unique, locally produced arts and crafts, particularly on the Gulf Islands.


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

Business Hours

Standard business hours in Canada are similar to those in the U.S., usually 10am to 6pm. It is common for stores to be closed on Sundays, particularly outside of the larger cities and major tourist areas. On major holidays, some businesses maybe closed.

Tipping Policy

Tipping is standard and expected in all restaurants / bars and for other services undertaken during your vacation. Some establishments automatically add this onto the bill. Recommendations for tipping in Canada:
– Restaurants, Bars & Nightclubs: 15%-20% of check is generally acceptable if it has not been added to your bill
– Hotels: Bellhops C$2/bag, Housekeepers C$1-C$2/day
– Doorman or Concierge: Only if providing you a specific service (ex. calling a cab, difficult-to-get event tickets)
– Valet Parking Attendant - Suggested Tipping: C$1/car pick-up,
– Cab drivers: 15% of the fare
– Skycaps at airports: C$2/bag


Most of British Columbia is in the Pacific Time Zone, which is 3 hours earlier than Eastern Standard Time, located along the eastern region of Canada and U.S.
In Pacific Standard Time (PST) - UTC/GMT - 8 hours
In Pacific Daylight Time (PDT) - UTC/GMT - 7hours

Each year on the second Sunday or March, daylight saving time comes into effect in most of Canada. "Daylight" saving's time (summer time) moves the clock 1 hour ahead of standard time. On the first Sunday in November, Canada reverts to standard time.

Festivals & Holidays

Banks, government offices, post offices, and many stores, restaurants, and museums are closed on the following legal national holidays:

January 1: New Year's Day
April 6: Good Friday
April 8: Easter
May 21: Victoria Day (always the Monday on or before May 25)
July 2: Canada Day
1st Monday in September: Labor Day
2nd Monday in October: Thanksgiving
November 11: Remembrance Day
December 25: Christmas Day
December 26: Boxing Day

January 1: New Year's Day
March 29: Good Friday
March 31: Easter
May 20: Victoria Day (always the Monday on or before May 25)
July 1: Canada Day
1st Monday in September: Labor Day
2nd Monday in October: Thanksgiving
November 11: Remembrance Day
December 25: Christmas Day
December 26: Boxing Day

Calendar of Events

Canada is well known for it's jam-packed festival calendar with events celebrating culture, art, food, wine, history, sport, nature and more. The following list highlights popular seasonal events in the British Columbia area.

Market in the Park
– Visit Salt Spring island's world-famous Market in the Park
– Held on Saturdays from April 7 to Oct. 27, 2012

Saturna Island Lamb BBQ
– This event has been held annually for over 60 years!!! It's a country-fair flavored outdoor picnic celebrating Canada Day held at Winter Cove, Gulf Islands National Park Reserve.
– Held annually in July
– Approx Ticket Cost: $20 Adults, $10 Kids (under 12)
– For more information, visit:

Vancouver Folk Festival
– Held annually in July, this is one of North America's top folk music events - for over 30 years!
– Typically held over 3 days, Vancouver's festival brings Summer of Love musical stylings to a gorgeous bayside park
– For more information, Tel: 604/602-9798;

HSBC Celebration of Light
– Held in late July and early August, this is a fireworks competition culminating with a huge pyrotechnical display accompanied by live music, all at Vancouver's English Bay Beach
– For more information,

Salt Spring Island's 13th Annual Apple Festival
– Held annually in September

Great Canadian Beer Festival
– Held annually in November
– Brings the country's top brewers to Victoria
– For more information & ticket prices, visit:

Post Office

A Post Office is located nearby at 2513 Beacon Avenue in Sidney, BC.


In most restaurants, lunch is served about 11:30am - 2:30pm and dinner about 5:30 - 10pm. On the weekends, service often runs later. There are no nightclubs in Sidney (Vancouver Island), but in Vancouver (mainland) after-hours nightclubs and bars usually stay open until 4am, when they are legally bound to stop serving alcohol.

– Beacon and Eggs - Sidney's Latest and Greatest All-Day Breakfast Restaurant!
2305 Beacon Ave. 778.426.0549

– Breakwater Dockside Bistro - Great food with a terrific patio!
9851 Seaport Place - 250. 655.3757

– Maria’s Souvlaki & Greek Snack Bar (Licensed) - Fantastic Authentic Greek foods, for take out or sit down
9812 2nd St - 250.656.9944

– Sabhai Thai Restaurant - Fantastic food and great prices. An Island Cruising favorite!
2943A Beacon Ave - 250. 655.4085

– Stonestreet Café - Yummy sandwiches and soups
2505 Beacon Ave - 250. 655.1166

– Fish On Fifth - A great place for fish and chips and fresh salads
9812 5th Street - 250.656.4022

– Taste Of Tokyo
9842 Resthaven Drive - 250. 656.6862

– 3rd Street Café - Great Breakfasts!
2466 Beacon Ave - 250. 656.3035

– Beacon Landing Restaurant & Pub
2357 Beacon Ave - 250.656.6690


Church & State Winery
1445 Benvenuto Avenue Central Saanich, BC V8M 1X1 (250) 652-2671
Located in Brentwood Bay, come here for a unique culinary experience. Enjoy lunch, made in their open kitchen from local ingredients, specifically chosen to pair with Church & State’s award winning wines.

Saturna Island Family Estate Winery
Bistro/ Wine Shop: 250-539-3521
This winery has 60 acres of vineyards that are ideal for the cultivation of classic European grape varietals, including Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Gewürztraminer, Pinot Noir, and Merlot under vine.

Mistaken Identity Vineyards
164 Norton Road Salt Spring Island B.C. V8K 2P5
An excellent vineyard on Salt Spring Islands, which is Certified Organic and offers a wonderful selection of wines. Come by Mistaken Identity Vineyards for a tasting!


The following Hotels & Inns are conveniently located near the base:

– Sidney Waterfront Inn & Suites
9775 First St - 250.656.1131 or 1.888.656.1131 -

– Sidney Pier and Hotel
2B-9851 Seaport Place - 250.655.9445

– Best Western Emerald Isle
2306 Beacon Ave - 250.656.4441

– Bevansfield Inn - Charming modern Edwardian Inn with breakfast & welcoming champagne included
9724 3rd Street - 1.877.420.5499 - info@bevansfield

– Cedarwood Inn & Suites
9522 Lochside Dr - 250.656.5551 -

– Travelodge Sidney
2280 Beacon Ave - 250.656.1176 -


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


A federal goods and services tax (GST) is charged throughout Canada and is a 5% 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 "harmonized" federal and provincial 12% 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 C$96.05 per day, that you may find on your final bill. All provinces and some municipalities levy a hotel room tax (8% 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.

Clothing Suggestions

When traveling to the Vancouver Island cruising region, we suggest taking appropriate sailing gear as the sailing can be wet and the weather can change quickly. Layered clothing is recommended throughout the year.

Summer temperatures are warm enough for t-shirts and shorts, and of course bring your bathing suit and flip flops too! Beach shoes are suggested for combing the rockier shores. A wind/waterproof jacket will also be handy, as well as a light jacket or pants for the evenings. Just in case it's needed, foul weather gear is provided on your boat.

Smoking Laws

Canada is considered to be at the forefront of anti-smoking legislation. In the British Columbia region, smoking is not permitted in public places like restaurants, bars, bingo halls, bowling alleys, and casinos. Restaurant and bar owners may construct open smoking rooms where staff may volunteer to serve. Traveling smokers should be aware that in B.C., it is illegal to light a cigarette in a motor vehicle in the presence of a person under the age of 16.

Tourist Information Center

Tourism British Columbia
P.O. Box 9830, Stn. Prov. Govt.
1803 Douglas St., Third Floor
Victoria, BC V8W 9W5
Tel. 800/HELLO-BC [435-5622] or 250/387-1642

For general information on Canada's National Parks:
Parks Canada National Office
25 Eddy St., Hull, PQ K1A 0M5
Tel. 888/773-8888

Other useful information:
– British Columbia: &
– Vancouver:
– Canada (General):

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Electrical, Phones, Music & Internet


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

Internet Connectivity

Island Cruising provides Wi-Fi access at the marina. Upon arrival, you may request the Wi-Fi access code.

Cellular Phones

Your cellular 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.

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Activities & Sports

Fishing - Permits & Season

Fishing is extremely popular throughout Canada and will be a great addition to your charter, but there are a few important things to know:
#1) Get a License! and #2) Abide by Local Regulations.

Fishing is strictly regulated by local governments. To fish recreationally in British Columbia, you must purchase separate licenses for freshwater and/or saltwater (tidal) fishing and carry it with you (on your person) while you are fishing or crabbing. National Parks require special fishing permits and are available at park visitor centers. Special park regulations apply.

In advance of your charter, consider purchasing an 8-day angular license (Approx $36) and a Salmon sticker (Approx $30). This will permit you to use your crab trap and catch shell fish and angle for saltwater fish and salmon fish, while complying with size regulations and restrictions on the quantity that may be caught. You MUST have a salmon sticker to fish for salmon.

When purchasing your licenses, we always suggest confirming the most up-to-date regulations as rules can chance often.

Obtaining Licenses Online
– Tidal (saltwater) Fishing License via Canadian Fisheries & Oceans Recreational Fishing License System:

– Freshwater Fishing License via British Columbia Government:

**Details regarding fishing and crabbing restrictions will be covered in your chart briefing.**

Water Toys

Crab traps are provided aboard your yacht, free of charge.
Kayaks and Canoes may be pre-booked for rental on your charter. Please speak with your Sunsail Sales Agent if you are interested in water toys.
Fishing Gear is available at the base first-come, first-serve and cost C$45 per stay - including rod, tackle box, hooks, gear, etc. Multiple brands.

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An excellent Food & Beverage Pre-Provisioning Program is provided by Sunsail's Preferred Partner, Island Cruising. This allows you to pre-order all of your food and non-alcoholic beverages, and arrive to a fully stocked yacht with all of your selections. Your charter booking paperwork package will provide you with all necessary information regarding the Food & Beverage Program. Due to government regulations, we are not permitted to "pre-provision" alcoholic beverages, but a Cold Beer, Wine & Liquor Store is within a block of the marina.


If you need to pick up a few goods upon arrival, several shops are convenient to the marina.

– Thrifty Foods - Excellent selections of fresh produce, meats and baked goods
9810 7 th Street - 250.656.0946

– Safeway
2345 Beacon Ave - 250.953.6330

– Sidney Super Foods
2531 Beacon Ave - 250. 656.0727

Drinking Laws

When making your provisioning plans, it's important to note that Island Cruising is legally NOT allowed to supply any alcoholic beverages.

In British Columbia, all beer, wine, and spirits are sold only in government liquor stores, which keep restricted hours and regulate prices. The legal drinking age in British Columbia is 19. Proof of age is required and often requested at bars, nightclubs, and restaurants, so it's always a good idea to bring ID when you go out. Do not carry open containers of alcohol in a car or any public area that isn't zoned for alcohol consumption. The police can fine you on the spot. Do not drive while intoxicated.

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Health & Safety


Dial Tel # 911 anywhere in Canada to reach emergency service by fire, call the police, or get an ambulance.

Illness & Injury

If you are sick and visit the doctor or hospital during your trip please have a member of your party contact the base manager as soon as possible. If you will need to make a travel insurance claim please contact your claim insurer’s emergency medical service immediately. Obtain receipts for any medication, treatment or transport you have to pay for and submit with your claim.

Saanich Peninsula Hospital
2166 Mount Newton Cross Rd 
Saanichton, BC V8M 2B2
(250) 544-7676


All yachts are equipped with adult life jackets and harnesses, we leave it up to you to decide when personal safety equipment should be worn.
If you have your own children’s life jacket we encourage you to bring it along to ensure a proper fit for your child. Children under the age of 16yrs should not operate an outboard engine and should be supervised at all times when in the dinghy.

Travel Insurance

TravelGuard insurance is available through Sunsail. Call your agent for details.

Vaccination & Immunization

Inoculations or vaccinations are not required for entry into Canada, unless you're arriving from an area known to be suffering from an epidemic (particularly cholera or yellow fever). If you are travelling under a South African passport and intend to stay more than 6 months in Canada, you may be asked to pass a medical exam.

This information is accurate at the time of publication. Before traveling, check with your local embassy for any updates regarding Vaccination & Immunization requirements.

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