5 Boat Charter Options for Scenic Sailing around Vancouver

Photo: Harbour Cruises and Events

Vancouver’s coastal location translates into amazing access to gorgeous boating routes, whether you want to cruise around Burrard Inlet or venture further afield to places such as the Gulf Islands or the Sunshine Coast. With spring and warmer weather here, now’s the time to look into boating options. Boating season in Vancouver usually runs from May until the autumn.

Numerous companies in the city can take care of your boat rental needs—or can cruise you around nearby waterways if you’d prefer to sit back, relax, and sip a glass of bubbly.

Granville Island Boat Rentals

Photo: Granville Island Boat Rentals

Granville Island Boat Rentals specializes in speed boats for both zippy and leisurely trips on Vancouver waters. Options include an Hourston Glascraft for 4 people, a GT Deluxe for 6 people, and Bayliner Element for 8 people. Suggested routes include a Seal Colony route (roughly 3 hours round trip) with stops at English Bay, Stanley Park, Lighthouse Park in West Vancouver, and Snug Cove on Bowen Island. At Pam Rocks in Howe Sound, you’ll have the chance to see harbour seals, and north of Pam Rocks, you might even see a bald eagle at the National Bird Reserve.

The driver must be 21 years and older and fluent in English, with staff ensuring safety and clear understanding in terms of operating and steering the boat. A free one-day license is provided unless renting a larger 19ft to 21ft boat. Their boating season starts May 1, with online booking now available. From May 1 to June 15, they’re offering a four-hour rental early bird special (one hour free of rental charge) for trips leaving before 9:30am. More information can be found here.

Sewell’s Marina

Photo: Sewell’s Marina

Located at Horseshoe Bay in West Vancouver, Sewell’s Marina is perfectly located for adventures in Howe Sound, as well as trips to the Sunshine Coast and the Gulf Islands. They rent both 17-foot and 21-foot speed boats, with a rental area of Howe Sound (includes scenic landmarks such as Snug Cove on Bowen Island, Anvil Island, and Pam Rocks). The first tank of gas is included. Otherwise, go for a two-hour boat tour (11am, Deep Fjord Tour, 1:30pm Bowen Explorer Tour, 4:30pm Circle Tour) in a 30 ft rigid hull inflatable boat. And finally, Sewell’s Marina also offers fishing expeditions with one of their experienced guides. More information can be found here. 

Pacific Yacht Charters

Photo: Pacific Yacht Charters

For cruising in style, consider Pacific Yacht Charters, with a 105-foot-long, three-level vessel. The boat comes with a Skydeck, a foredeck, a dining salon, a main salon, and two full-service bars. Charters are suited to corporate events, private parties, as well as special occasions, such as weddings and anniversaries. The boat can accommodate 120-240 guests, depending on the type of gathering (stand up versus sit-down). Dockside events (up to 400 people) are also possible.

Pacific Yacht Charters will work with you to customize your ideal waterway journey. They suggest three stunning itineraries: the first, “False Creek,” passes key sites such as Coal Harbour, English Bay, Stanley Park, and Kitsilano; the second, “Lighthouse Park, goes to West Vancouver on its way to Point Atkinson to view the 1874 lighthouse; and finally, “Deep Cove” goes from downtown Vancouver to North Vancouver. Event planners will also aid you with catered menu planning, with a wide array of choices, from continental breakfasts to more elaborate buffet meals. More information can be found here.

Providence 1903 Charters

Photo: Providence 1903 Charters

For something truly unique, ride on Providence, a 80’ LOA class B tall ship. Dating back to 1903, this boat has had a long and proud history as a defense, cargo, and now a charter vessel. In partnership with the Mill Bay Marine Group and the Vancouver Maritime Museum, the company offers opportunity for passenger day sails from the Vancouver Maritime Museum to English Bay and Howe Sound for up to 24 guests. Charters are available for Vancouver and the Gulf Islands (maximum 12 overnight passengers). They can customize the experience to suit your preferences.

In addition, Providence features a variety of voyages that you can join as a member of their guest crew, such as a Market Ship Voyage from Vancouver to Port Sidney on Vancouver Island with overnight stops at Salt Spring Island and Pender Island (there is a north bound version from Port Sidney to Vancouver). They also offer Farmer Sailor Chef voyages in which you’ll be visiting farms and producers on the Gulf Islands. Return travel is not included. More information can be found here.

Harbour Cruises and Events

Photo: Harbour Cruises and Events

With their season starting in May, Harbour Cruises is set to give guests an unforgettable experience on Vancouver waterways. The company operates three large charter vessels: the MPV Constitution, the city’s only authentic paddlewheeler, which can accommodate up to 80 passengers; the MV Harbour Princess for 100 or more guests (up to 190 for dinner seating); and the MV Britannia, for 275 maximum for dinner seating. The vessels are wonderful for weddings, corporate events, and other special occasions. They also offer the motor yacht Orion, which can fit 8 people as well as 7 crew members. Popular destination include the Gulf Islands and the Sunshine Coast.

Habour Cruises also offers a variety of short tours, such as a one-hour harbour tour on their paddlewheeler. You’ll be able to admire landmarks such as Stanley Park and the North Shore mountains. Two other cruises may be of interest: the first an Indian Arm luncheon cruise, which entails a four-hour journey to an 18km coastal mountain fjord. Along the way, you’ll travel through the city’s inner harbour and the Burrard Inlet, enjoying views as well as a buffet lunch. Meanwhile, the Sunset Dinner Cruise is a favourite, which features live music, West Coast food, and unbeatable views of Vancouver sights and scenery. More information can be found here.

Tagged: ,

Comments are closed for this post

Comments are closed.