A Guide to Boating in Vancouver

Whether it's kayaking or motorboating, here is how to set sail in the city

Credit: Flickr / Kenny Louie 

Hoping to set sail this summer? There are plenty of ways to rent a boat in Vancouver, so anchors aweigh!

For those living in Vancouver, there’s an inescapable truth: you’re going to get wet. Luckily in the summertime, water activities don’t have to include umbrellas and galoshes. Boating, sailing and kayaking are some of the ways you can enjoy the ocean when the sun is out.

While some boat rental services do require that you hold the Canadian Boating License (it’s nowhere near as intimidating as it sounds), not all of them do. Many services provide you with a free, one-day license when you rent with them. Some even offer lessons for boating beginners. So, what are you waiting for? Click through for some of the top-of-the-line boating services in the area.


Granville Island Boat Rentals

Providing boating services since 1982, Granville Island Boat Rentals have a lot to offer for both amateur and experienced boaters. Their boats vary in terms of size, power and design, so there will be something for everybody. Their rental rates can be found online.

They highly recommend three popular boating destinations that range from two to four hours per trip. These picturesque must-sees include the always-popular Lions Gate Bridge, False Creek and Stanley Park.

Booking from the comfort of your home is also an option.

Where: 1696 Duranleau St., Granville Island, Vancouver
Telephone: 694-682-6287
Do you need a license? No, they provide you with a free one-day license.

Credit: Flickr / Bruce Irschick

Coal Harbour & Lonsdale Boat Rentals

With a variety of different boats to choose from, Coal Harbour and Lonsdale Boat Rentals are a popular choice for first-timers, tourists or just locals looking to get a taste of what Vancouver’s waters have to offer – which is quite a bit. If it’s totem polls, mountains or islands you are eager to see, they’ve got a tour for you. Check out their recommended hotspots for more information.

You can also request and reserve boats through their online form.

Where: Two locations: 1525 Coal Harbour Quay, Vancouver and 415 West Esplanade, North Vancouver
Telephone: 604-682-6257 or 604-929-6257
Do you need a license? No, they provide you with one for as long as you rent with them.

Blue Pacific Yacht Charters

Sailboats, powerboats, and luxury yachts – Blue Pacific Yacht Charters have it all. You can charter your own sea vessel or sit back and have a professional instructor plan a trip just for you. Depending on the length of time you’re willing to spend on the water, Blue Pacific offers itineraries with over eight different cruising areas, so there’s no shortage of exploration and fun.

The company also offers boating courses for those who would like to sharpen their skills or rookies looking to dip their toes in the water.

Where: 1519 Foreshore Walk, Granville Island, Vancouver
Telephone: 604-682-2161
Do you need a license? You need documentation proving prior boating or charter experience.

Seawell’s Marina

The Seawell’s Marina motto is “Creating Memories for 80 Years!” – and they’re not going to stop there. One of the most loved summertime locales in BC is Horseshoe Bay – the perfect place for fishing, taking in the beautiful scenery or just chilling out on one of the variety of rental boats on site. Seawell’s Marina also provides a top ten list for points of interest you don’t want to miss.

For those looking for an adventure accompanied by an adrenaline rush, make sure to give Sea Quest or Sea Safari a try.

Where: 6409 Bay Street, West Vancouver
Telephone: 604.921.3474
Do you need a license? No

Deep Cove North Shore Marina

Reservations with Deep Cove North Shore Marina are recommended, so call ahead to learn which boat suits both your style and experience, then sail into the Indian Arm for some much coveted exploration time.

Where: 2890 Panorama Drive, North Vancouver
Telephone: 604-929-1251
Do you need a license? No, they will provide a one-day license as long as you prove you can competently operate a boat.