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Gulf Islands Cruising School Ltd.

The Main Sheet

At Gulf Islands Cruising School Ltd., we work to help people realize their full potential for the boating lifestyle. We provide professional Boating, Sailing and Navigation courses and share our knowledge of boating and the Gulf Islands area.

Boating Season is upon us and it's time to inspect your boat to prepare for being safe on the water. Regulations are changing and it is important to have the skills necessary for you and your crew to be comfortable and safe.

Do you have the training you need?
Ensuring you and your crew are safe
Planning your boating vacation

Do you have the training you need?

All pleasure boat operators will need to have proof of proficiency by 2009. Transport Canada is considering raising the pass mark on the exam as well as increasing the number of questions so it would be advisable to obtain your Pleasure Craft Operator Card as soon as possible. We can administer the PCOC exam.

If you are operating a non pleasure boat you will require Med A3 certification by April 1, 2008 and training can be provided through our affiliation with West Coast Powerboat Handling.

 Ensuring you and your crew are safe

Navigating safely in coastal waters requires the skills to read the Tide and Current Tables, plot a course, take bearings, plot fixes, be familiar with the aids to navigation system.

Tides are so important to the safety of your boat and crew. I witnessed two boats rafted at anchor in Montague Harbour. At the time of anchoring the tide, being high, provided adequate depth. By 7 a.m. the boats were hard aground when the tide fell overnight. They had anchors out from their mastheads. Logs served as props under the hulls keeping the boats from toppling over. By rough calculation they were likely aground between 3 and 4 a.m. and could not expect the tide to float them off for several hours.

Use of the Tide and Current Tables including correctrions for secondary ports and stations is covered thoroughly in our home study Coastal Navigation course.

 Planning your boating vacation.

There are hundreds of coves, anchorages and marinas to explore in the islands. Following is a proposed itinerary for a seven day cruise starting from Sidney:

First day - the quaint settlement of Fulford Harbour on Saltspring Island or anchor at Portland Island.

Second day - to Bedwell Harbour on South Pender Island. If you are lucky the Dall Porpoises may play around the bow of the boat as you cross Boundary Pass. Either stay at Beaumont Marine Park on a mooring or at anchor or docked at Poets Cove Resort. Time for a shower and a swim in the outdoor pool.

Third day - cruise to Montague Harbour Marine Park on Galiano Island. If the winds are light or you want a short day, you could stay the night at Otter Bay Marina on North Pender Island.

Fourth day - to Ganges Harbour on Saltspring Island. Ganges is the largest town in the Gulf Islands. Be sure to check out the Craft Fair and all the shops. If you have a sweet tooth stop at "Glad's Candy & Ice Cream Shop”.

Fifth day - anchor in Glenthorne Passage on Prevost Island.

Sixth day - dock at Fulford Harbour on Saltspring Island or anchor in Royal Cove on Portland Island, whichever one you missed on the first day.

Seventh day return to the Marina.

We recommend the following resource to familiarize yourself with the area:

  Cruising the Pacific Northwest DVD


This resource is useful for pre-planning your cruise or having on board as a reference.


Van Isle Marina is located in Tsehum Harbour, the main harbour for Sidney. Services include a fuel dock, customs wharf, laundry, washrooms, showers, and visitors wharfage. Downtown Sidney is approximately 3 km from the marina.

Safe Boating,

Bruce and Fran Stott

Contact us at 250 656-2628

10191 Third St Sidney BC  V8L 3B7

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Bruce Stott
Bruce Stott
President/Chief Instructor
Nautical Experience

 For Canadian Boaters

Canadian Boaters 50% Discount

This is an Affiliate Link. 

We have compiled a number of complimentary email series on the topics listed below:

Boating Information

Coastal Navigation 

VHF Radio Operator

Powerboating Information

E Lessons

E Books


 For U.S.A. Boaters

US Boaters 40% Discount

This is an Affiliate Link. 

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Parkland Marine