Our port is home to a beautiful coastline and waterways that encourage marine recreational activity. Recreational boating, sailing, kayaking, canoeing, dragon boating, and stand-up paddle boarding are some of the activities enjoyed in our waters.
Know the rules on the water to keep yourself and others safe
Out on the water, there’s traffic, rules to follow and hazards to watch out for. The “rules of the road” for Canada’s waterways help everyone stay safe. It’s not only polite – it is the law, set out in Canada’s Collision Regulations, which applies to every vessel and operator on all navigable waterways from sail boats to tankers.
For more information, visit Transport Canada’s Office of Boating Safety.
Boating safety at the Port of Vancouver
The Port of Vancouver is a busy harbour. Recreational boaters must exercise caution in high activity areas, including approaches to Coal Harbour, First Narrows (Lions Gate Bridge), Second Narrows (Iron Workers Memorial Bridge), the Fraser River, and Aircraft Operations Zones.
Follow these safe boating practices to keep yourself and others safe:
Watch our for larger vessels.
Large, deep-sea vessels have limited visibility – don’t assume they can see you.
Never cross a tugboat and its tow.
Tow cables are often submerged and not visible.
Listen for aircraft.
Float planes landing and taking off need plenty of space.
Attend to signals from other vessels.
Five or more short blasts of a ship’s whistle means “danger – stay clear”. Monitor VHF 16 and 12.
Be prepared to move out of the way.
Large, deep-sea vessels can’t move quickly, especially in narrow channels. Even if you have the right-of-way, you must yield to them.
Contact our Port Operations Centre at 604.665.9086. In an emergency, call 911.
Safe boating guides
Download one of our safe boating guides geared to recreational boaters, or review our full Port Information Guide with all practices and procedures for the Port of Vancouver.
|Burrard Inlet||Exercise caution in busy port areas, including the First and Second Narrows, where tide and wind conditions may cause turbulent seas, as well as approaches to Coal Harbour and Aircraft Operations Zones.|
|Fraser River||Narrow channels on the Fraser River can make navigation challenging for deep-sea vessels and working tugs. Take caution when passing and keep wake to a minimum.|
|False Creek||Boaters wishing to anchor in False Creek need a permit from the City of Vancouver.|
|Port Moody||Boaters wishing to anchor in Port Moody inlet need a permit from the City of Port Moody.|
Port Moody’s Designated Anchorage Area Pilot Program provides boaters with a safe, reserved anchorage space in the inlet of Port Moody.
Up to 20 boats at any one time can anchor in the inlet for a maximum of 21 days in a 40-day period. To participate in the program, boat owners must have vessel insurance and pay a small daily fee. Register online to reserve your spot.
The Designated Anchorage Area Program is a partnership between the City of Port Moody and the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority. The program addresses community concerns about unauthorized, long-term moorage, uninsured boats, safety issues related to abandoned and improperly anchored boats, and the dumping of sewage into the inlet.
Please Pump. Don’t Dump. Boat sewage is a source of fecal bacteria that harms the environment and puts public health at risk. Boaters are responsible for using pump-out services at area marinas. See pump-out locations for more information.
News: Near-miss incident in Burrard Inlet highlights need for safe boating awareness
Backgrounder: Sharing the water with trade vessels – what you see and what it means [PDF]
Backgrounder: Maintaining the safety and security of commercial marine traffic at the Port of Vancouver [PDF]