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 large commercial vessels.
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. Follow these safe boating practices to keep yourself and others safe:
- Watch out 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.
- Report incidents: Contact our Port Operations Centre at 604.665.9086. In an emergency, and to report impaired boating, call 911.
Safe boating guides
Download one of our safe boating guides made especially for recreational boaters:
Burrard Inlet [PDF] – 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 [PDF] – 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.
Anchorages for recreational boaters are available in Vancouver’s False Creek or in Port Moody inlet:
False Creek – Contact the City of Vancouver for more information.
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 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 in Vancouver, or additional pump-out locations in the wider region.
Opinion: Boating B.C. urges safety first this B.C. Day long weekend
News: Safe boating: What you need to know to stay safe on the water this summer
News: Stay safe on the Fraser; port authority launches new safe boating guide for Fraser River
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]