Frequently Asked Questions
Who can rent a boat?
We run our boat rental operation just like the larger bare-boat yacht charter operations. We require all of our customers to submit a “boating resume” and possess certain qualifications in order to qualify under our insurance policy.
- All Canadian boat operators must now have the Canadian Pleasure Craft Operators Card or have completed a Canadian boating safety course before 1999. Contact us if you’re concerned as there are ways to around this if you have a *lot* of experience.
- We require that you be at least 25 years of age and have a minimum of 5 years of experience operating similar vessels of similar size and horsepower.
- All renters must sign our rental contract, provide a security deposit of $2000, and fill out a rental checklist illustrating your understanding of boating safety rules, boat operation, and local hazards & conditions.
Is there a minimum rental length?
Yes. We typically don’t rent for single days unless you’re a frequent renter and don’t mind taking the boat out of Port Alberni. Our current minimum rental length is 3 days from July 1 until Labour Day, and 2 days during the rest of the year. However, do contact us as we can make exceptions at certain times.
What kind of fuel economy do the boats get?
The North River Seahawks cruise at around 4000 RPM which is about 25 MPH. At this speed the boats consume around 25-30 liters per hour. That is approximately 6.5 to 8 gallons per hour. If you’re fishing South Bank at Ucluelet then you’re going to spend approximately 45 minutes a day at cruising speed (16 miles return trip) which is 18.75 to 22.5 liters (5 to 6 US gallons). The trolling kickers use very little gas (we don’t have a fuel flow meter on them but the fuel usage is under 5 liters/hour).
What is the deal with towing?
If you’re planning to fish Alberni Inlet, Barkley Sound, Ucluelet or Bamfield then there is no need to tow. We’ll just drop the boat in the water in Port Alberni and off you go! Please note, that we DO NOT provide moorage as the boats live on trailers when not in use. For any other destinations we are a “self towing” operation.
We are very open to our boats going to other places on Vancouver Island IF you are going to be towing with your own vehicle, and your vehicle is up to the challenge. You need to be able to tow 4000+ pounds up and down some big hills! Unfortunately, we aren’t big enough to have a full time driver doing deliveries and pickups in far flung places like Port Hardy or Sooke. We’d love to be able to do it, but we’ve all got other jobs and can only spend so much time on the road! In short, if you’re sticking close to Port Alberni then you have a lot of options. If you want the boat 3-4 hours away then you’re going to need to tow the boat yourself. If you have questions then please feel free to contact us.
What are my options for fishing the west side of Vancouver Island?
- Professional Guides: A guide in Tofino/Ucluelet is going to cost in the neighbourhood of $1000/day for 4 adults and 8-10 hours of fishing. Of course, this assumes that you want/need a fishing guide. We think that most of our customers would rather be the captain of “their own” ship.
- Buy Your Own Boat: A brand new North River Seahawk 21 goes for between $50-55K (Canadian Dollars) by the time you outfit it with engines, electronics, downriggers, etc. Now throw in insurance, storage, maintenance, and additional ferry costs. If you don’t fish very often, owning a boat that is “west coast capable” is an expensive proposition!
- Rent a boat from us: We’ve got a growing fleet of serious fishing boats that are up to the challenge of fishing the west coast of Vancouver Island. Our boats are fully equipped with electronics, ready to fish, and cost less than half of a guided trip.
Should I rent a boat or hire a guide?
If you’re new to an area, or an inexperienced Salmon/Halibut fisherman, then we highly recommend hiring a guide to show you the ropes. Nothing beats local knowledge and experience when it comes to catching fish.
We are big fans of the BC guiding community and we owe much of our personal fishing success to techniques learned from professional guides over the years. Perhaps you might want to hire a guide for the first half of your vacation and then rent a boat from us for the second half? If you’re looking for a guide, contact us and we can make some recommendations.
What is the deal with liability?
You are covered under our hull and liability insurance as long as you follow the terms of our rental contract. All renters must pay a “deductible buy down” fee of $25/day that reduces your deductible to $1000. You are fully responsible for any damage up to $1000 that occurs to the boat and any of its equipment. The insurance kicks in if the damage exceeds $1000.
You are fully responsible for the boat from the time you drive away until the time that you return. Any physical damage that occurs to the boat during the rental period is your responsibility, regardless of how it occurs (i.e. on the water, while towing, while parked in front of your hotel, in a fast food drive-thru, etc.) You are fully responsible for your actions while towing and driving the boat.
If you’re concerned, please ask and we’ll send a copy of our rental contract and attempt to answer any questions that you might have.
Are the boats fully equipped?
The boats are ready to fish: GPS with electronic Charts (Navionics Gold for all of Vancouver Island), Fish Finder, VHF radio, trolling motor, landing net, Scotty downriggers, etc. All you absolutely need to bring is a towing vehicle (unless we’re driving), your rods, tackle and charts for your intended fishing destination (we do have paper charts for Alberni Inlet, Barkley Sound, and Ucluelet available). Unfortunately, it just isn’t practical for us to provide nautical charts for everywhere on Vancouver Island where our boats might be headed. It is advisable to contact your local map store (or order them online) and procure detailed paper charts for your intended destination. If you have a hand held GPS or VHF then you might want to bring them just in case something were to happen to our main GPS chartplotter or VHF radio.
Do you provide life jackets?
Yes, we do provide life jackets as required by Transportation Canada. However, please not that these are not PFD’s. Please visit this link if you’re unsure of the difference: A few words on lifejackets and personal flotation devices in Canada
Do you provide fishing tackle?
Sorry, we don’t provide rods, flashers, lures, etc. You will need to bring your own.
Where can I take the boat?
You can take the boat anywhere on the island that it can be towed on good quality roads. This includes Sooke, Port Renfrew, Ucluelet, Tofino, Gold River, Tahsis, and Campbell River. If you’re heading to Bamfield, we require that you put the boat in the water in either Port Alberni or Ucluelet and then run over by water. The Bamfield road is really hard on trailers and boats. We reserve the right to limit which roads you may trailer our boats on. Please also be aware that you are liable for any damage that is caused during trailering and this includes damage caused by trailering on rough roads.
Can I take the boat offshore?
Yes! However, we ask that you use extreme caution and common sense when venturing into unprotected waters on the west coast of Vancouver Island. Sea and weather conditions can change very quickly off of Vancouver Island and it can get nasty quickly. We don’t recommend heading offshore in ANY vessel unless you have previous offshore experience. Even then, its best to partner up with another boat and stick to areas that are frequented by other boats. We also HIGHLY recommend bringing along a handheld GPS and VHF as backups in the unlikely event of electrical problems on the boat.
Why can’t I tow a boat to Bamfield?
The road from Port Alberni to Bamfield is terrible. It is easily driven in a 4×4 truck, but it is really hard on boat trailers and boats. If you would like to fish out of Bamfield then you have 2 options available to you:
- Put the boat in the water at Port Alberni (34 miles) or China Creek (30 miles) and then run it down Bamfield on the water.
- Put the boat in the water at Ucluelet and then run across Barkly Sound on the water (18 miles).