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Walk-ons and Water Taxis

This is the time of the year when I get a severe case of boat fever. Who can blame me?  The various Island groups surrounding us offer some of the best cruising in the world. The fever intensified as I poured over used boat ads in any publication or website I could get my hands on. And there it was, the perfect weekender. Then comes  the cure.  After a quick look at the budget it was clear that ownership was out of the question and really, how much time would I have to enjoy it? Drive by any marina around our coastline and you will find that they are filled with boats tied to the dock. I often wonder if they ever leave port. The problem seems to be that in our busy lives, where do we find the time to escape on the high seas?



And the cost! Let’s say we go out on average once a week for a day trip. Our moorage cost for a 20 foot boat varies from $72.00 in Port Alberni to $235.00 in Nanaimo. On average, moorage would be approximately $150.00 per month, fuel on average $200.00 per month, plus amortized purchase price and monthly maintenance (which is such a moving target we can only guess). Let’s say $400.00 per month for the pleasure of boat ownership.

A round trip on the Frances Barkley is about $80.00. You leave from Port Alberni, make you way to the mighty Pacific and Ucluelet then back to Port Alberni by 7:00 in the evening. A wonderful way to spend 12 hours. For about the same price you can climb aboard the Uchuck III from Gold River to Friendly Cove and return. You see where I’m going here.

There are foot ferries and water taxis up and down our coastline that are able and willing to take you anywhere your heart desires. 

The following is a partial list of Walk-ons and Water taxis.  

Gold River
MV Uchuck III is a working coastal freighter that departs from Gold River to service Kyuquot, Tahsis and Friendly Cove sailing throughout the inlets of Nootka Sound. 

Port Alberni
MV Frances Barkley is a working coastal freighter departing Port Alberni for Kildonan, Bamfield, Ucluelt and the Broken Island Group. 

Port Hardy
The Cape Scott Water Taxi MV 'Sea Legend 1' will take you to the North Coast Trail or wherever you want to go on North Vancouver Island. 

Campbell River
Cortes Fishing Adventures provides service between Campbell River and Lund on the Sunshine coast and all the islands in between. 

The Lund Water Taxi is the best way to get to Savary Island and Desolation Sound. 

Buckley Bay
Inter Island Charters operates a water taxi service for Denman, Hornby and Lasquiti from Deep Bay or Comox.

French Creek
The Lasqueti Island Ferry provides service from French Creek to the False Bay Wharf on Lasqueti. 

Nanaimo Harbour Ferries operate a pickle boat fleet to Newcastle Island for hiking, picnicing or overnight camping

Protection Island Ferry 
The Dinghy Dock Pub operates a ferry from downtown Nanaimo to a floating pub off Protection Island.

Gulf Island Explorers operate a Coast Guard Approved 26 foot vessel designed and built locally for our coastal waters. Bring you kayaks and Island hop in the gulf.

Cowichan Bay
The Greylag is a converted captain's gig (used on Naval ships as the Captain's taxi) .  She provides a regular service to the Genoa Bay Café. The Genoa Bay Shuttle departs from the Oceanfront Suites at Cowichan Bay.

Salt Spring Island
Gulf Islands Water Taxi provides a regular service between Salt Spring, Galiano, Mayne, Pender and Saturna Islands

Swartz Bay Government Dock
Eco Cruising Tours and Charters operates a water taxi shuttle within the Gulf Islands National Park Reserve. 

Sidney Harbour
Island Water Taxi is a flexible connection to the southern Gulf Islands and Salish Sea.

Victoria Harbour Ferry operates pickle boats throughout Victoria Harbour.  A recent favorite is the Pickle Boat Pub Crawl.