CLOSE TO VANCOUVER AND MAJOR URBAN CENTRES, BUT IN THE WONDERFUL BC WILDERNESS.

FAQs – Weather & Boat Tours

THIS IS REAL, SUPER NATURAL BC!

We regularly get requests from visitors for information about our boat charters & marine sightseeing tours, the weather on the Sunshine Coast, our policies and extra services. We have gathered the most frequently asked questions below. If you have any additional questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

BOAT TOUR INFO

BOAT SAFETY

  • A safety briefing is given early during every boat trip. Please listen and ask the captain questions about items that may not be clear to you.
  • We carry safety equipment as required by the Canada Steamship Act and the Safe Boating Regulations. Every passenger boat has a compliment of children’s life jackets. These are designed for individuals between 20 and 40 kg. For infants under 20 kg an adult supervisor should take a second adult life jacket to serve as a raft.
  • Life jackets are certified but not designed to be worn throughout the day. They are not available to be used during the trip, especially as cushions. Individuals are welcome to bring specialty equipment such as personal or children’s PFD’s.
  • Please do not board any of our boats without the crew present. Tour loading will start approximately ten minutes prior to departure.
  • Seating for all passengers is a requirement. Generally we make sure 100% of this is protected from the weather; outside seating is in excess of this.
  • We task vessels that are completely seaworthy in the worst of weather conditions that this area can experience. Cancellation due to weather is extremely unusual.

WHAT CLOTHING SHOULD I BRING ON THE BOAT TOUR?

  • It is never wrong to carry a light sweater and or rainwear.
  • Sunscreen, hat and sunglasses are equally recommended
  • Comfortable footwear is recommended. Flat, soft-soled shoes are best on the boats. Keep in mind that if you go ashore you may wind up in sand and or mud.

WHERE DO WE BOARD THE BOAT?

We work from bases in Egmont and in Sechelt on the Sechelt Peninsula. On scheduled Princess Louisa Inlet and Skookumchuck Narrows tours we load guests at the Backeddy Marina. On scheduled Mermaid and Cultural Tours we load at the municipal dock on Wharf Rd. Make sure you know which base to come to.

Custom tours may have different, unique locations. Make sure to clarify with your group organizer where to load.

SHOULD I BRING A LUNCH?

Our regular tour prices do not include lunch or drinks. Almost everyone brings a bag lunch on the 5 hour Princess Louisa Inlet tour. We recommend you pack easy, finger food. Imagine snacks that your can grab and nibble on through the day. The Macdonald Memorial Shelter at Chatterbox Falls is a covered, open shelter with a large fire pit at its centre. There are 3 picnic tables at the shelter that can be used.

Your accommodation host can likely arrange a lunch for you.

CAN WE SWIM ON THE BOAT TOURS?

  • Sometimes people swim in the Inlet while our regular scheduled tour is visiting Princess Louisa Inlet Marine Park. We encourage swimmers to avoid being in the water around the dock, near boat traffic.
  • We do not have any opportunity to swim from the boat during regular scheduled programs.

ARE THERE WASHROOMS?

There are no washrooms aboard the tour boats. On the Princess Louisa Inlet / Chatterbox Falls tour you are aboard for about 2 hours, then you go ashore in the Provincial Park. There are 2 outhouse toilets, located centrally in the park. After time ashore, beside Chatterbox Falls the run home is a bit less time. Coming home we run straight without diversions.

WHAT MARINE LIFE WILL I SEE?

The marine environment and wildlife on the Sunshine Coast is rich and diverse. However wildlife sightings on our tours is limited. The outstanding features on the tours are the big landscapes and scenery.

Winter is an especially wonderful time in our Inlets. The waterways are sheltered from the typical storm cycles and they often are full of birds and marine mammals.

WILL I GET SEASICK?

Probably not. Unlike more open ocean areas, our protected Inlets enjoy relative calm, especially during the winter. Prevailing winds tend to blow across the lie of the Inlet and don’t get down to water level. Travel is generally good because our Inlets twist and turn as opposed to running in a straight line where winds can build wave action. In summer we deal with strong inflow winds that can build wave action in some of the sections.  Each trip is unique and boasts its own special appeal.

ARE THERE ANY AGE RESTRICTIONS?

  • The Princess Louisa Inlet Tour is adult orientated. The 5 hour trip is a fairly long day; with a lot of time spent on the boat traveling. By all means, bring your children along but please provide for entertainment of small children.
  • The Porpoise Bay 60 minute Mermaid Tour is an ideal outing with kids.  The pontoon boat offers safe, fun adventures for the whole family.

HOW MANY PASSENGERS GO ON EACH BOAT?

The Sunshine Coast tours run on fast, “small passenger vessels”. This is a Transport Canada classification indicating maximum capacity of 12 passengers.

CAN I SMOKE ON THE BOAT?

To be compliant with provincial laws we do not allow smoking onboard the tour boat. Ashore in the Provincial Park the main consideration is the control of fire and litter.

CAN I BRING MY PET?

Please do not bring pets on the tour.To ensure the comfort of everyone on board, and to comply with rules at the Provincial Park we ask you to make alternate arrangements for your pets.

IS THERE DISABILITY ACCESS?

  • We try to accommodate everyone and can manage a wide range of situations. However, in the context of the term our tour boats are not accessible to the disabled.
  • The ramp from the landing to the dock can be quite steep. It varies with the tide. At extreme low tide the ramp is almost 50 degrees slope. At high tide the ramp is only five degrees. The walk down the dock from the wharf head to the boat is approximately 160 feet (55 meters). Boarding involves stepping over the side of the boat.
  • To board the Bline tour boat one has to get over the side of the boat. At our home dock this is eight inches above the dock level. There is 18 inches of freeboard above the back deck level. Access to the boat interior involves stepping down two regular steps and taking a seat.
  • If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us. We would like to make every effort to be as accommodating as possible and help individuals overcome obstacles to access the boats.

WHAT KIND OF BOATS DO YOU USE?

  • Sunshine Coast Tours runs on fast, “small passenger vessels” as defined in the Canada Steamship Act.   Any passenger carrying vessel and any vessel chartered with crew included is a “commercial vessel”.
  • Charter vessels are a different class with fewer safety regulations and less oversight.
  • Transport Canada is the regulatory body.
  • View our tour boats for more information

Weather on the Sunshine Coast of BC

  • The Sunshine Coast is in a temperate Mediterranean climatic region. Vegetation is varied. The dominate vegetation is coastal forest, leading to Pacific Northwest Rainforest regions inland.
  • “Normals” is the term used for values of climatic elements averaged over a fixed, standard period of years. To be included in data published by the Environment Canada data a minimum of twenty years of records is required. Values we quote here are “normals”.
  • Summer temperature “normals” range from 15C (60F) to 20C (70F). It can appear much hotter in the direct sunshine. Winter temperature “normals” range from 4C (40F) to 15C (60F). Rainfall “normals” suggest we experience some rainfall on 20% of our summer days and 60% of our winter days. It is our opinion that the soft lights and low cloud on “grey days” add to the scenery on our sightseeing outings.
  • Rain quickly adds to or fills water falls and heightens the drama of the inlets. Unless unsafe to operate each trip will run regardless of weather conditions. It has never been necessary to cancel a scheduled day.

Sunshine Coast Tours – Policies

REFUNDS & DISCOUNTS

  • Tickets must be pre-purchased to reserve seating. Refunds are not available. For parties 6 or larger we offer a 10% discount on the tour price.
  • Departures are available year round. On scheduled days there is no minimum number of tickets. We make every effort to not cancel scheduled sailings, regardless of passenger compliment. We will consider adding days to our existing schedule. You will need to make a special request.
  • Reservations are strongly recommended. Once ticket sales are confirmed the tour schedule will be fixed. Until that point we may make changes to the scheduling.

TAX

  • Tour tickets are subject to Canada’s 5% GST (Goods and Services Tax)
  • The tour company is required to collect and remit this tax. It is applied at the time of purchase. Sunshine Coast Tours shows prices as the final all up cost. Generally it will be broken down for your convenience. If you are comparing our boat tours to others, make sure you consider this 5% cost. Many tour company operators do not show it until time of purchase.

CHECK TOUR SCHEDULES, AVAILABILITY OF SEATING & BOOK ONLINE OR CALL TOLL FREE 1-800-870-9055