Together we are stronger
A 2006 survey conducted by Genesis Public Opinion Research Inc. and Smith Gunther Associates found that the recreational boating industry in B.C. generated $1.3 billion every year in direct and indirect impacts. Our own data estimate that just the daily spending by recreational boaters is $350 million annually.
British Columbia ocean tourism is large enough and mature enough to benefit from collaborative marketing. Marine tourism is recognized as a Sector and financially supported by Destination BC. Marketing BC’s coast as a world-class destination through a common brand and via collaborative marketing has appeal and reach.
What We Know
BC Ocean Boating Tourism Association surveyed all of BC’s coastal marinas in order to estimate the volume and distribution of marine tourism. We surveyed a small number of boaters (116) to obtain information on place of origin, travel characteristics and spending. Data provided here are fairly reliable estimates. There are no better data.
Data is for marinas and harbours that accept transient vessels (hosting marinas). Those that do not were not included in the survey.
|Great Bear Rainforest||8|
|Sunshine Coast/Princess Louisa Inlet||22|
|Vancouver Island East||31|
|Vancouver Island West||16|
Table 2 shows total moorage space in each sub-region. Transient moorage space is shown, but the numbers don’t reflect availability of transient berths. Many marinas do not reserve space, but space is almost always available. The percentages show what portion of the total space each region has. The transient/total figure shows what percent of total space is devoted to transient vessels. So, while the transient space figures are misleading, a general appreciation of the importance of transient traffic is revealed.
For example: Broughton Archipelago, Discovery Islands and Gulf Islands have much higher transient percentages than total moorage percentages, indicating relatively high levels of reserved transient moorage. Vancouver Island East and Vancouver/Howe Sound show relatively low levels of reserved transient moorage.
|Region||Total Moorage (ft)||Regional||Transient Moorage (ft)||Regional||Transient / Total|
|Great Bear Rainforest||13,530||3%||4,882||4%||36%|
|Sunshine Coast / Princess Louisa Inlet||40,682||8%||9,735||8%||24%|
|Vancouver Island East||206,654||40%||34,615||28%||17%|
|Vancouver Island West||36,664||7%||10,150||8%||28%|
|Vancouver / Howe Sound||100,121||19%||4,735||4%||5%|
Table Three shows the number of over-night vessel stays (OVS) at marinas and harbours for each sub-region. The share of the market is shown in the next column. This information is a good indicator of the volume of marine tourism on the coast and in specific regions.
|Region||Total Vessel Nights||% of total||Vessels Turned Away||% of total|
|Great Bear Rainforest||5985||3%||200||3%|
|Sunshine Coast / Princess Louisa Inlet||19,150||9%||1,077||16%|
|Vancouver Island East||66,842||30%||1,260||19%|
|Vancouver Island West||26,860||10%||890||13%|
|Vancouver / Howe Sound||9526||4%||265||4%|
Table Three does not show the number of vessel nights spent at anchor outside of a facility. Hence, for example, while visits to Desolation Sound are only 1% of OVS, we know that from BC Parks data that more than 15,000 OVS are spent at anchor there. Based on various data sources, we estimate that there are minimally four nights at anchor for every night spent in a marina or harbour.
Table 4 shows the place of origin of boaters. Roughly half of recreational boaters are from British Columbia. American boaters are the next largest segment (39%). Albertans are a significant segment. Many Albertans bring their boats to the BC coast on trailers and many moor boats permanently in BC.
|Region||BC||Alberta||Canada Rest||US West||US Rest||World Rest|
|Broughton Archipelago / Johnstone Strait||39%||5%||0%||49%||2%||3%|
|Great Bear Rainforest||42%||8%||0%||44%||2%||2%|
|Vancouver Island West||55%||11%||1%||28%||1%||0%|
|Sunshine Coast / Princess Louisa Inlet||63%||3%||0%||29%||1%||1%|
|Vancouver Island East||50%||8%||0%||33%||2%||0%|
|Vancouver / Howe Sound||62%||1%||3%||30%||0%||1%|
|All Regions (weighted)||49%||9%||2%||37%||2%||1%|
The highest percentages of American boaters are in the remote regions that lead to Alaska. The high percentages of Albertan boaters in the Discovery Islands, Northern Passages and Vancouver Island West reflect road and flight accessibility and the Albertan’s pursuit of the best fishing opportunities.
We surveyed 116 vessel operators to learn about place of origin, trip duration and spending. The sample is too small to be accurate, but it is useful as an indicator.
Average trip length was 29 days and average spending per vessel night was $185.00.
Main image at top of page: Gibsons Harbour