All kinds of boats and vessels share the Port of Victoria: ferries, tugs and barges, water taxis, kayaks and canoes, seaplanes and more. Because the port is so busy, we rely on you to follow the rules for where boats may travel and how. These rules help avoid collisions so you stay safe on the water.
This brochure is not a navigation aid. For official information on marine aids to navigation and water depths, refer to Chart 3412 published by the Canadian Hydrographic Service.
Rules to follow
These rules were developed by both port users and regulators. If you operate a vessel or seaplane in the Port of Victoria, they apply to you.
- Go over the speed limit. In the Outer Harbour (between Ogden Point breakwater and Shoal Point) the speed limit is 7 knots. Inward from Shoal Point the speed limit is 5 knots.
- Sail inside Shoal Point. Lower all sails, even while under power.
- Anchor your vessel anywhere in the Port of Victoria, unless you authorized by the Harbour Master.
- Discharge blackwater. A prohibition is in effect.
Victoria Harbour is a water airport
Boaters must keep clear of seaplane runways.
There are two seaplane runways in the Port of Victoria. One is in the Middle Harbour and one is in the Outer Harbour. They are very active. Upwards of 100 flights take off or land in the port per day.
White strobe lights on top of beacons (at Shoal Point, Laurel Point and Berens Island, and on Pelly Island) flash whena seaplane is about to takeoff or land. When you see the strobe lights, use extreme caution.
Non-power-driven vessels: Where to travel
Non-power driven vessels are allowed to transit the harbour using the inbound/outbound boat lanes. In addition, there are areas which are reserved specifically for non-power driven vessels:
A special area reserved for non-power-driven vessels is on the north shore of Middle Harbour, north of the five white buoys. Paddlers may transit along the shoreline through the corridor that goes under the buildings at the Victoria International Marina or can also transit on the offshore side of the marina, between the docks and white buoys.
Paddlers may only cross runways in two places:
- at the Songhees/Laurel Point Narrows
- in a straight line joining Shoal Point and Berens Island
Before you cross, watch for strobe lights. They will tell you when a seaplane is about to takeoff or land.
Small power-driven vessels: Where to travel
Power-driven vessels less than 20 m (65 feet) in length, including sailboats, must use marked lanes to travel through the Outer and Middle Harbours. Power-driven vessels are not permitted on the north shore of the Middle Harbour.
The two inbound/outbound lanes are:
- located in the south of the Middle Harbour and into the Outer Harbour
- marked with five lighted yellow cautionary buoys
Large power-driven vessels: Where to travel
Power-driven vessels of 20 m (65 feet) in length or more may use runways to travel through the Outer and Middle Harbours.
- Harbour Master: For general port information or to report marine incidents, contact the Harbour Master on VHF channel 18A or at 250-363-3578. 24/7 emergency number: 250-380-8177.
- Harbour Patrol: If you are unclear about these directions, Harbour Patrol is on the water in black and grey inflatable vessels and is happy to help. Contact them on VHF 18A during all daylight hours in the spring and summer, and during regular office hours in the fall and winter.
- Canadian Coast Guard: In a marine emergency: call on VHF channel 16 or *16 on a mobile phone. Or call the Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre at 1-800-567-5111, #SAR(727) on a mobile phone.
- Moorage: For public moorage, call the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority on VHF 66A.
- Victoria International Marina: For moorage, call on VHF 68A.
- Canada Customs: Clearance dock located on the south side of Middle Harbour at Raymur Point. Telephone: 1-888-226-7277.
- Johnson Street Tilt Bridge: At northeast of Inner Harbour. Operated by the City of Victoria. Reach the bridge operator on VHF channel 12.
Note: If you do not comply with these rules and restrictions, you may be subject to summary conviction and/or fines. Authority comes from the Canada Marine Act, Practices and Procedures for Public Ports.
Version française disponible au bureau du directeur de port, 12 rue Erie.