The province proclaims May 14-21 as BC Boating Week – just in time for the Victoria Day Long Weekend and the traditional kickoff for the recreational boating season across our beautiful province.
This official designation provides Boating BC Association an opportunity to highlight the significance of the recreational boating sector in this province and to showcase the many opportunities that exist for anyone to get on the water and enjoy the boating lifestyle.
The recreational boating industry in BC employs 17,000 full time individuals, contributes more than $2.2 billion annually to the provincial economy and has experienced a 30 per cent growth rate over the past six years.
The sector is comprised predominantly of small and medium sized business in coastal and inland communities, involved in boat sales, rentals, repairs and marina operation, to name but a few. These businesses are important contributors to our local economies and just as importantly, as a maritime province, they contribute to the fabric of many of our towns and cities.
There is no better way to see BC than in a boat and, for anyone who is interested in getting on the water, there are many options available. If you’re just getting started, it’s easy; you don’t need to own a boat to be a boater. Rentals include power boats, personal watercraft, kayaks and stand up paddle boards; they are small, easy to operate and the rental agency will train you on the dock before departure.
If you want to try something a little larger, there are opportunities for shared ownership and a growing trend in boating memberships that require no ownership at all, but give you access to a fleet of boats all year round. There are countless ways to get on the water, and Boating BC (www.boatingbc.ca) can help you explore which works best for you and your family.
We’re fortunate to have some of the most magnificent boating there is right here in BC and, while safety is
paramount, it is not difficult to ensure. Following simple guidelines of wearing a personal flotation device, having the appropriate certification, not boating while impaired and being appropriately prepared for your journey will ensure a safe and magical experience.
Boating has no barriers – it is available to everyone and allows you to chart your own course whatever vessel you choose. What’s stopping you? Get on the water this season and you’ll discover why BC is better on a boat.
Lisa Geddes is the executive director of Boating BC, the voice of recreational boating in BC, that is comprised of 320 member companies that represent all aspects of the boating industry.