Inside Paddlewheeler Riverboat Cruises' signature vessel, the MV Native, captains transport passengers 100 years back in time when scores of paddle wheelers churned through the rivers of British Columbia. Before the authentic-style vessel casts off into the Frasier River, the crew tailors each voyage to a different theme that treat passengers to off land DJ dance parties, views of local wildlife, and journeys to historic locales such as Fort Langley. Their boat also plays host to special occasions including weddings and private parties. Towering mountain ranges act as a backdrop for each tour, and the ship's white and red exterior greets eyes with a classic design that echoes the Canadian flag flown at its bow and the giant candy cane used to anchor its stern.
The abundance of natural splendour surrounding Burnaby's small lake inspired the creation of Deer Lake Boat Rentals. With blue herons standing tall in the waters, eagles soaring overhead, and turtles playing duck-duck-goose with Canadian geese, the region is teeming with wildlife. Fourteen years under the current ownership and opened in 1972, Deer Lake Boat Rentals rent kayaks, rowboats, pedal boats, and canoes to make the lake and its wildlife accessible to families. They are also equally focused on safety, so they provide all the requisite necessities, including lifejackets and staff a skilled crew ready to assist in any way necessary.
As the sun sinks below the English Bay, the lights of downtown Vancouver flicker on. Accent Cruises’ fleet of yachts provide panoramic views of this crepuscular splendour as they glide past Burrard Inlet, Point Atkinson, and Whytecliff Park during private and public charters. The event planners at Accent Cruises strive to match the opulent backdrop of international ocean freighters and coastal mansions with equally lavish cruises. A resident chef prepares baked salmon and baked chicken during the dinner cruise, which departs 2-6 nights a week, and 200 party guests can carouse on the M.V. Burrard Queen's deck for private charters. Vessels come with stereo systems, fully stocked bars, and at least one passenger who used to be a class clown, further enlivening cruises.
Since 1982, Granville Island Boat Rentals has served more than a half million visitors as they step into a boat from Granville Island Marina and set off to explore sights such as Vancouver's vibrant downtown skyline and the islands and inlets of the serene Howe Sound and Indian Arm. With an priority on safety, their crew offers dockside instructions on operate speed boats before, with the harbour seals offering directions during the journey. Customers are replete with several experiences, ranging from calm cruises past the snow-capped mountains of Granite Falls of Indian Arm, or an adrenalin-fueled excursion through the islands of Howe Sound.
Pride of Vancouver Charters provides groups of up to 200 with a floating venue for weddings, office parties, and other social gatherings. They also host dinner cruises aboard their two ships, the Pride of Vancouver and the Star of Vancouver, that let passengers feast on views of the city and live entertainment as well as a gourmet buffet with table served beverages and dessert.
Since 1962, owner and U.S. Coast Guard–licensed captain Terry Buzzard has gotten to know the San Juan Islands and surrounding miles of water pretty well. Having hauled mail for the Post Office, salvaged wrecks, assisted in oil spill cleanups, and ferried passengers throughout the San Juan Islands, he has built quite a resumé of seafaring. This relationship with water isn't so surprising considering he began boating at the age of 3 when he was allowed to pilot a single-horsepower boat by himself with his trained rescue dog, Rusty.
Regardless of the actual job he's performing, Terry is always drawn to whales. By 1978, this fascination lead him to chartering trips specifically for whale watching, especially toward the schools of orca that made the region their home. Looking back, he's pretty certain his boat was the only one in the area at the time dedicated to the thrill of witnessing some of the world's largest and most beautiful animals. Today, the waters are spotted with various boats filled with passengers snapping pictures of the great aquatic beasts and shouting ululations whenever one smacks its enormous tail against the water, takes a playful leap, or belts a Mariah Carey song.
Terry's boat, the 110-foot Island Caper, provides generous sightlines to all passengers via its spacious outdoor deck and ample indoor viewing areas, and is decked out with a 34-speaker sound system. In business for 52 years, Island Mariner Whale Watching's unparalleled time and experience on the water offers cruise-goers an ideal experience, and also employs a seaplane to help spot whales and guide tours. With his chief navigator––a 7-year-old airedale terrier also named Rusty––Terry is right out there amid the excitement, ferrying whale watchers and sharing his life-long passion.