Navigating the water

Need to Knows

1. Planning for weather

Regular marine weather broadcasts are heard on VHF channels 1 through 5. These are continuous broadcasts that are regularly repeated. For more in-depth weather information, we have access to the weather channel on the television in the pub, and there are more sites available via the internet, including Environment Canada, with satellite photos.

To determine the best times to transit the local passes such as Dodd Narrows or Sansum Narrows, check the tide tables first to determine the time of slack water (noted as the time it “turns”) then apply your boat speed to the route distance to determine your desired departure time. Remember to add one hour to the times shown in Canadian Tidal Tables when daylight savings time is in effect

2. Navigating the “Cut”

If you are contemplating transit of “the cut” between Thetis and Penelakut Island

  • It should be done at or near high water.
  • The OFFICIAL tidal reference port for this area is Fulford Harbour in the Canadian Tide Tables.
  • When you have 3 feet at Fulford Harbour, the cut is dry.
  • You need to add your draft and your safety factor, to the 3 feet to determine safe water to transit the cut. So if your boat draws 4 feet, You need more than 7 feet at Fulford to clear the cut; how much more is your safety or comfort factor.
  • It helps if you do a reconnaissance of the cut in a dinghy at mid-tide to get a good feel for the route through.
  • One last word of advice: go through the “goal posts” at the east end. Do not turn prior to reaching the two last posts. The rocks are heaped up along each side right up to the final posts. This is clearly evident if you look at it in your dinghy at less than low tide.

3. Charting

Many are now using some form of electronic charting system to aid in navigation. If you are using GPS in addition to a hydrographic (paper) chart, take a moment to check the datum for the chart. There are still charts in use with NAD 27 as a datum. Most GPS sets will be set by default to WGS 84, and this can create significant errors in placement on a chart based on the older NAD 27 datum.

Most electronic charting using raster charts is based on WGS 84.

4. Anchoring

  • The holding in Telegraph Harbour is generally good in sand and mud.
  • There is some space in the inner harbour, but it quickly becomes congested in the busier times of summer.
  • The area to the south of Thetis Island Marina has adequate holding, and is still quite well protected from all but the very strong southerlies, which are quite rare.
  • The area just to the north of the marina docks is an area for float plane traffic. There are scheduled and unscheduled floatplanes using the end of G/H dock daily at a variety of times. Please do not anchor in the area between the docks and the first set of moorings to the north. Floatplanes cannot stop or back up, and they have very limited ability to maneuver. Give them a wide berth, and ensure they are given the right-of-way at all times. It is prudent to occasionally glance over your shoulder when motoring in the harbour, as often you might not hear the planes as they approach from your rear.

    5. Mooring

    There are a number of moorings throughout Telegraph Harbour. They are all privately owned, and are not designed to meet any particular standard of holding power other than that required of the owner. It is prudent to rely on your anchoring gear rather than hooking onto a mooring for two reasons: first, should the owner return, you will be asked to vacate the mooring, and second, the anchor used on a mooring is an unknown, and could be designed for a very small vessel, or be in very deteriorated condition due to neglect. If you cherish the solitude of anchoring rather than being at a dock, then rely on your anchoring gear, which you know.

    6. General Services

    • As serious boaters ourselves, we respect your rights and desires should you choose to anchor in Telegraph Harbour rather than use our marina docks. Should you choose to anchor, we ask that you respect our position as well. Facilities such as showers, laundry, garbage, water, recreational facilities and wifi are available to those who pay moorage to use them.

      We do welcome anyone to use the restaurant, pub, store etc, and provide several dinghy docks for your use at no charge. If you wish to leave a dinghy for an extended period in order to take the ferry to Chemainus, for instance, please advise the dock attendants prior to leaving it so we can do our best to ensure it remains secure and safe for your return.

      7. Pets

      • Pets are welcome at Thetis Island Marina. To ensure the safety of your pet along with the comfort of all our other guests, we do ask that you keep your pet on a leash any time it is off the boat.
      • We provide plastic bags and a small dumping pail for doggy droppings, located right at the top of the ramp. Please use it.
      • If you wish to take your pet for a stroll to do it’s business, please do not take it into the park area where kids are playing; take it up the road or in the direction of the dumpsters across the parking lot.
      • Keep your pet out of the recreation areas. Health department regulations do not permit pets in the restaurant, or on the deck, which is a licensed food service area. If your pet needs to be close to you, then it can be left on the walkway right below your deck seats where you can pet it and care for it while you eat.

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      Contact Details

      • Phone: (250) 246-3464
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