07 Jun

Winter Berths

The keystone to our plan for 2015-16 was the idea that we could overwinter in Victoria.  If we could find a comfortable place to stay when the weather turned cool, well then who needs the tropic eh? The winter climate in Victoria is supposed to be the best on the West Coast, it’s a small, walking city, Leslie and I have a fond history with the city and it has a university with all the academic accoutrements so Leslie can get some work done. So I set out to find what the liveaboard options for Victoria were.

And of course, the Inner Harbour is right downtown.

There are two main options. Both the GVHA (Greater Victoria Harbour Association) and The Coast Victoria Harbourside Hotel & Marina offer packages with their off-season moorages. There are a few more liveaboard options like West Bay on the other side of the harbour or a few up in Sydney but they are farther away and don’t offer any particular off-season packages.

Victoria Inner

The Coast Victoria Harbourside Hotel & Marina

The Coast has a fairly small marina just west of Laurel Point. They offer 7-month package from October 1st to April 30th at $13.45/foot. So at 39′, Never for Ever would cost $524.55/month or a total of $3671.85. This includes power and the hotel amenities like shower, pool and exercise room. It’s a bit of a walk downtown, but they offer a shuttle and still well within walking distance. But we would have to be gone by the end of April.

Contacting them was a bit of an issue since there is not clear contact info on the website and I ended having to go through central booking. But eventually I got in contact with Josh who is their marina manager. When I contacted him back in March there was already a waiting list so I signed up right away, before we had even settled on a boat. This marina was my preferred choice but the waiting list makes me nervous.

We stopped in to see him when we were there in late May but he seems to only work from 3pm onward so I have only had a few brief email exchanges..

Josh Ramsdale
or call the front desk 250-360-1211


The Great Victoria Inner Harbour Association has 4 main marinas. FIsherman’s Wharf is just west of the Coast and offers berths for commercial fisherman and year-round liveaboards. The Causeway is directly in front of the Empress Hotel, Ship Point is the long straight dock just north and is mostly reserved for bigger boats like luxury yachts and Wharf Street which is a bit more north again, just after the seaplane base. The last three all have low-season options.

Causeway and the Empress

Causeway from the street

GVHA offers a Low Season Moorage 8-month package from October 1 to June 20th. 30’–44′ boats are charged at $8.45/foot which is $329.55 /month. Power is extra (30amps is $70/month) and there is a $104/month liveaboard fee for a total of $503.55/month and $4044.40 for the whole 8 months.

There are showers right near Wharf Street with washers and driers and you are literally right downtown. Wharf Street would be our preference of GVHA’s offerings with proximity to everything, a locked gate and away from the tourist bustle of the Causeway. The only downside is the seaplanes if that sort of noise bothers you (it doesn’t bother me). They also offer a free pumpout service — a small boat that comes around once a week and pumps out your holding tanks.

The GVHA doesn’t take new applications until the end of May. They give their current customers until mid May to renew and then start in on the new applications, so although I had contacted them originally in March, we have had to wait to apply.

Wharf Street

Taris Walter (Marina Services Administrative Assistant)

Rates in General

For comparison purposes the GVHA’s year-round rate is $12.70/foot (with all the extra fees as well) and transient moorage is $28.80/foot so the $8.45 rate is pretty good. Vancouver moorages can run upwards of $13 even without liveaboard privileges. Blaine, Washington’s annual moorage is around $7.80 foot (usd) so you can see it doesn’t cost all that much to be living in the center of everything.

Ship Point

Where are we now?

Well, we stopped in Victoria on our way home from our Circumnavigation and visited the Coast and the GVHA. The Coast still looks like a great option, but unfortunately Josh wasn’t there to talk to about the state of the waiting list. On the other hand, when we arrived at the GVHA office, Taris was right in the middle of working on the lists. I mean we could see her actually working on the dock layouts.

Wharf Street - Ansi

So we asked a few questions and then applied on the spot. At Wharf Street, there were openings on the outside of D-dock and the inside of C-dock. During our stay there a few days earlier aboard the Northwest Passage we had rafted up to a boat on the inside of C-dock and it seemed nice so we (I) picked there. We answered a bunch of questions and voila, we had a berth pending a successful application. Once our application was accepted we would be on the hook for a cancelation fee but up until then we would be free to cancel anytime. Leslie really like this spot and actually prefers it over the Coast Harbourside so cancelling now seems unlikely.

This lovely pilothouse is almost exactly where our tentative berth is.

The Process

A few days after we got back from our trip, I got an email from Taris and the GVHA:

Good Afternoon,

We are pleased to announce that there is space to accommodate you in our 2015-16 Low Season Program, pending approval of your moorage application. In order to submit a moorage application we require the following documentation:

  • Proof of Ownership (Bill of Sale)
    Proof of Registration
  • Proof of current insurance:
    Minimum $2 million protection & indemnity (liability)
    GVHA must be named as an additional insured OR, we require a letter of undertaking from your insurer (see below)
  • Two photos of your vessel : One of side, one of stern
  • Two References:
    One professional (preferably from a previous marina)
    One personal (not a family member)
    *Note: this can be a letter of reference OR contact information for your reference

Once we have received this documentation, and approved moorage, I will send you a moorage agreement, and we will process a security deposit in the amount of one month of moorage to secure your slip. Also at this time we require that GVHA be named as an additional insured OR a letter of undertaking provided from your insurer. This ensures that GVHA is notified of any policy changes or cancellation.

Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns; we look forward to having you with us next fall!

So now I am in the process of collecting the documentation and will hopefully fire it off in a short while. The only outstanding thing is the photos and I suppose I can use old ones and photoshop out the old name.

We are really excited and this confirmation is another worry lifted from our shoulders. Now we just have to actually start the trip.

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