Boating in the Pacific Northwest

Protected waterways make the Pacific Northwest one of the best destinations


From Olympia, the capital city of Washington State, to the southern tip of the Alaskan panhandle, thousands of recreational boaters take to the waters of the Pacific Northwest every summer. Some are veterans at cruising through the sheltered waters of the San Juan and Gulf Islands, Desolation Sound, the Broughton Islands and the North Coast. Perhaps they have also taken in Haida Gwaii or ventured into Alaska. Some are novices learning for the first time about their boats and the channels, open waters, tidal passages and delightful histories of the places they will visit and the people they will encounter. For all of these mariners there is constant fascination with the beauty of the waterways, the tall mountains looming over coastal villages, and the remnants of a bygone era. As they move from one island to the next, from one anchorage to another, they encounter fellow mariners intent on similar odysseys. They see first hand the magnificent waterfalls, inlets, marine life, waterfowl and animals of a land that has changed little since the arrival of the first explorers and settlers. They meet people of the First Nations and get to share in their culture through heritage activities, displays and structures. All too soon summer and the cruising season fade into autumn. But the fervent mariners will make their way home filled with memories of joyful times, new experiences, new found destinations and a host of newly formed acquaintances. It is not possible to cover the entire area in one season and for those who explored the coast with care and caution, the urge to return will haunt them through the winter until they are on their boats and underway the following year.