Some advice for boaters, specifically in the Campbell River area. Note that any advice is general, and may not be applicable in your situation. Also, consult the latest regulations for any updates.
When should you call Coast Guard for help?
Marine Distress Flares
Automatic Identification System
Why doesn't Red Right Returning work for Discovery Passage?
Digital Charts and Chart Plotting
OpenCPN, open source chart plotting software. (link to external site)
OpenCPN's Instructions for installing OpenCPN. (link to external site)
Unfortunately, unlike the US and other countries that allow boaters to download charts for free (because it reduces accidents), Canada still charges for electronic charts. If you are taking the Boating course, we will provide the password to open an electronic copy of the CPS practice chart. The zipped file is 2.5megs, and will download immediately, without further confirmation. Immediately download zip file. Check your download folder after clicking the link.
Once you have unzipped the chart, 999601.KAP, move it to the folder where you want to store your charts. Then start OpenCPN and select the wrench icon to access the defaults. Select the Display tab, and in General, put a checkmark in Show Chart Outlines (this makes it easier to locate the chart boundaries). Now select the Charts tab, and in the Loaded Charts tab, add the folder where your chart is located. Click Okay at the bottom. Returning to the main window, scroll until you find the Nanaimo area, and you should see the red outline of the chart. You may have to zoom in (use the plus key or mouse wheel), quite a bit to see the chart contents.(Remember that this is not a real chart, it has had things, including islands, added, removed and shifted around.)
(If you think that Canadians should also be able to get free copies of already produced charts, to enhance marine safety, you might want to let your MP know.)
Saving Money when boating
Charts and Publications
Cold Water Shock
Sharing the channels
Oceanography of the British Columbia Coast by Richard E. Thompson - an excellent book that covers geography of the coast, tides, waves, currents and much more. Now available as a PDF download on our links page.
As mentioned in the article, wind driven waves interacting with current can have a major effect on sea conditions. A great, free, introduction to weather, the National Marine Weather Guide, is available as a PDF on our links page. The companion book, British Columbia Regional Guide (also available as a PDF on our links page) looks at individual areas, such as Desolation Sound, explaining how local geography comes into play.