Run the Inside Passage with Big Coast’s Tim Milne
Over the years, running the British Columbia Inside Passage has become a Big Coast specialty.
The 600-odd miles that comprise the BC Coast from Vancouver to Prince Rupert present a myriad of challenges, opportunities and adventures.
From a boating perspective, you need to have your KingFisher serviced and running in top shape. Give special attention to oil and filter changes, fuel and water separator filters, running lights and anything that will keep you safe and on track.
And while you’re working on keeping on track, electronics are key. Ensure everything is in working order and you know how to utilize your chart plotter, sounder, radar, autopilot and radio…and how to do a reset if required.
Route planning is key as there are options up and down the coast, particularly North of Sunshine Coast or Campbell River, where there are opportunities to run right up Johnstone Strait or the “back door” North of Powell River.
Hand-in-hand with route planning, and perhaps most important, is weather. Running the Inside Passage comprises seven different Environment Canada weather regions and a number of tricky tide and weather-dependent crossings. Georgia Strait can present wind challenges and Johnstone Strait, especially its middle ground around Helmcken Island can be near treacherous. North of Port Hardy the run around Cape Caution is always daunting and I’ve had my butt kicked crossing Milbanke Sound North of Bella Bella on more than one occasion.
Exiting the Grenville Channel and final run into Prince Rupert is exposed and can blow up…but is generally a fine home stretch on a Northbound run.
Finally, you need a good fuel plan and knowledge of how much gas your boat burns. Our 3025 KingFisher Offshore has a 160 gallon capacity. Generally speaking we run around 30mph and burn about 15-16gph on our Twin Yamaha F200s. That gives you about 10 hours running time and 300 miles. So know your fuel and know where you’re going to get it.
If you’re making a run North of Port Hardy this summer, keep in mind First Nations along the way are closed due to Covid-19 and will not be providing fuel. This leaves Shearwater Marine near Bella Bella as the only fuel option along the way, so carry a little extra where required.
Summer is cruising season…grab some boating adventure!