With this volume, the Atlantic Cruising Club expands its marina coverage to the Pacific Coast for the first time. For 10 years, we have been publishing independent, "boater-biased" information, ratings, reviews and photos based on personal visits backed by painstaking research — until now focused on 2,000 marinas on the Atlantic Coast. We believe the Atlantic Cruising Club’s Guides to Marinas are now the most detailed and accurate source of marina and "what’s-nearby" information available on both coasts. We hope you will agree as you cruise the Pacific Northwest’s breathtakingly beautiful waters — and refer to these pages again and again for help in deciding which marinas, harbors and towns provide the services and attractions you are seeking.
We’ve seen a lot of magnificent country in our boating and publishing pursuits, and we believe the Pacific Northwest regions covered in this Guide provide some of the most glorious cruising grounds in all of North America. Better yet, most are in relatively protected areas — although huge tidal ranges and their associated currents can provide some interesting moments. We learned the pleasures of precipitation — whether it’s a light mist, dense fog, brief shower, or teeth-chattering deluge — that is the price of all that intense greenery. It also made us appreciate the sun. When we were blessed with clear skies, the views were unmatched — anywhere. From most places on the water, there are dramatic vistas of small rock-bound archipelagos, densely layered forests, and, when they are "out," soaring snow-capped mountains. This can be raw country with wilderness close at hand — but it can also be exciting cosmopolitan cities, funky fishing camps, charming, laid-back little villages, world-class resorts, bustling harbor towns. We were bewitched by all of it.
We also ventured outside the comfort zone of most cruising guides. The Washington and Oregon coasts, south of the Puget Sound region, are often bypassed by recreational boaters — with good reason. Notorious bars, Alaskan-spawned storms, and the United States as a lee shore are powerful incentives to stay well offshore and hurry southward or northward to gentler waters before making landfall. This dramatic coastline, however, has some real rewards for the careful skipper who elects to stay inshore and explore the rivers and harbors.
Of course, there are no secrets; even the most remote regions have been discovered. To wit, over a third of the northernmost marinas covered in this Guide had changed hands in the previous year — many are evolving from fishing camps to full-service yachting facilities. Thankfully, most new owners seemed deeply committed to preserving the environment that had attracted them in the first place. On that same note, it is heartening to see that more "no-discharge" zones are being designated, pump-out facilities installed and "Clean Marinas" certified — these programs are vital to the health of these fragile waters (please see page 298 for a complete list). As new "Clean Marinas" and "No Discharge Zones/Areas" are christened, and new pump-put services inaugurated, ACC will post the information on its website — www.AtlanticCruisingClub.com.
This volume is also the Atlantic Cruising Club’s first foray into a region that includes cruising grounds outside the United States. More than forty percent of the Atlantic Cruising Club’s Guide to Pacific Northwest Marinas covers facilities in the Canadian province of British Columbia. An international border may seem to be just a dashed line on the chart, but some very real differences exist when crossing it in either direction. It might prove useful to understand the distinctions before setting off. Coast Guard regulations differ from one side to the other, and clearing customs requires some preplanning. For some assistance, please see the box on page 21 for current U.S. and Canadian Ports of Entry and www.AtlanticCruisingClub.com for the U.S. and Canadian Custom Offices’ Boaters Fact Sheets — which also describes the all-important import restrictions. Be aware, too, that U.S. and Canadian nautical charts use different units of measure and a different tide datum. Even some of the boating language is unique: Looking for the Harbormaster or Harbourmaster? In B.C., ask for the Wharfinger. If you are new to the whole region, "moorage" means "dockage" — not "moorings." And, save your "loonies" — they are often required for a hot shower.
In this Guide, all prices in U.S. waters are shown in U.S. dollars. All prices in Canadian waters are shown in Canadian dollars. As of this writing, Canadian dollars are worth a little bit less than American dollars, and U.S. boaters may think they are getting a good deal after conversion. However, they then find out about the Canadian taxes, which often offset any apparent price advantage!
We wish you wonderful cruising and exciting adventures — whether you are discovering these waters for the first time or are revisiting them for the tenth. We can’t wait for our next trip.
Richard Y. Smith
Rye, New York