Whale watching in Vancouver
Q: Should I make a reservation?
A: We strongly suggest making a reservation, especially during our peak summer months of June-August. Making a reservation 4-5 days in advance will ensure that you and your guests get the exact day and time of your preferred trip. We do accept walk-ins, although we cannot guarantee there will be space on the boat!
Q: Where are you located and how do I get there?
A: Steveston is located in south Richmond which is about a 40min drive from downtown Vancouver and only 15 minutes from Vancouver International Airport. There are a couple ways to get here, if you drive yourself by car, in which case we have free parking, or by Canada Line and bus. You can call our office anytime to ask about specific directions and our free shuttle!
Q: How far in advance should I arrive?
A: We ask that you be here at least a half hour before departure so that you can check- in and receive a boarding pass. You will often have some extra time to grab some food and a coffee or just sit and enjoy the scenery of the Fraser River.
Q: What do you supply? What should I bring?
A: We will supply you with coffee, water and granola bars for your trip. We also have life-jackets on board for all ages. You should bring warm clothes for your trip, layers are recommended or a wind breaker, as it is often cooler on the water then on land! We also suggest packing a lunch or some extra food, as sometimes the trips will be 5 hours or more.
Q: What should I expect from a 3-5 hour whale watching trip?
A: Upon leaving the wharf in Steveston you will cruise out the Fraser River and into the Strait of Georgia. Each trip is unique and will encounter different locations and marine life. We estimate the trip time based on where the whales are found that day. You can expect to see a wide range of sea animals and birds, specifically Bald Eagles, porpoises, seals, and sea lions. You will often enjoy the scenic views of the Gulf and San Juan Islands, our trips are professionally narrated and include books, maps and information about the area and marine ecosystems of the North Pacific.
Q: Will we see whales?
A: The chance of whale sightings varies depending on season. We are part of a network of whale watching operators that share sighting information, this gives us a 90% sighting success rate. Our peak months for killer whale sightings are June-August. During the shoulder seasons we often view migratory Grey Whales, Humpbacks and transient killer whales.
Q: How close can we get to the whales?
A: All whale watching companies follow the same guidelines established by the Pacific Whale Watch Association (PWWA). We can slowly approach up to 100 meters (100 yards) to the whales*. At this distance you get an excellent view of the whales while not disturbing their normal behavior.
*As of 2011, new regulations around the San Juan Islands, USA, require boats to stay at least 200 yards of the whales.
Q: What if we don’t see whales?
A: Since we are searching for wild, highly mobile animals, we sometimes don’t see whales. If this happens we will offer you a return pass, allowing you to come again for free until you see whales! This pass has no expiry date but is not transferable and has no cash value.
Q: Is there an age restriction on your tours?
A: No, we believe whale watching should be shared by everyone and do not have any restrictions on small children joining our excursions. Keep in mind that the trips can be 5 hours long and sometimes in rough weather. Children are required to remain seated while the boat is in motion.
Q: Will there be plenty of viewing space? Can I bring a camera?
A: All of our boats hold maximum 23 passengers and have plenty of room to walk around and view from all sides of the boat. The covered inside cabin has seats for everyone with windows for viewing. There is also a open back and upper viewing deck. Yes, please bring your camera and just be aware that everyone on the boat wants the best view of the animals, so be respectful and move around the boat for all views of the beautiful surroundings!