- MT Safety Audits
- First Nations
- Site evaluation
- Public map
- Public education
- Places to Paddle & Resources
- Walk On Paddle Off
The Vision of the BC Marine Trails (BCMT) is to link the entire B.C. coastline through marine routes and land sites for safe and sustainable water-based public recreation. The BCMT is working toward safe and connected Marine Trails (MT).
Our Public Program consists of five components to ensure the safety of coastal travellers using paddlecraft or small boats:
- Trail system safety audits;
- Site evaluation/assessment;
- Planning with First Nations and others
- Public site data sharing;
- and Public education
MT Safety Audits
Our volunteers complete safety audits to determine where a site should be designated. The audit examines:
- Minimal site standards. For example, the site should be reasonably accessible between shore and the camping location and offer protection from weather and sea conditions.
- Optimal distances between campsites and other designations, such as, Day Use sites. Our safety mandate specifies 8 nautical miles for optimal distances.
- Site necessary near the approach to each major potential hazard on a trail (such as significant crossings or tidal rapids) to allow a party shore access until it is safe to proceed.
- Safety stops where needed to allow a paddler quick access off the water.
Our Marine Trail Safety Mandate (draft).
The BCMT recognizes and values the interests, history and rights of First Nations in marine trails’ use of traditional lands. Moreover, BCMT is committed as an organization to reconciliation and to the concept of prior and informed consent in engagements with First Nations. These fundamental principles are integral to the BCMT public safety program, as any proposed use of traditional land for achieving public safety must involve First Nations engagement and must account for First Nations interests, whether archaeological, cultural or economic. Read more on our main First Nations page.
Sites assessments and evaluations are visited generally by volunteers to ensure that they meet safety conditions. Our Site Condition Reports are meant for quicker assessments of the condition of a site. For Site Condition reporting visit this page. Our Site Assessments are generally to comprehensively assess a new site or upgrade the information of a site. We offer courses on this. Drop us an email from our contact page if you are interested.
The Marine Trail Safety Mandate provides the framework to indicate the need for marine trail sites at general locations along the BC coast. Our new Environmental Care Program will allow the BCMT to locate appropriate sites within the necessary boundaries where environmental, wildlife and other considerations are minimally impacted. The result will be the accommodation marine traffic at appropriate locations designed for sustainability and minimal impact with a minimal footprint along wilderness corridors.
Our map is available for public use. This information sharing is instrumental to public safety by making marine trail information widely available so people can determine safe routes and safe locations to stop along the entire BC coast. This information is provided by a proprietary mapping system, driven by a specialized database. Please review 'Using our map' for additional information. Our map information or data is carefully reviewed before it's displayed publicly.
We work as closely as possible with government, First Nations and stakeholders to make decisions on each site. We have a much larger inventory but placement of sites has
The BCMT endeavors to educate and inform marine trail users on campsite etiquette, marine trail user expectations, rules relating to aspects such as human waste disposal and fire use, plus delivering information on First Nations protocols and permissions. The BCMT has been advocating Leave No Trace principles, through our website and workshops, to train volunteers on this and other aspects specific to the BC coast and its First Nations to promote site sustainability.
Of the 3,650 sites in the BCMT inventory at this time, 1,200 are currently shown to the public. The remainder need a further assessment before the BCMT can share the site information. Many may also be disqualified from consideration as marine trail sites for a variety of reasons, most notably First Nations sensitivities.
Places to Paddle & Resources
We have three main sources to help you plan a trip:
- Our map is our best resource to explore the coastline and find specific campsite, day use or access information. We have a complimentary page called 'Using the Map and its tools' to help you understand the functions of the map.
- Marine Trails
- Salish Sea Marine Trail - most of the campsites are within a BC or federal park; we are working on two parks to become official sites of the SSMT
- Gulf Islands Marine Trail - established in 2011.
- Sea to Sky Marine Trail - we have established six recreation sites in this area and connected to three Provincial Park; SKABC kayak club maintains the sites and have completed considerable improvements
- Cape Scott Marine Trail (planning stage) - we are in the process of submitting six rec sites in Quatsino Sound; these sites are campsites but not legally established yet; Cape Scott Provincial Park has recognized wilderness campsites
- Discovery Islands - we have established seven recreation sites: Freedom Point, Whale Passage, Penn Islands north, Shipwreck Bluff, Francisco Island, Estero Peak and Solitary Mtn.
- Resources to help you plan your trip.
Walk On Paddle Off
Walk On Paddle Off a ferry: As part of the Salish Sea Marine Trail project, the BC Marine Trails Network worked with BC Ferries to identify and set protocols for paddlers to walk or wheel their craft onto BC Ferries on select routes, then walk off to launch at a strategic nearby beach.
The intention is to allow paddlers to leave the car at home to reduce travel costs, emissions, and to avoid vehicle lineups during peak travel periods. We now have listed 23 Ferry Terminals on our map. We will continue to update this program.