by Paula Kully –
If you’re anything like me, you have walked by Port Sidney Marina many times while out enjoying a stroll along the waterfront walkway that runs by it. But have you ever wondered what happens beyond that alluring welcome arch over the entrance? I have, and I was quite amazed to discover everything that is taking place within this full-service marina. It is really something of a village within a town, and provides just about everything boaters need.
Walking across the ramp leading up to the floating Welcome Centre, you’re immediately aware that you are leaving solid ground as you are surrounded by water on both sides. When you first step inside the centre, you enter a bright, clean foyer with glass doors opening at the far end onto the docks. The moorage office to your right is where bookings can be made for annual, monthly, nightly and even hourly moorage. The lounge area to your left provides a comfortable seating area with flat-screen TVs and a dedicated computer workstation with Internet. There are also a large kitchen area and laundry facilities. In addition, the centre has washrooms with showers for people coming off the water.
Upstairs, you will find Yacht Sales West and Grand Yachts, which sell boats of all sizes, while Cooper’s Marine and Island Cruising rent vessels. Next door, is a fully stocked “chandlery.” For other non-boaters like me, this is the nautical term for a store that sells all things boating related. This particular chandlery is named Booty’s Boat Locker, and is operated by the friendly and welcoming Janie Hofmeyr. Booty’s also sells gifts and brews a great cup of coffee.
Outside on the docks, Blue Dog Kayaking offers kayak and standup paddleboard lessons, and a 24-hour Canada Customs office is located at the very far end of G dock where boaters enter in off the breakwater. The docks are also equipped with an event tent that is available to both cruising groups and non-boating groups. This is a unique site to host events, and the marina goes all out to set it up with a BBQ, fridge, tables, or whatever you need to make your event special.
Marina Manager Wayne Pullen and his team oversee the inner workings of the marina which includes 13,494 feet of linear dock space, divided into 320 slips and accommodating boats up to 138 feet. As a guest, you are welcome to explore the docks during the day when the gates are unlocked, but at night a key is needed. Walking through this world where white, glimmering vessels sway gently in their berths waiting to be taken out on their next adventure, you get a whole new view of Sidney and its ties to the water.
Mill Bay Marine Group purchased Port Sidney Marina in June of 2016 and Managing Partner Duane Shaw explains: “We recognize that the marina by its very nature controls the land/water link and that has us acting as an agent to the community when things like emergencies or weather events cause problems. From that perspective, we want to be involved with the local community and marine industry to ensure they are aware of us and comfortable with us.”
The company’s view on community involvement has come to the forefront lately as Susan Simosko, President of the Sidney BIA, states: “Port Sidney Marina is not only a great marina, it is a passionate supporter of community events. Attracting the BC Boat Show back to Sidney and supporting Surf Canada’s Standup Paddleboard National Championships are two recent examples of their outstanding commitment to our town. We are so grateful for their leadership, creativity, and generosity!”
The BC Boat Show is set to take place May 3 to 6, and the National Standup Paddleboard Championships will run May 26 to 28. Both events promise to bring significant economic benefits to the community as a whole.
As the gateway to the beautiful and ever-popular Gulf Islands, the marina plays a big role in welcoming visitors to Sidney, while the community offers amenities and attractions for boaters coming off the water. The natural partnership between Port Sidney and the community is truly a win-win situation.
Photos by Nunn Other Photography.