Sure, we tick all the full-service marina boxes, but that’s not what makes us special!
We are a locally owned and operated small business, and we aspire to be so much more than a place to moor a boat. Maple Bay Marina plays the role of a community centre for locals and citizens for the world, who choose to roam, float and fly through life. Here you can rendezvous with those who boat, and those who just love the land, sea and sky. Here you can sing, dance, play, create and disconnect from everyday life. That’s what we do here. Soak up the coastal ambiance, breath the fresh air and touch the cool clear water. We are here to offer experiences that take a moment but last a lifetime. Come join us. We want you to feel at home here.
Maple Bay Marina is grateful to operate in the traditional and unceded territories of the Coast Salish people. Maple Bay is known as Hwutl’upnets in the local Hul’q’umi’num language.
By land, Maple Bay Marina is part of the rural community of Maple Bay, in the Municipality of North Cowichan on southern Vancouver Island.
By water, Maple Bay is an exceptionally sheltered inlet situated halfway up Sansum Narrows. It is on Vancouver Island west of Burgoyne Bay on Saltspring Island. It is considered one of the finest natural harbours on the West Coast of North America, nestled in the calm, protected waters of Bird’s Eye Cove, at the Bay’s most southern end.
- Google map
- Waypoints – 48◦ 47’N 123◦ 36’W
- By land
- 10 minutes from Duncan, 45 minutes from Nanaimo, 1 hour north of Victoria
- Arrival from the south – Take Trans-Canada Highway 1 north. Turn right at Trunk Road in Duncan (it becomes Tzouhalem Road). At the roundabout turn onto Maple Bay Road. Turn left onto Genoa Bay Road until you come to the marina.
- Arrival from the north – Take Trans-Canada Highway 1 south. Turn left onto Herd Road (just before Duncan). Turn left on Maple Bay Road. Turn right on Chisholm Trail. Turn right onto Genoa Bay Road until you come to the marina.
- By Sea
- Easily accessible from Sansum Narrows
- Chart 3462 – Sansum Narrows
- Chart 3442-01 – South end of Maple Bay
- Chart 3478-02 – South end of Bird’s Eye Cove
- By Air
- Harbour Air and Saltspring Air Seaplanes offer daily scheduled seaplane service to and from Ganges Harbour, Downtown Vancouver or Vancouver Airport (YVR). Charters are also available.
David and Carol Messier have been the custodians of the marina since 2003. With roots firmly planted in Western Canada they operate in this magical place in collaboration with their outstanding staff, friends and neighbours. It is with full recognition of the fragility of the time gifted they endeavour to invest passion, energy, resources and, of course hospitality into ongoing improvements of the Marina and surrounding community. This is a remarkable place and they hope everyone has a chance to share their home.
David and Carol are also active participants in Boating BC, The American the BC Yacht Brokers Association, the Maple Bay Community Association, The District of North Cowichan, Tourism Cowichan and the Duncan Cowichan Chamber of Commerce, to name a few.
Quw’utsun (Cowichan) People have fished, hunted and gathered in the Hwutl’upnets area, now called Maple Bay, for millennia. Generally living very peacefully, Elders do speak of the Great Battle of Hwutl’upnets (Maple Bay), which took place in the mid-19th century. After decades of brutal attacks by the northern tribes, the Salish People of the south were determined to stop the terrifying raids as a united force. Under the leadership of Chief Tzouhalem, canoe warriors were hailed from all over the Salish Sea. In a deft combination of might, determination and strategy, they were able to vanquish the northern attackers and put an end to any future raids.
Around the same time, Vancouver Island was largely under British control, but large numbers of Americans were also passing through in pursuit of Gold Rush fortunes. Permanent settlers were enticed with the offer of cheap land. Maple Bay became a bustling steamship port and the primary point of entry into the Cowichan Valley. Pioneer William Beaumont believed Maple Bay would become the urban centre of the Cowichan Valley so he opened and operated a general store and hotel here. In 1888 Beaumont’s predictions proved false, and the new E & N railway station was established in Duncan, making it the region. Maple Bay continued to develop as a destination for recreation, and Mecca for boaters in the Pacific Northwest and Salish Sea. The community is now surrounded by semi-rural residential homes.
Maple Bay was always a popular anchorage for boaters of all stripes, because of wind protection it offered. Log booms were anchored here and salmon fishing flourished in the narrows. In 1945, Maple Bay Marina began official operation, eventually becoming one of the largest marinas in British Columbia. Famous visitors of the day included John Wayne, Barbra Streisand, and Jacques Cousteau, who claimed it was his one of his favorite diving locations in the world.
For the past two decades the Marina has undergone extensive improvements, all oriented to the support boats and those who boat, all with a sensitive eye to preserving the majestic beauty of the land, the authentic west coast vibe and sense of the role it play in our local community.
Maple Bay Marina is now full service, open year round, with a stunning float home community, full-service boat yard, eateries and a colourful hive of activity for all those who boat and love boats.
We believe our role is to go beyond sustainability. We strive to regenerate the natural environment in our community. This is accomplished through the following initiatives:
- Eel grass restoration program
- Removal and disposal of over 200 creosote piles
- Habitant regeneration and reef supports
- Ongoing reuse and recycling programs
- Dark sky policies
- Strict no dumping policies
We love to have your pets visit, but please keep them leashed at all times when on the property. Always use the doggie waste bags to pick up after them.
Maple Bay Marina strictly adheres to all COVID-19 protocols as defined by the Provincial Health Officer. For current restrictions and requirements please visit:
Clean Marine BC
Our commitment to green boating
We are proud to have achieved a 5-Anchor Rating from the Clean Marine BC eco-certification program. We take our commitment to environmental best practices seriously. Over the years, we’ve invested in significant improvements including the installation of a new sewage pumpout station, a long-term dock replacement program, and upgrades to the vessel maintenance area to prevent contaminant runoff. We also welcome school groups who want to learn more about our eelgrass restoration project.