Paddle-off at Swartz Bay Terminal Questions

  • Creator
  • #19203
    Yekaterina Yushmanova


    I have never done wheel-on/paddle-off on a ferry but would like to give it a try this summer. There is some info about it on BCMT but I would like to get more insight from folks who have done it. My questions are: where exactly is the exit gate towards the launch spot at Swartz Bay terminal if you are walking off with a kayak there? How tough is it to hike with a wheeled boat from the ferry to the launch (I will be solo) at Swartz Bay? I am going to practice my boat wheeling skills prior to this but any tips, tricks, and insights are most welcome.

Viewing 5 replies - 1 through 5 (of 5 total)
  • Author
  • #19290
    Kevin Amos
    Yekaterina Yushmanova

    You guys are the best! I feel so much more confident now and know what challenges to expect. Thank you!!!

    Maureen Benzon

    Replies above are exactly right. Getting up and down the rocky path will be tricky on your own, especially if it has been raining.

    It’s an extra kilometer, but they will come and fetch you at the terminal if requested. Phone Sandy at Pacifica Paddle Sports. For a nominal fee (I don’t remember what, but less than ferry fee) you can launch from their dock directly into Canoe Bay and miss the very busy ferry routes. They will keep your wheels and day clothes for you. If you drive to their dock, parking is included in the launch fee.

    Getting onto the ferry is easy. Park and prepare your kayak. Pay bicycle rate and walk through the ticket office. Wait to load with the bikes. The advantage is that you are first on and first off.

    It’s a lovely little adventure. Have fun.


    Clark Perry-Bater

    To add a bit to Kevin’s information, I would estimate the distance you have to wheel your kayak from the ferry to the beach is about 0.5 km. A good chunk of that is on the ferry parking lot, uphill, and once you’re outside the perimeter fence, it’s downhill to the beach. With a fully- loaded kayak it can be be quite a slog! I have found the launch much easier with 2 people, because depending on the tide level, the ramp down to the government dock can be quite steep, and if you launch from the beach, it’s a bit of a scramble to get your kayak over rocks and stuff down to the beach – difficult for a solo paddler.

    Kevin Amos

    Here is where you launch from. There is a difficult 3 ft drop to the beach or you can try using the dock. To get there you walk along the pedestrian painted path in the terminal. There will be an employee parking gate with a buzzer to request to exit. With good wheels you should have no problem.


    Barnacle Rd
    Swartz Bay, BC

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