Boating In Kelowna – Ten Things You Need to Know

Kelowna is on the shores of Okanagan Lake and is a boater's paradise!

1. Downtown Kelowna is on the shores of the Okanagan Lake and is a boater’s paradise. 

The marina is lively, and the journey around here will be filled with picturesque views of our clear freshwater lake. Interesting stops dot the shoreline that stretches 135 km long from Vernon to Penticton.

It is one of the best boating destinations in British Columbia, attracting boaters and tourists from around the world. They visit for the vibrant urban lifestyle, beautiful sandy beaches, and award-winning wineries. To top it off, golfers can tee-off at dozens of spectacular courses all within an easy drive from the heart of the city.

2. The locals know exactly how to experience the ultimate summer day. 

It doesn’t matter whether you are visiting Kelowna for the weekend or plan to spend the whole summer here. Don’t cram too much into your schedule. Leave time and space to cast off, feel the wind in your hair and the sunshine on your face. Give yourself permission to go offline and let the stress melt away. Why not? Few things are as much fun as a long, sunny day on the water. 

3. Renting a Boat in Downtown Kelowna

Spending the day cruising around the lake, waterskiing, wakeboarding, or sunbathing can be easily arranged. Whether you want to moor your boat or rent one, Downtown Marina can help you out. This vibrant marina offers rentals for all budgets and the perfect craft to fit your needs. Some of the models available for rent are MasterCraft, Chaparral and Cobalt boats. They also have Yamaha and Sea-doo jet skis. Don’t forget accessories such as wakeboards and waterskis. Maybe you are looking to glide out on a quieter adventure? Kayaks and Stand Up Paddle Boards will get you out on the lake in no time. 

4. Requirements to Rent a Boat

Renting a boat is a simple process. You will need a valid photo ID card and a credit card that will allow pre-authorization for your rental deposit. This can total up to $1000 plus the cost of the rental and tax. Transport Canada requires all operators of motorized pleasure craft to have proof of competency and proof of age on board at all times. 

Boating Safety 

Safe boating on the lake is important. The best way to establish minimum competency is to obtain a Pleasure Craft Operators Card (PCOC) online or in-person; there is no expiry. Check out courses offered by Canadian Power Squadron 

The Kelowna Yacht Club provides plenty of resources on boating safety and also offers a free course called Boating Safety 101. To learn more, visit their website 

Transport Canada publishes a Boating Safety Guide that can be found here.

5. Finding Your Way Around the Lake 

Looking for the most incredible beaches and restaurants on the lake? Downtown Kelowna Marina has put together a self-directed tour guidebook. 

Frind Winery is a cool place where you can visit Annie’s Bistro, a lakefront café, and patio. Rise and shine, arrive by boat, and tie up on their dock. Enjoy a freshly baked cinnamon bun and latté or choose from their interesting menu and pair with a glass of wine. Tastings are also available at Frind Winery 

Where to find mooring buoys near Kelowna? 

The Kelowna Yacht Club maintains 30 buoys on the west side of Okanagan Lake, north of the Bennett Bridge. If the buoy has a KYC identification, you can hook up on a first-come, first-serve basis. It is a requirement that you stay with your vessel. A link to the GPS coordinates can be found here

Going further up or down the lake? There is a Public Mooring Buoy program from Vernon to Penticton. Suncruiser Magazine has a series of 13 maps of the lake. If you need info on anchorages, prevailing winds, hazards, and mooring buoy locations, order a Suncruiser Magazine.  

6. Moorage with Downtown Kelowna Marina

You can choose three different moorage options: Hourly Moorage, Overnight Moorage, or Seasonal Moorage. The Hourly Moorage option is perfect for you if you have a short time on the lake. Overnight moorage may be the boat owner’s best bet compared to a launch every morning. Consider a Seasonal Moorage if you are lucky enough to have your own boat and the whole summer season of adventure planned! 

7. Tour Operators are happy to take care of all the details so you can sit back and relax

Experience a private sailing cruise/ lake tour in Kelowna with your family or friends. 

An afternoon or evening sunset cruise can be booked at Holy Doodle Sailing Charters. Meet Captain Brad! This is always described as a highlight experience by travelers. He is a competent sailor with 35+ years of sailing/racing experience on lakes and oceans. Guests can decide how much or how little hands-on sailing they want to do. Book early to get a spot aboard Adria, an 8.5-meter yacht with an engine, head (bathroom), and even a BBQ if you request it. 

Looking for some high-octane fun? How about a wine-sipping action-packed day on The Sip & Anchor Trademark Tour? It is everything you dream about when you think of the Kelownafornia, Instagram-worthy, carefree lifestyle. The day begins with some winery hopping at Kelowna’s best wineries. Following that is a waterfront luncheon. Cap it off with an afternoon soaking up the sun & playing in the refreshing waters of Okanagan Lake.  

8. Health Benefits of Boating

Enter the concept of vacation blue zone – this is the place where water meets the sky. Something changes in our brains. Time on the water in a natural environment without distractions helps us hit the reset button and relieves stress. We all know this; we can feel it. The calming effect of water leads to emotional and psychological wellness. Bond with your family and friends and get some great exercise too.  

The next time you can’t decide whether you should take a vacation that includes some boating, or not, do it for your health.  

9. Downtown Kelowna -where to stay

If you are in a nautical mood, there is no better place than Urban Shores. This luxury penthouse is in the heart of the city perched right above Kelowna’s Downtown Marina and The Sails.

Expect nothing but the best with an elevated boutique, interior design, and sweeping lake views.  

10. Mussels

We love our lake. Please help us stop the spread of zebra mussels if you are transporting a boat from an infected body of water. Invasive zebra mussels pose a multi-million-dollar threat to the Lake Okanagan region. Tourism, economy, fish, beaches, property values, and water supplies could be impacted.  

Zebra mussels are usually spread by boaters and anglers, and they pollute our waters. They hitchhike via standing water in boats, kayaks, life jackets, or any item that may have spent time in infested waters.  And boy, can they wreak havoc on our pristine environment. We are counting on you to learn about “Clean, Drain, Dry” for your watercraft and other water-related gear. Please share information about invasive mussel prevention with everyone you know who loves boating.