This summer promises a stream of confused looking mariners spinning in circles in Victoria’s Inner Harbour, looking for the tiny, crowded, recessed speck of the Border Services Agency’s Customs dock deep in its old hole between the Inner Harbour Floatplane base and the Wharf Street marina.
It’s not there anymore; or rather, it probably still will be, but Customs won’t be. Save yourself some time, fuel, and aggravation: head straight to the newer, more spacious facilities at Raymur Point, just east of Fisherman’s Wharf and in front of the Coast Harbourside resort and marina.
The new concrete dock was completed in November. The creaky old wood float next to the Broughton Street Pier, often surrounded by circling boaters waiting their turn alongside, will be a much lonelier place when the new dock goes into service in 2014, but the shift of location is a win both for visiting boaters and other Inner Harbour users.
Cruisers checking in at Victoria no longer have to navigate the narrow small craft traffic lanes through the congested zone between Songhees and Laurel Points to clear Customs… nor back out again the same day if their destination for the night happens to not be in the Inner Harbour. Nor will water taxi drivers or floatplane pilots have to worry about the randomly circling hordes of pleasure craft waiting their turn just off the airport docks. This is not an insignificant reduction; some 1800 vessels per year, on average, clear into Canada at the Inner Harbour Customs dock.
In addition to the easier access, the new docks are larger besides, offering more than 80 metres of linear moorage, which will allow more concurrently docked boats and reduce wait times even further. The concrete construction is expected to offer more stability and durability.
“The placement allows for a more efficient flow of marine traffic, allowing vessels to reach Customs facilities earlier on entrance to Victoria harbour,” said Greater Victoria Harbour Association President and CEO Curtis Grad.
In addition to that coveted “new dock smell,” the new docks will have improved signage and lighting. Grad says it is an important improvement to the first impression that visiting boaters receive when checking in to the country.
Of course, that impression depends in no small part on finding the dock where you expect it when you are looking for it. So spread the word! Help your friends and family avoid that embarrassing detour into the Inner Harbour by letting them know about the new location.