In 2020 the Vancouver International Boat Show took place from February 5th to 9th (which was around the same time as last year but two weeks later than the year before).
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The Vancouver Boat Show
An annual event for over 50 years, the Vancouver International Boat Show is the premier boating event in Western Canada. It’s also the largest showcasing of the recreational boating industry in British Columbia. If you’re a boat fanatic, you’ll want to be there!
At the event there are fishing boats, pleasure yachts, jet skis, kayaks and other sorts of vessels on display, as well all kinds of motors and marine equipment.
Much of the event is indoors at BC Place Stadium at 777 Pacific Boulevard, which is great if it’s a typical rainy January or February day. It also takes place by the Granville Island Maritime Market and Marina at 1676 Duranleau Street. Free shuttle buses and water ferries run continuously between the two venues.
Boat Show Hours and Admission
In 2020 the Vancouver International Boat Show ran from Wednesday, February 5th, until Sunday, February 9th. Over 27,500 people attended.
Hours of operation were from 10:00 am to 8:00 pm from Wednesday to Saturday, and from 10 am to 5 pm on the Sunday.
Note: The Granville Island Floating Show was only open until 5:30 pm from Wednesday to Saturday and until 5:00 pm on Sunday.
Admission to the event includes all show activities including educational seminars and live entertainment. Admission also includes both the outdoor floating show at the marina at Granville Island and the indoor show at BC Place Stadium, as well as water taxi and shuttle bus services between the two venues.
Regular Gate Admission Prices
Admission to the event in 2020 was $15 for adults (age 17 to 64) and $13 for seniors for one day, just $4-$5 more for two days, and $25 for a 5-day pass. Children ages 16 and under were free when accompanied by an adult. Prices in 2020 were the same as they have been for the past four years (which is great)!
Here’s a recap of the 2020 prices when purchased at the gate including GST taxes:
- Adults (ages 17 to 64): $15 for one day ticket and $20 for two days.
- Seniors (ages 65+): $13 for one day ticket and $17 for two days.
- Children (ages 16 and under): free (when accompanied by an adult).
- 5-Day Pass (ages 17+): $25
Discounted Ticket Offers
If you sign up for the Skippers’ Club e-Newsletter and then buy your Boat Show tickets online in advance you’ll save a few dollars.
Another way to save is to attend the Vancouver International Boat Show after 5 pm. Arrive at the gate in the evening and pay just $5. During these evening specials, children ages 16 and under still get in free when accompanied by an adult.
Groups of 20 or more people also get a discount – the cost for them is only around $10 per person.
Boat Show Activities
There is a lot to do at the Boat Show other than just look at boats, motors and marine equipment.
At the Vancouver International Boat Show there are seminar speakers including do-it-yourself workshops, boating seminars, sport fishing talks and even cooking demonstrations. Don’t only look at the boats – get your money’s worth and attend the learning events!
In 2020 over 125 presentations were scheduled including ones by boating experts, world explorers, environmentalists and even underwater treasure hunters.
For children, there is a Kids’ Zone, plus the free trips on the water ferries are always fun.
In addition to all the seminars, over 250 exhibitors typically participate, as do close to 30,000 attendees in busy years.
In 2020, a new Canadian speaker line launched at the Vancouver Boat Show. 360 Marine Speaker line is created by 360 Fabrications Inc, a local custom car and boat restoration shop, and Focal, a French hi-fi audio manufacturer.
Women’s Day at the Vancouver Boat Show
Saturday, February 8th, 2020, was Women’s Day at the Boat Show. For $99 women got a morning coffee, bag lunch, access to a fashion show, wine tasting opportunities and general admission to the Boat Show.
On Women’s Day, the program is catered to women, and women are encouraged to sign up, but spouses sometimes also attend. Workshops on February 8th were also of interest to novices (and parents) in general, not just women.
Workshops scheduled for Women’s Day are almost exclusively led by female presenters. In 2020, some seminars included the following:
- All Boat Insurance Is Not Created Equal – Are You Really Covered?
- Gourmet in Small Spaces
- Why Is Solar So Great For Your Boat?
- Your First Year of Boating – What Can You Expect
- Help! I Need A Tow
- A Seven Year Sail Around the Pacific
Boats on Display
Of course at the Vancouver International Boat Show there are numerous fancy boats to see and admire. At the 2020 event some of the displays to check out included the following:
- Crescent 117 – a recently released boat and the largest ever exhibited at the Vancouver Boat Show. The vessel is massive, at 117 feet in length, and can travel at up to 26 knots per hour.
- Greenline 48 Fly – an environmentally-friendly boat with hybrid batteries and solar panels.
- Integrity 440 Sedan – an Australian vessel that comes in various sizes (from 32 feet to over 50 in length).
Other premium luxury yachts appearing at the boat show in 2020 included the Duckworth 30XL Offshore, Malibu M240, Nautique Super Air Paragon, Prestige 590, Regency P65, Sunseeker Predator 50, Tiara 49 Coupe and Yamaha 275.
Twiggy the Water-Skiing Squirrel
Twiggy, the Internet-famous water-skiing squirrel, was scheduled to make daily appearances at the 2020 Vancouver Boat Show to teach the audience about water safety while performing water sports. The shows took place at Twiggy’s Lagoon inside BC Place Stadium and was a great attraction for the whole family!
TIP: Twiggy’s Lagoon is in a smaller area with limited seating. You needed to arrive early to get a good spot.
Ferry and Bus Shuttle Service
Admission to the Vancouver International Boat Show includes access to complimentary bus and ferry shuttle services.
Free shuttle bus service is offered every day throughout the event between the Floating Show at the Granville Island Maritime Market and Marina and the main entrance at BC Place Stadium.
There are also free boating rides available. If you visit the Discover Boating Tent you can sign up for a 30-minute ride in a power or sailboat around Vancouver’s coast.
Boat Show Video
Check out the video below to get an idea of what to expect at the Vancouver International Boat Show.
As you’ll see, the event takes place both outdoors at Granville Island and indoors at BC Place Stadium. There are boats of all kinds on display, and mini ferry boats that take passengers back and forth between the two venues.
Tips and Advice
Below is a list of suggestions and other information to help you make the most out of your visit to the Vancouver International Boat Show.
TIP #1: Both venues will be quietest on weekdays during the day and first thing in the mornings on the weekend. The BC Place venue will also be busiest on rainy days while the Granville Island venue is less busy when it’s wet out.
TIP #2: There are a number of nice restaurants close to both venues. BC Place Stadium isn’t far from Chinatown, Yaletown or Robson Street. There are also a number of nice restaurants on Granville Island.
TIP #3: Be sure to take in some of the educational seminars. They are interesting and you can learn a lot.
TIP #4: Especially if at the Boat Show when it’s not crazy busy, chat with the exhibitors. Ask questions, learn something new and have fun with the experts.
TIP #5: If you’re coming from out of town, check out the hotel discounts available to you on the Vancouver Boat Show’s website. Some of them had early cut-off dates but others are available until they are full.
Parking and Transit Tips
TIP #6: Take public transit if you can. BC Place has easy access to a SkyTrain station and from there you can catch the free shuttle service to and from Granville Island.
TIP #7: There is lots of parkade parking at or near BC Place Stadium. Sometimes parking fees are at a premium during “special events,” but weekends are usually more affordable than other times.
TIP #8: There is free parking at Granville Island, but it fills up quickly on busy days and is usually limited to a maximum of 3 hours. Get there early if you want a chance of finding a free spot. Give yourself lots of time though to get back from BC Place Stadium before your time runs out. (Note: As of the summer of 2019 the free parking at Granville Island between 11 am and 6 pm ends, so enjoy it while you can!)
TIP #9: The complimentary mini ferry service between the two venues can be a nice treat, especially for the rare person at the event not used to being out on a boat. Have patience though at busy times as the lineups can get long. Also if the docks are quite busy the ferries will be delayed as they may have to wait for a place to dock.
TIP #10: If relying on the complimentary ferry or bus service to get back to your car, give yourself lots of time in case there’s a big queue. The ferry service ends at 5:15 pm and the bus ends at 8:30 pm.
For further details about the event see the Vancouver Boat Show website.
For more ideas on things to do on other days, check out Vancouver’s February Events Calendar.