Land use - marinas and yacht clubs

Marinas and yacht clubs can be established on Foreshore and/or Aquatic Crown land through tenures available from the Province of British Columbia (the Province).

On this page:

What is foreshore and what is aquatic Crown land?

  • Foreshore is the land between the high and low watermarks of streams, rivers, lakes, and the ocean
  • Aquatic Crown land is all the land, including the foreshore, from the high water mark out to the limits of provincial jurisdiction

For example, this includes all submerged land between the B.C. mainland to the east and Vancouver Island and Haida Gwaii to the west, as well as all submerged land within bays on the west coasts of these islands.

Factors governing use of foreshore and aquatic Crown land in B.C. are:

  • The Province owns nearly all freshwater and saltwater foreshore
  • Although land adjacent to foreshore may be privately owned, in common law the public retains the privilege or "bare licence" to access the foreshore
  • Individuals cannot build on or develop aquatic Crown land, including Crown foreshore, without the province's authorization, even if they own adjacent property or "upland"; and permission to use Crown land is obtained by application to the Province

Application documents

In addition to reading the information on this webpage, the following documents should be reviewed prior to submitting your application:

The following documents must be completed prior to submitting your application:

Complete Application Package which includes:

Who may apply?

Crown land can be leased for Commercial use by:

  • Canadian citizens or permanent residents who are at least 19 years of age, and/or
  • Partnerships and corporations registered in B.C., and/or
  • Non-Canadians, provided the tenure is on aquatic land and the applicant owns the adjacent upland

Aquatic lands, including foreshore, cannot be sold in British Columbia under the Land Act. Tenures, however, may be available to commercial operators

Types of tenures

Obtaining a tenure is a three-step process.

  • The applicant must first secure a 1-year temporary licence from the Province to allow for time to seek the necessary approvals from other government agencies and prepare a development plan
  • Upon receipt of all approvals and a development plan, the Province may issue a lease or license of occupation for Phase I of the marina development
  • The final lease is issued for a 30-year term when the facility begins operation

In addition to commercial moorage, the marina or yacht club tenure may also authorize ancillary uses such as:

  • Boathouses
  • Gas and fuel docks
  • Marine ways
  • Launching ramps
  • Docks for boat sales
  • Rentals and charters
  • Restaurants
  • Bait shops

Fees and costs

You will be required to pay an application fee, as outlined in the Crown Land Fees schedule (PDF, 49KB), as well as rental fees.

Rent is determined by:

  • Rental for the moorage component of a marina tenure is 3.5% of the potential gross income for the first 15 years, and 4% for the next 15 years
  • The Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations determines potential gross income annually based on the total potential income from boat moorage, which a marina operation could receive
  • Rental for the non-moorage part of a marina tenure is either 5% or 8% of the appraised land value for leases (4.5% or 7.5% for licenses) depending on the use. Minimum annual rent is $500 per tenure

A Statutory Declaration from the tenure holder is required annually and must identify:

  • Monthly moorage rate
  • The amount of linear footage rented
  • The number of months the marina is open for business, and
  • A list of other uses

Additional requirements

  • The upland owner's consent is required if the tenure will affect access to deep water from his or her property. Commercial marinas must also provide access to the boating public
  • Moorage facilities must comply with Canadian Coast Guard regulations, local government zoning and building regulations. Moorage of a boat or other structure for use as a permanent or temporary live-aboard facility is not permitted

The most common reason for delay is submission of an incomplete application, which is then returned to the applicant.

If your application is accepted, you will be notified if Advertising is required. Please wait for confirmation before advertising.

If you have questions regarding any aspect of the application process, a specific file or a proposal about a specific area, please contact FrontCounter BC.