+ Why should we choose to go out with this company?
1. Our Boats
BC Whale Tours has the largest and longest range Zodiacs in the whale watching industry. Custom designed and built by the company owner, Captain Harold, our vessels offer the latest technology in safety, speed and environmentally friendly design. Each vessel has private washrooms and with a 12 passenger maximum per tour, guests have lots of space to move around with unobstructed views and an intimate experience with their professional guide.
2. Our Crew
Our guides consist of international marine biologists and local naturalists who have worked in the industry and marine environments for many years. We are all dedicated to providing our guests with the best possible experience of the west coast by incorporating an educational aspect to our tours while operating industry leading vessels.
3. Our Reputation With +500 5-star reviews on TripAdvisor, a 5-star rating on Facebook and another 5-star rating on Yelp, we let the public feedback do the talking for why you choose BC Whale Tours for your West Coast adventure!
+ What whales are most often encountered on tour?
In the waters surrounding Victoria we mainly encounter Transient Killer Whales and Humpback Whales during peak season (June-September). On some tours we are lucky enough to encounter Dall's porpoise, seals, sea lions, otters and pacific white-sided dolphins! Every trip is different and unique!
+ What should we wear?
We recommend that you dress warmly, bring an extra jacket or sweater, long pants, and closed toed shoes. Each seat on-board has dry-storage underneath that you can store any extra clothing layers or bags.
+ Are there washrooms on-board?
Yes! Most people are surprised to hear that we have washrooms on-board all of our vessels.
+ Are there any snacks or drinks available on-board?
We do not provide food or beverages on our tours but you are welcome to bring your own food/drinks aboard as our vessels have washrooms and trash cans available. Strictly NO glass bottles.
+ What if we don't see whales?
Although it is rare, sometimes we do not find whales - it is apart of the adventure of looking for animals in their natural habitat. In the event we do not find whales on you tour, BC Whale Tours is the only company to offer guests a complimentary return tour with us on a stand-by basis that is good for life as well as a 20% refund of your total tour cost. Please Note that conditions apply. For all the details go to our Whale Guarantee Page
+ What is the difference between the boats?
The main difference between our vessels is that BC Nova, BC Orca and BC Luna offers indoor and outdoor seating while BC Tika only offers outdoor seating. BC Luna is most recommended for families traveling with children under 2, seniors, and those with physical limitations or medical concerns because she offers the most indoor seating. Regardless of which boat you choose, your sightings will relatively be the same, they all have private washrooms, they all have a maximum capacity of 12 passengers, and they are all custom designed and locally built to ensure the safest and most adventurous experience here on the west coast in all marine weather conditions.
+ How seasick do people get?
Another advantage of our vessels is that our guests find they do not get seasick on our tours. Sea sickness is much more common on slower, larger vessels with guests sitting indoors or on the top deck of a vessel with a wide swinging motion - all the features you will not find on a BC Whale Tours custom built vessel. However, if you are feeling nervous about sea sickness, we highly recommend that you avoid skipping meals prior to your tour and avoid high acidity foods and beverages (coffee on an empty stomach being one of the worst combinations). Check in with us about the sea conditions the morning or evening prior to your tour departure. It is up to your discretion if you feel that motion sickness medication works best for you and you must purchase the medication ahead of time as we do not provide it. If you start to feel queasy out on the water, utilize our outdoor seating options, focus on deep breathing and watching the horizon line. Always let your captain know if you are going to be sick for safety reason and so that they may help to improve the quality of your tour accordingly.
+ How close do we get to the whales?
The regulations regarding viewing distance from whales is different depending on the type of whale. For Transient Killer whales (this is the main eco-type of killer whales that our guests encounter), the permissible distance for members of the Pacific Whale Watching Association is 200 meters. For Resident Killer whales the permissible distance is 400 meters. And for Humpback Whales and other wildlife, the distance is 100 meters. We respect the regulations in our waters and do shut engines down if a whale is to come closer than this distance to our vessels.
+ What time of day is better for seeing whales?
There is no true answer to this question. We are looking for wild animals in their natural habitat and their behaviour, location and marine weather conditions vary drastically from day to day. Our goal on every tour is to show all of our guests as many marine mammal species as possible with a priority on whales and orca/killer whales.
+ How early should I come down to the office if I've already booked online?
Please arrive at our office on 1234 Wharf St (on the harbourside). 45-60 minutes prior to your tours' departure time to check in with our guest service agents. Our office location is 1234 Wharf Street on the harbourside, which is the Victoria Regent Hotel's address. We are located directly behind the Regent hotel along the harbour walkway.
+ Do you offer group discounts?
We do offer discounts for large groups as well as private charters. To find out more about our group discounts and charter rates please contact the office to talk to one of our guest service agents. Contact us.
+ How far in advance should I book?
We recommend that you book as soon as you can to ensure you book a seat on the tour and vessel that you desire. Our vessels are 12 passenger maximum and provide a very private experience. During our busy summer season (June-September) we do recommend you book at least a week ahead of time as we do fill up quite quickly during this period.
+ Are there age restrictions?
Our open vessels, BC TIKA, BC NOVA, and BC ORCA do have a height restriction of 4 feet (1.2m), which is typically the height of a 5 or 6 year old. For younger individuals we do recommend BC LUNA. BC LUNA is a perfect vessel for young children (under 4 years old) and older adults.
+ What vessel is ideal for younger children & older adults?
BC LUNA is our floating limousine with the highest safety rating of any vessel in the industry. She provides comfortable leather seating, outdoor viewing platforms, and a washroom. She is perfect for very young children and seniors!
+ How long are the tours?
Our tours generally run 3-4 hours in total. This can change depending on the distance of the whales on that day and how fast they are traveling. Hence our vessels have long range capabilities. We do recommend you come prepared for a potentially longer trip, which includes water and a light snack. Our sunset tours (June to Aug 20) are a 2-3 hour adventure because of the limited sunlight.
+ Is it ok for pregnant women to come on a tour?
For pregnant women we recommend BC LUNA as she is our heaviest and most stable vessel. We do allow pregnant women on our open boats, however safety and comfort is very important to us. It is dependant on weather conditions, and ultimately the captains call. Please contact us so we are aware of a pregnant passenger.
+ Where can we park our vehicle?
The closest parking lot is located just in front of our offices at 1112 Wharf Street on the harbourside (WestPark lot #708). The rates in this lot are $3 per hour or $16 for the day up until 8pm. There are also a few other parkades near us such as the Bastion Square Parkade, which can be accessed by Yates Street, and Broughton Street Parkade.
+ Where can we park our RV?
There is a pay RV parking lot located a 5 minute walk from our office location just beside Harbour Air. The address is 950 Wharf Street. We suggest giving yourself lots of time to find parking in Victoria as the spaces are limited and the city is busy during peak season.