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Gulf Islands National Park Reserve of Canada

Swimming

Despite the cold pacific waters, swimming is a popular activity in the park, especially on warm summer days. The park reserve provides no lifeguard services.

The most popular swimming locations are:

  • Sidney Spit, Sidney Island
  • East Point, Saturna Island
  • Cabbage Island, near Saturna Island

Check out our Hiking, Camping and Boating Guide to learn more about the park reserve.

Safety tips:

  • The waters in the Gulf Islands are cold, and hypothermia can occur even after a short swim. Wear a wetsuit or other protective clothing to protect from hypothermia. Bring a towel and have warm clothes handy.
  • Tides can rapidly affect or change ocean conditions.
  • Ocean currents can be strong and rogue waves can occur.
  • Generally, the waters at Sidney Spit are a sheltered location for family swimming.
  • Supervise children closely at all times.
  • Be aware of your surroundings.
  • If you are unfamiliar with the beach you are visiting, wade through the water.
  • Never dive into unfamiliar waters.
  • Cliff-jumping is extremely dangerous and is not advised.
  • Swim parallel to shore when swimming long distances. Stay in shallow waters.
  • Swim with a buddy and let someone know where you are going and when you are planning to return.

Attention: The inner lagoon, hook spit and vegetated centre of Sidney Spit are particularly sensitive ecosystems and have been designated special preservation areas where many threatened species are protected. Access is prohibited.

Check the Important Bulletins for closures, safety warnings, fire bans or other information that could affect your visit.