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Kelowna BC Kelowna BC

Kelowna Boating

Situated on beautiful Okanagan Lake, Kelowna, British Columbia is the perfect setting for a great boating experience. Carved out by glaciers during the ice age, this pristine mountain lake winds its way 80 miles or 130 kilometres up the scenic Okanagan Valley in the Southern Interior of BC. Kelowna is centrally located on the eastern shore, halfway up the lake.

Kelowna is a four-season playground with mild spring and fall months. Summers are hot with lots of sunny dry days, great for all sorts of outdoor activities with the lake literally at your doorstep. The summer is a fantastic time to enjoy boating in this cosmopolitan midsized city. The cold winters make for great snow skiing and other outdoor activities.

For over half a century, Kelowna has been known as a summer holiday getaway, with its fabulous boating, world class golf courses, wineries, orchards, hiking, biking, skiing - ideal for just about anything you might want to do in the great outdoors.

There are four waterfront hotels with restaurants/pubs that are easily boat-accessible with four fueling docks also located in and around the Kelowna area. At the north end of the lake there are two gas docks, one up the north west arm and one near Paddle Wheel park on the north east shoreline.

City of Kelowna

Kelowna's Bernard Avenue 1920
Kelowna's Bernard Avenue circa 1920

Kelowna was born in the mid-1800s and incorporated as a city in 1905. Its downtown, near City Park at the foot of Bernard Avenue (The Sails), still offers glimpses of heritage architecture dating back to the turn of the century.

The City’s lakefront has developed considerably since yet still offers a charm that warms the heart and pleases the eye.

Kelowna viewed from the Westside. Photo ©Crowesnest Ventures
Kelowna viewed from the Westside
Photo ©Crowesnest Ventures

With lots of boating traffic, the downtown lakefront gets very busy during the summer months. With all sizes and varieties of runabouts, cruisers, sailboats, dragon boats, houseboats and charter boats in thewater, boaters should remain wary of the resulting choppiness.

The population of Kelowna and its outlying districts has grown to around 150,000, with a considerable increase during the summer months.

Kelowna's Floating Bridge

The original floating bridge, connecting downtown Kelowna to the west side of the lake, was completed in 1958 and replaced in the summer of 2008 with a new floating bridge, the William R. Bennett Bridge.

WR Bennett Bridge
Kelowna's William R. Bennett Bridge
Photo ©Crowesnest Ventures

The first bridge had a metal lift span under which tall sailboats and train barges could pass. To limit traffic delays, the span was only opened at set times of the day. The new bridge’s tall, sloping, fixed span (on its west side) allows passage of all boats at any time.

Still moored near the foot of Bernard Avenue, the Fintry Queen carried passengers and vehicles across the lake before the first bridge was built.

The Okanagan Valley’s steep mountain ridges and rolling slopes are adorned with beautiful homes, cottages, and vineyards. The lake’s clean, fresh water is enjoyable during all four seasons of the year.

A Four-Season Playground

Spring, summer and fall offer a great deal to do and see on the lake including sailing, watersports, water skiing, wakeboarding, wakesurfing, paddle sports and fishing.

Sailboats in front of the WR Bennett Bridge
Sailing by the William R. Bennett Bridge
Photo by Al Cotton

Wind surfers and kite boarders can be seen off Rotary beach on any given day of the year when the wind is blowing hard.

Most water sports resume in April or May when the lake begins to warm. Spring runoff from ice cold mountain rivers and creeks may keep the lake cool even into June. Nevertheless, some water sports enthusiats out there with the proper gear willing to brave these 30 to 60 degree water conditions in the off season. For most of us, June through October is the most desirable time to be out on the lake.

Wakesurfing - Kelowna, BC
Wakesurfing on Okanagan Lake
Photo by James Shalman

By mid-summer, Okanagan Lake warms to the mid 70s; usually the lake is at its warmest by August. Especially around the city centers, July and August are very busy on the lake, but you can boat 15 minutes in any direction and find tranquility in a hidden cove or along a nice stretch of shoreline for some tranquility. September’s typical warm water, glassy lake surface, and fewer boats on the lake make it a great month for waterskiing.

Typically there is little activity on the lake during the winter months, with the possible exception of fishermen trolling for elusive monster rainbow trout, working tugs shuttling log booms, or barges carting pile drivers and lumber to the next job.

The City of Kelowna and environs have become one of the world's most desirable places to live in and to visit. Come check it out!

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Adventure Kelowna


Waterskiing circa 1970's
Skiing some glass late 1970's
Photo from Crowe Family Archives

Sailing on Okanagan Lake
Sailing fleet on a downwind leg
Photo by Al Cotton

Diving in Okanagan Lake
Wall dive in Okanagan Lake
Photo by Lynn Cullen

Kelowna Watersports

Kiteboarding on Okanagan Lake
Kite boarding on Okanagan Lake
Photo courtesy of James Shalman ad space available

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