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  Boating Home > Activities > Boating  

Kootenay Lake
Kootenay Lake offers a spectacular combination of the best that nature has to offer for anyone who enjoys the water. With its breathtaking views of Kokanee Glacier and the surrounding mountains, Kootenay Lake is a beautiful place to kayak, canoe and sail. Time spent exploring reveals uninhabited beaches and long stretches of unspoiled geography. It doesn't get any better than this.

Sail Away
Exploring Kootenay Lake’s many treasures, including hidden coves and secluded beaches is an unforgettable experience. The winds that channel through the valley in the afternoon make ideal conditions for sailing. The Kootenay Lake Sailing Association (KLSA) sponsors cruises, rallies and races throughout the spring and summer. If you’re interested in a regatta, either as a racer or spectator--check out the KLSA’c annual Prestige Cup Regatta, sailed off the shores of Nelson every year on the weekend closest to Canada Day.

Canada Day sail-by.
Photo © David R. Gluns

Photo courtesy Nelson Canoe & kayak club
Kayaking, rafting and canoeing can be done on the West Arm, the main lake, the Columbia, Slocan and Kootenay Rivers, or on some of the smaller lakes in the backcountry. There are calm, leisurely tours and thrilling rapids. Whichever appeals to you, you'll be glad you made the trip. The Nelson Kayak & Canoe Clubsponsors races, and safe paddle sports in Nelson Distrct.

Other water activities include houseboating, windsurfing, wakeboarding, water-skiing and diving. In fact, Kootenay Lake has very clean and clear water as well as one of the largest concentrations of freshwater wrecks in western North America, these unique and well-preserved wrecks are well worth exploring.

Getting On Board
Nelson’s knowledgeable outfitters and guides can help to get you out enjoying the water. Whether you are a novice or a seasoned pro in your water sport, you will find the facilities and support to get you in, on or under the water. Drop in to the Chamber of Commerce to get pointed in the right direction.

Photo © Sean Kilpatrick
Photo © David R. Gluns

Boating Safety
To obtain a mandatory Pleasure Craft Operator boat license, and for more information about boating regulations and safety precautions, please visit:


For the History Buffs
Kootenay Lake was a marine performance centre for speedboats in the 1930s and 40s. In 1933, Nelson resident, Lou Gilbert, set the World Speed Record in his class at 68 mph, and his boat, the Lady Bird, can be seen today at the Nelson Museum.

If you are looking for a guided Rafting experience, contact:

Endless Adventures
Crescent Valley, BC

Lardeau River Adventures
Meadow Creek, BC

Nelson Whitewater Rafting Co.
Nelson, BC

Silverspray Rafting
Nelson, BC

For more information on all the activities available to you in and around Nelson, please drop by our Visitor Info Centre.
91 Baker Street, Nelson BC V1L 4G8
Phone: (250) 352-3433
Toll Free: 1-877-663-5706