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Where are the Public Boat Ramps in the San Juans - just the basics to get your boat in the water

      Buried in this website are itineraries, helpful hints and everything you need to get going to the San Juans.

         And that's the problem, it's buried.

Some of us don't need anything but to be pointed to the boat ramp.

This post points the way.
BOAT RAMPS TO THE SAN JUANS   << hot link, clickety click!

Should you take your boat trailer on the ferry and get off somewhere?  NO! - I don't recommend it unless you are going to a resort that has a ramp and you plan to rent a cabin -- plan on spending substantial time waiting in  ferry lines.  Be forewarned, some so-called local ramps are simply sandy beaches with no docks. Plus the ferry rates for trailers - ouch.

If you carry kayaks on the roof, riding a ferry makes good sense.  My #1 suggestion for kayakers that don't want to paddle across Rosario Strait -- go to Deer Harbor on Orcas Island, park your car and paddle two miles to Jones Island for a night or two camping.

Let's say you carry a kayak on the roof or trailer a day-sailer and plan on camping on shore, and you don't want to deal with ferries - do this.  Drive to Washington Park in Anacortes, (campground and ramp) set up your camp, splash your boat and sail or paddle to either Pelican Beach on Cypress or Saddlebag Island.  Spend the night or come back each evening.  Using the currents, you can avoid difficult paddling or  fluky sailing if that's what works for you.

Hint, use the search box and search Saddlebag or Cypress or Pelican Beach or Deer Harbor, or Jones.

Boat ramps for trailer tourists and visitors to the San Juan's
Public ramps with floats and parking open 24/7


What size boat is best in the San Juans? Bigger Boats - Smaller? Anything Goes

              Sometimes I see micro yachts being paddled or sailed across straits and marvel at them just as much if not more than the mega bruisers with the eight foot freeboard.

              The difference in expense, crew requirements, and comfort are obvious, and if you drill down into the pros and cons of mega versus micro, each skipper will have a laundry list rationalizing and justifying their choices.

                In the end, the boats we use in the San Juans are the ones we have, it's as simple as that.  It's not a matter of what is appropriate or proper, it's a matter of making proper choices for the conditions, and your boat's ability to handle those conditions.

               From a 14 foot open fishing boat, kayak or canoe, to the Queen Mary, all have a time and place in the San Juans.

                The boats in the pictures below are likely to be found just about everywhere.

So if it floats -- get going.

Taking a day sailor to the san Juan Islands
Everything but the kitchen sink

Echo Bay Tall ship cruises
And the kitchen sink

Mega Yachts in the San Juan Islands
Too big to fit in picture (please remove shoes!)

Camping in the San Juan Islands with ski boats
Runabouts - ski boats - open boats
Common at Jones Island

Mega yacht won't be using any of the park facilities.
These guys anchor out and dinghy into the coves and floats
See the tender on top?

Camping cruising  near Thatcher Pass and James island in the San Juans
Another camper on a runabout

runabouts and daysailers at James Island float
They may be using tents onshore at one of three campgrounds on James Island, or just a lunch stop.

Sail and human powered campground at James Island
Kayak  campers use campground at top of steps

old dock at Jones Island north cove
At Jones Island, its a full float of  day-trippers.

Olympia swantown ramp before facelift
This trailer sailer just rolled down the ramp

towing dinghy in Lopez Sound in the San Juans
becalmed in a car-topper in Lopez Sound

Cypress Island camping at DNR reserve
This boater paddles the final feet to Pelican Beach
Mega Yacht taking all of transient dock at Friday Harbor on 4th of July
Here's a shot that captures mega to mini.
The sailboat is a 70's Catalina 22 towing an inflatable. The mega is 164' Eileen , built in Italy with an 31' beam.  If you look closely you can see the 35 foot center console dinghy attached crosswise at Eileens stern.
This was at Friday Harbor on the 4th of July 2016.


Smart Boaters Follow Rules

boaters right of way

Many of the rules we follow are based upon sound reason.  Sometimes a rule is put in place after tragedy strikes in an effort to make sure it never happens again.

It is impossible to personally experience and learn from every accident scenario so we must rely on others to come up with guidelines for us to follow.

This is why we are required to carry a pfd for everyone on board. This is why we carry fire extinguishers. 

Rest assured though, even when all the rules are followed, there are still plenty of dumb things you can do to potentially maim or kill your friends and family, or complete strangers.

The url below is for the Washington boating rules on the State Parks web site.