There are three classes of beach access on Bowen Island as follows:

In general, Class “A” beaches are high traffic beaches that are equipped with both washroom facilities and garbage containers and are designated with signage. These beaches are also wheelchair accessible. During the summer months they are maintained at least twice per week ensuring clean facilities and unobstructed access to the sea. 

Class “B” beaches are well used beaches that are typically frequented by neighbourhood residents and are designated with signage. During the summer months these beaches are maintained weekly by municipal staff.

Class “C” beaches are legal public access routes which may or may not be physically accessible. These beaches may be used by neighbourhood residents but not as frequently as Class “B” beaches. These beaches are not maintained by municipal staff and are not designated with signage.

To view a map of Bowen Island Parks, Trails and Beaches please click here. We are currently updating our trail map. The map provided is the most current version available but is subject to change.

Dogs on main beaches

Dogs are not permitted on Bowen Bay Beach, Tunstall Bay Beach and Sandy Beach during the months of July and August.

Community use boat racks

Sandy Beach and Tunstall Beach have racks available to store small water craft. Please note the following conditions for use of the boat racks:

  • All small water craft must be clearly labelled with the owner’s name and phone number.
  • Only one small recreational water craft per community member.
  • Rack storage is limited to: boats, life jackets, oars, paddles and bailers.
  • Fuel containers, propane tanks, seafood traps, and all other personal, household or construction items will be removed at the owner’s expense.

Bowen Island is now part of the Whale Trail!

Beach Water Quality

Six Bowen Island recreational beaches are sampled throughout the swimming season (mid-May through early September) to determine compliance with the Canadian Recreational Water Guidelines. Two samples per beach area are analysed by Vancouver Coastal Health and geometric means are calculated.  

When the geometric mean of the samples from a particular beach area exceeds 200 E.coli bacteria per 100 millilitres of sea water sample or in the event of a known hazard or spill, an assessment will be made to determine the possible health risks and the most effective approach to protecting the health of recreational water users.

The provincial Medical Health Officer may require Bowen Island Municipality to post a warning sign at a particular beach indicating that the water is contaminated and is unsafe for swimming. Vancouver Coastal Health’s website regarding bathing beach counts is an informative and reliable reference.

Beach “closures” are generally not based on individual results but rather geometric means of water samples taken from a particular swimming beach area over the past 30 days. 

2018 Snug Cove Tunstall Bay Sandy Beach Bowen Bay Pebbly Beach Mothers Beach
May 14   40 10 5 <5 50 20 <5 45 25 18 5 15
May 21    105 25 <5 5 135 50 10 15 886 275 20 77
May 28 15 70 <5 <5 41 75 25 5 185 75 20 135
June 4         145 3000 14 <5 40 2100 50 <5   5 145 170
June 11 130 1850 <5 <5 45 25 15 25 10 5 27 35
June 18 2550 1550 10 5 1250 1750 35 <5 41 36 360 275
June 25 850 600


25 200 80 18 15 10 15 65 245
July 2 900 325 20 5 5 5 195 5   41 5 36
July 9 23 325 5   10 <5 <5 5 5 <5 9 36

Numbers in this chart represent the number of E. coli bacteria per 100 millilitres of sea water sample. Two samples are taken from each of the swimming beach sites.

Last Updated on 2018-07-12 at 9:11 AM