Bob Alliston became acquainted with the Whaler brand while fishing for salmon in British Columbia’s remote Queen Charlotte Islands. He and his son Rob were visiting a lodge that uses Boston Whaler boats for its excursions.
“We were getting out into some pretty heavy seas,” Bob says. “A Whaler is the most seaworthy boat a guy could imagine.”
After three visits to West Coast Fishing Club’s lodges, Bob decided he needed a Whaler to use for creating his own adventures close to home and beyond. “We’ve got some nice fishing right out of Vancouver,” he says of the area’s salmon, crab, sea bass and cod. “And if I get kicked out of the house,” Bob adds with a laugh, “the boat’s a good place to sleep.”
He’s joking, of course. But the Boston Whaler 315 Conquest Pilothouse does serve as a home base for Bob when he’s in the city. He and his wife, Sharon, actually live in Langley, just southeast of Vancouver in the Fraser Valley. The boat’s slip in Bayshore West Marina is near downtown Vancouver, where residents have the perfect mix of outdoor and city life at their fingertips.
So when Bob’s not out catching his own dinner, he can easily walk from the dock to the city’s fine dining. “Vancouver is beautiful,” Bob says. “It’s got everything — great mountains, fantastic scenery. It’s a walking-around city, and people are very friendly.”
Bob’s an amicable, easygoing fellow himself. He’s enjoying his recent retirement after selling a successful business that makes polymer coatings for pipelines and for marine applications. But for him, retirement doesn’t mean sitting around on the couch. Instead, he’s launching two new businesses. One is the creation of a new antifouling paint, and the other involves getting folks out on his Whaler. He’s planning to offer guided cruising and fishing tours for Vancouver visitors with the help of some friends who are professional captains. “You gotta keep your hand in it and have fun things to do,” Bob says.
One of the coolest and closest boating destinations to Vancouver is Indian Arm, a glacial fjord that extends north of Burrard Inlet. Sheer granite cliffs and thickly wooded slopes flank the waterway. The rugged terrain lacks commercial development, and explorers of the arm feel as if they are in remote wilderness rather than a short boat ride from the city. The arm’s waterfalls will be hot spots for Bob’s pending tours.
In addition to his new entrepreneurial ventures, Bob’s outdoor passions include skiing and playing golf. For the former, Bob has a house in nearby Whistler, where the runs are world-class and the views are breathtaking; and for golf, he and Sharon like to use their Whaler to get to and from various courses. “We just throw the clubs on the boat and go,” he says.
Bob has taken his Whaler as far north as Desolation Sound, and as far south as Victoria, on Vancouver Island’s southern tip. “We’ve been to at least half of the Gulf Islands up our way,” he says.
The islands lie in the Strait of Georgia, which separates the mainland from large Vancouver Island. A favorite for the Allistons is Pender Island, which boasts the luxurious Poets Cove Resort & Spa. They also like the quaint village of Ganges on Salt Spring Island. Ganges is home to a farmer’s market that, in addition to offering produce, also features crafts, paintings and handmade goods from local artists.
Vancouver Island has some great ports of call as well, including the popular Nanaimo, which has galleries, museums, shopping and dining, and is also a prime destination for kayaking, snorkeling and diving. Bob and Sharon also like Comox for its beaches. “One of the trips we are gonna do is head down to Seattle, dock in Seattle Harbor, and go to a Seahawks game,” Bob says.
They credit some of their exploring adventures to M&P Mercury, where they bought their Whaler. The dealership hosts gatherings for its customers all over the region. “We go everywhere M&P puts on an event,” Bob says. It’s a great way for him and Sharon to share in the camaraderie of like-minded boaters and to swap tales of their travels.
M&P’s excursions are just one of the many things Bob says he likes about the dealership. “They’ve been wonderful,” he adds. “The service has been terrific. Everyone who works there — they are a good bunch. I am very pleased with how the whole sale has gone with our Whaler.”
Of course, he’s more than satisfied with the Whaler itself, as well. The Pilothouse provides creature comforts on fishing trips in colder weather. “The layout is terrific,” he says of the 315. “Our vision is good, and we stay warm and dry.”
Getting to an offshore destination is no sweat, thanks to the 315’s twin 300-hp Mercury FourStroke Verados®. “With the Mercs, it goes real fast, and we can get out there quickly,” Bob says. “They’re quiet and reliable, and combined with the technology on the boat, everything is just state- of-the-art.” He lauds the Joystick Piloting for ease of maneuverability in tight spaces or while docking. “It’s neat stuff,” he says.
The technology onboard was a selling point, but like many owners, Bob credits the Boston Whaler’s build for the brand’s incredible reputation. As someone in the field of engineering, Bob did his research, and raves about the Unibond construction. “It won’t sink,” he explains in layman’s terms, “even if you get a break in the hull.”
The durability and reliability make Bob feel confident whether he’s fishing offshore, cruising to a Gulf Island or just heading somewhere nearby with clients taking a boat tour. And all that peace of mind helps him kick back and enjoy every new adventure. Bob sums it up perfectly: “Life is good.”