Hundreds of pirates – and their parents – gathered at yacht clubs in Vancouver, Victoria and Kelowna in June for this year’s Boat for Hope. Hosted by Variety - the Children’s Charity, Boat for Hope offers children who have special needs and their families a fun, easy day of on-water pirating adventures, in which they board boats decked out in pirate gear and crewed by their owners, who truly dive into the spirit of the day.

Vancouver’s Boat for Hope is in its 14th year and staged at the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club with extensive support from club members, other yacht clubs and power squadrons. Boat for Hope is now also staged in Ireland and Australia.

At RVYC, 450 children and their families enjoyed 90-minute rides aboard 23 powerboats, most lavishly decorated in the pirate theme. Victoria and Kelowna Boat for Hopes each hosted 250 kids.

The boats tour a series of checkpoints where the children collect loot and engage in water fights with the other boats and the checkpoints – or “treasure stations.” Then they head to “Treasure Island” ashore for more games and a barbecue.

Fundraising by skippers and sponsors also helps support Variety’s program of grants for equipment, medication and support for families of children who have special needs across BC.