Thursday, April 09, 2015

2015 Bathtub Race Finishes In Nanaimo Harbour

Nanaimo Bathtub Race New Finish Line 2015
New Course - race finishes where it starts

Nanaimo, BC – After 48 years, the Great International World Championship Bathtub Race will finish where it starts for the first time. The Loyal Nanaimo Bathtub Society announces this July, the Great Race Finish Line is at Maffeo Sutton Park in Downtown Nanaimo.

Nanaimo Info File Photo

“There are so many advantages to having the race start and finish in the same spot,” says Loyal Nanaimo Bathtub Society Commodore Bill McGuire. McGuire has been involved with the LNBS since it was formed in 1967. “Spectators don’t have to move from Maffeo Sutton Park to Departure Bay to enjoy the finish line antics anymore,” said McGuire. “Tubbers will in fact, ring the bell right underneath the Frank Ney Statue, an iconic symbol of Nanaimo’s former mayor who was largely responsible for inventing this crazy sport.” 

The key to the next 50 years of bathtub racing in Nanaimo hinges on a successful Marine Festival, which includes music, entertainment, a Sail Past on Wheels Parade, the annual Fireworks display and the race itself, which draws hundreds of spectators to the Finish Line each year. This year’s Marine Festival runs July 23rd – 26th. 

“Concentrating the activities into one location makes sense on many levels,” says John Ruttan, Past Commodore for the LNBS. “It’s all about bringing stakeholders together for an enhanced spectator experience.” 

The LNBS is looking forward to building on the successes of the past, while establishing new ones through community partnerships with the Downtown Nanaimo Business Improvement Association, including the Old City Quarter, The City of Nanaimo, The Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce and the Nanaimo Port Authority, plus many others. 

“We’ve had lots of people asking about finishing the race in the same place as it starts for years,” says McGuire. “The biggest hurdle was finding the perfect balance between safety, course length and making sure the route lived up to the challenge that tubbers have come to expect.”

The new course is 32.13nm, virtually the same distance as the previous course. That’s equal to 59.5 kilometers, or 37 miles. 

“The race is actually going to be a more challenging one for our tubbers,” McGuire says. “The roughest part of the entire course has always been Entrance Island and this new route has tighter turns and more activity in that area.” 

While challenge is a key element in the Great Race, safety always takes priority.

 “Safety means making sure the tubbers are safe, but it’s also about all of the other vessels in the water on race day,” says Bob Smits, Director of Safety and Communications for the LNBS. “Escort boats, commercial and recreational traffic, The Navy, the Coast Guard and it’s Auxiliary, the Nanaimo Amateur Radio Association and the Nanaimo Port Authority are all working together to make sure everyone has a good experience.” 

The 2015 Great International World Championship Bathtub Race and Nanaimo Marine Festival has been a flagship event for residents and visitors to the Harbour City for the past 48 years. A new finish line will allow for an exciting festival finish for spectators and tubbers and will set the stage for another 50 years of bathtubbing. 



  1. Cannot find anywhere, which way the route is, no arrow signs on the red markings and nothing in writing. This would help those that go to watch it along the way.

  2. It starts in the harbour, rounds Entrance, north to Winchelseas and returns to the harbour.


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