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Sable Island National Park Reserve

Sable Island is accessible by air or by sea. Reserve a seat or charter a trip with a Parks Canada licensed operator, or plan a trip by private vessel.

Visitors are welcomed in January and February and from June to October. Visitors must have Parks Canada’s permission in advance to visit. Delays and cancellations are common due to weather.

Private vessel visitor requests and dates are approved on a first-come, first-served basis.

Contact operators licensed by Parks Canada for prices, travel dates, and more information.

Choose your adventure

Operator guided experiences

Operators take care of trip logistics and guide your entire day.

Book a tour with a Parks Canada licensed operator:

Adventure Canada (ship)

Hurtigruten Expeditions (ship)

Kattuk Expeditions (helicopter)

Picture Perfect Tours (plane, helicopter)

Silversea (ship)

Parks Canada guided experiences

Parks Canada provides a two-hour guided hike followed by self-guided exploration.

Book a flight with a Parks Canada licensed operator:

Sable Aviation (purchase 1-7 seats on a plane)

Vision Air Services Inc. (charter a helicopter for 1-8 people)

Sail by private vessel:

Methods of transportation

By plane

Sable Aviation offers the only fixed-wing airplane service to Sable Island. The airplane lands on the beach as there are no permanent runways on the island. Fixed-wing airplane flights can transport up to seven passengers.

Fixed-wing visitor flights are scheduled on Saturdays only. Sundays are reserved as the alternate date if conditions on Saturday do not allow a flight.

Partially guided experiences by plane:

Sable Aviation

Travel by fixed-wing airplane, spend two hours with a Parks Canada tour guide, and explore on your own.

By helicopter

Vision Air offers the only helicopter service to Sable Island. The helicopter lands on a permanent helipad and can take up to eight passengers.

Helicopter flights are scheduled on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Wednesdays and Fridays are reserved as the alternate dates if conditions on the scheduled dates do not allow a flight.

Fully guided tours by helicopter:

Kattuk Expeditions

Picture Perfect Tours

Travel by helicopter and spend your day with a licensed tour operator who will take care of trip logistics and guide you around the island.

Partially guided experiences:

Vision Air

Travel by helicopter, spend two hours with a Parks Canada tour guide, and explore on your own.

By ship

Join an expedition cruise that has included Sable Island National Park Reserve as a part of its larger itinerary.

Fully guided expedition cruises:

Hurtigruten Expeditions


By private vessel

Request and register your trip

All visitors planning to arrive by sea in a private vessel must register in advance with Parks Canada by completing the private vessel visitor request form.

Visitor requests are approved by Parks Canada on a first-come, first-served basis.

Spend two hours with a Parks Canada tour guide and explore on your own for the rest of the day.

Critical guidelines for safe landing

If you are in charge of a vessel, the following guidelines are critical for a safe landing.

The possibility of heavy fog, shifting sandbars, and rough seas in the waters around Sable Island can pose challenges to boat access. There are no wharf facilities or mooring buoys on Sable Island, and vessels must anchor offshore and have a zodiac or other small boat suitable for a beach landing.

Visitors arriving by sea are responsible for their safe arrival and departure from the island. Parks Canada has limited capabilities on the island to assist in a marine rescue or emergency.

Before departing the mainland

Vessels should contact the Parks Canada Operations Coordinator to ensure we are aware of your itinerary and you are informed of activities or conditions on the island or offshore that may affect your plans.

All boat passengers must have life jackets for beach landings and zodiacs or small boats must not be overloaded beyond manufacturer’s recommended carrying capacity.

When within 10 nautical miles of the island

Vessels should contact the island on Marine Radio Channel 8 or 16 to confirm their safe arrival and to obtain any special instructions.

Vessels must anchor off the north side of the island, opposite the Main Station – at longitude 60.01W. There are submerged sand bars off the beach, and vessels should maintain their distance – 500 meters is usually sufficient, although there are times small boats are able to approach within 200 meters. A zodiac or small boat is required to get ashore and make a beach landing.

When anchored

Vessels should contact Sable Island on Marine Radio Channel 8 or 16 to advise when they are anchored. The Operations Coordinator can file or close sailing plans as required.


Visitors must not attempt to land on the beach until Parks Canada personnel are in position to greet them upon arrival and to provide an orientation and safety briefing.

Changing conditions may make it hard for a small boat to land or depart from the island, so sailors should be extremely careful about coming through the surf zone, and should have experience in managing beach landings in rough surf.


When coming ashore, boat passengers must have a VHF radio and maintain communications with the beach party on Marine Channel 8.

Be prepared

Have the proper travel approval from Parks Canada or from a Parks Canada licensed operator.

Make transportation arrangements to and from Sable Island with a Parks Canada licensed operator and be prepared for delays and cancellations.

Be prepared for a backcountry-like wilderness experience. Be self-reliant and responsible for your own safety.

Follow the biosecurity measures in place to protect Sable Island.

Delays and cancellations

All visitors must be prepared for delays and cancellations, both when attempting to travel to the island and when attempting to depart. Delays and cancellations can be caused by poor weather or the lack of a safe landing area. Normal delays might last a day or two, although significantly longer delays are possible. Poor weather and beach conditions could prohibit departure or landing of an aircraft or small boat for several days.

All visitors must ensure they have adequate supplies, including any prescribed medication, to accommodate unplanned delays.

In the event of unplanned overnight stay on Sable Island, standard fees apply for accommodation and emergency food rations.


Contact our Visitor Experience Coordinator for more information about planning your trip:

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