Porlier Pass is located between Galiano and Valdes Islands in the Southern Gulf Islands of British Columbia. The pass was named in 1791 by José Maria Narváez, commanding the Spanish schooner Saturnina.
Porlier Pass is only about 1 mile long (1.6 km), but it is narrow and strewn with submerged rocks, the tidal currents are very strong, often running from 4 to 9 knots creating overfalls and whirling eddies especially at the northern entrance. Despite the hazards, mariners frequently use Porlier Pass especially when transiting between Ladysmith and Vancouver, since this route is significantly shorter than using Active Pass.
In 1901, several ships pilots and masters of steamships petitioned for range lights on the northern end of Galiano Island to guide vessels through Porlier Pass. The beacons were built and put in operation on November 15, 1902. The front range light was a square wooden tower on Race Point, fifty feet from the water’s edge and six feet above high water mark. The rear range light was located on Virago Point, the first point southwest of Race Point. This tower was also square with a height of 31 feet. The station was automated in 1996, and the front light tower on Race Point was replaced with a cylindrical fiberglass tower. Read more here and here. Download the latest version and open the CoastView app to explore more of Porlier Pass here: