Skookumchuck Narrows is a strait forming the entrance of Sechelt Inlet on British Columbia's Sunshine Coast in Canada. Before broadening into Sechelt Inlet, all of its tidal flow together with that of Salmon Inlet and Narrows Inlet must pass through Sechelt Rapids. At peak flows, standing waves, whitecaps, and whirlpools form at the rapids even in calm weather. The narrows are also the site of Skookumchuk Narrows Provincial Park.
Each day, tides force large amounts of seawater through the narrows—200 billion US gallons (760,000,000 m3) of water on a 3-metre (9.8 ft) tide. The difference in water levels on either side of the rapids can exceed 2 metres (6.6 ft) in height. Current speeds can exceed 16 knots (30 km/h), up to 17.68 knots (32.74 km/h). It is sometimes claimed to be the fastest tidal rapids in the world. Best viewing times for spectators are available from Sunshine Coast Tourism.
The tidal patterns keep the water moving at virtually all times in the narrows area, which attracts a plethora of interesting sea life.
The unrelated B.C. town of Skookumchuck is several hundred kilometres east in the East Kootenay region of the province. Another location bearing this name, Skookumchuck Hot Springs, is on the Lillooet River east of Whistler. All locations take their name from Chinook jargon for "strong water" and the term is common in maritime jargon for any set of strong rapids, particularly those at the mouth of inlets.
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