This photo courtesy of Ian Hinkle shows the two boats that came off their anchor spots following Wednesday’s windstorm. Note the second, sunken boat just behind the boat near the shoreline. Credit: Ian Hinkle

Boat strands in Saanich’s Cadboro Bay

A local sailor familiar with Cadboro Bay says time appears of essence in recovering a boat that sank following Wednesday’s windstorm.

The boat — one of two boats that drifted off their original anchor spots following Wednesday’s windstorm — lies in about 11 feet of water with most of it below the surface. Only a section of mast sticks out of the water, just metres away from the location of the second boat. It in turn lies just metres away from the shore, partially in the water.

“The time to get [the sunken boat], is today, before it breaks up,” said Ian Hinkle, Thursday afternoon. “We can do it cheaply and quickly.”

Hinkle estimated it would take about $500 for C-Tow to lift the vessel. “It is a problem, but if we don’t do it now, it is going to get embedded in the mud and break up,” he said. “If they [boats] are left and then months go by, we end up with a disaster. And then, it is going to cost a lot of money. We think we can still float those boats.”

Part of the problem lies in the muddled jurisdiction for Cadboro Bay. The bottom of the ocean is provincial responsibility, the water above it federal jurisdiction.

“Canada needs to take that federal leadership,” he said. “If you were Florida, C-Tow would have already towed those boats off.”

Individual groups could recover the boats on their dime, then receive the money back from the federal government, he said. But this process could take months, he said.

“When there is a car accident, community groups don’t have to get together to raise the money [to clean up the accident],” said Hinkle. “That is where we have a fundamental problem.”

Hinkle made these comments as various groups are responding to the aftermath of Wednesday’s windstorm.

Eric Dahli, president of the Cadboro Bay Residents’ Association, said the Canadian Coast Guard has examined both boats including the sunken boat for any potential spills. “They went down to examine both boats,” he said. “I haven’t heard anything, so in this situation, I’m thinking, ‘no news is good news.’”

Ownership of both boats remains unknown, said Dahli.

Wednesday’s incidents are the latest involving abandoned or derelict boats following heavy weather. In fact, both boats side within metres of an abandoned boat that had first drifted into late January almost exactly a month ago.

“Hopefully, it will be gone,” said Dahli.

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